Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do You Google? It’s More Than Just A Search Engine

Most educators have heard of Google, but most do not know the extent of offerings that Google has for education. The title of this post is the title of an in-service that I have presented to two different groups of Agriculture Teachers in California’s Central Valley. These two in-services where put on by the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association (CATA). There was a great turn out, about 100 Ag Teachers total attended the two different in-services.

The training consisted of four parts.

First, learn how to share your calendar with others and have a calendar that multiple people can access. This is a great collaboration tool to be used with your students, parents of students, officers, and/or department. What better way to quickly reserve the Ag Truck for Friday to go pick up lab supplies, or to remind the students of the next FFA meeting.

Second, learn how to use Google Docs to make a form to poll your audience. I instructed the teachers how a form could be used to collect data about the students for the annual FFA membership report. The results are stored on a spread sheet each time someone submits there survey. There is also a very nice report that can be generated with charts and graphs.

Third, learn how to create a basic website using Google Sites. Sites can be used in various ways. It can be for a local FFA chapter web page, a place to post information for you class, or even a quick web page for an event the chapter is putting on.

Fourth, learn how tie all this information together. Most of the offerings that Google makes available can be linked very easily. For example the Form created in Google Docs can be posted on Google Sites in a matter of a few mouse click. This same thing can be said of the calendar, Picasa (Online photo sharing website owned by Google) and Youtube (also owned by Google). There are also things called Gadgets that will allow you to use content from other sources on your web page.

The best part to all of this is that is a free service by Google just sign up once for Gmail and you get the rest included. I have provide a link to the site I created to help with the in-service.


If anyone has any great ideas on how they have used Google’s service please leave a comment.