Tech Tools for Teaching: Google Docs

While lecture still has its place as an effective method of teaching students, it shouldn’t be the only one. Today’s students want to be engaged in involved in their learning more than ever, especially through the medium of the Internet.  Google Docs provides a flexible platform for teachers and students to collaborate inside and outside the classroom.  Students can do group work on one single document and teachers can observe and comment in real time as the project progresses. This presentation briefly explains:

  1. What Google Docs is.
  2. Its unique features
  3. How they can be used in the classroom with examples

Thing 28: Customized Home Pages

I love Netvibes! Its flexibility and appealing integration of widgets, Web pages, and RSS feeds makes it one of the most useful tools I have encountered. Last week, I created an iGoogle page and was not really impressed. Long before that I had played with the idea of creating a Netvibes account but never took that final step.  The comparison of iGoogle and Netvibes finally pushed me over the edge towards Netvibes and I am thrilled.

Personally, it is a great way to easily display my favorite feeds and Web pages. I just finished organizing some of my favorite feeds and widgets into my account. The ability to create multiple tabs is a feature I really enjoy and it is easier to read than my Bloglines account.

Professionally, Michael Stephens’ post about Creating a Librarian’s Info-portal with Netvibes is very helpful in conceptualizing how Netvibes can be set up as a personalized service for your users.

Another user of Netvibes that I would like to emulate is Michael Wesch.  He is a tech-savvy professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and his account is called Mediated Cultures: Digital Ethnography.

Thing 27: Twitter



This is my most recent Tweet:

Bah! Still working on twitter entry on 23 things. I’m hopeful that I will get it done tonight.

Even though I’ve had a Twitter account for a while I haven’t done much with it, which was exceedingly clear when I read all the things that can be done with it.  Using the Twitter Search service and the @[enter person’s ID here] was a great tip.  I even found a tweet directed at me from a friend that I had missed a month ago.

There are so many services that build on Twitter’s platform to provide rich functionality.  I didn’t use Twitter much until I began to use the social bookmarking site called Diigo.  It is like Delicious but has added features including a box that you can click which will send the item you’ve bookmarked to your Twitter account too.  Very cool.

I use Twitter as another holding space for cool links I find.  Libraries can use it this way too.  It is also really useful as an outreach device for new services, events and featured items. Llibraries could also collect other relevant Twitter accounts for their users.  I found that the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal has a Twitter account to send out news updates which could be very useful to Business professors and students.

Great Example of a Mashup –

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thing 26: Joining Ning

Ning logo

Ning logo

I didn’t do the first round so this is my first time using Ning. I have seen it used by others before but never joined one until now.

It is a great tool if a large community is using it for communication and collaboration. If the group is too small then it loses its usefulness but for larger groups, like this cohort of 23 Thingers, the 23 Things Ning, is a great resource.

I could envision using this for our College as a faculty-library community to support liaison activities. People can communicate and share resources from anywhere. I like the flexibility to share photos, videos, and form discussion groups based on any member’s interest.