Episode 84: Talk to Mr. Ed (Maybe next week!)

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Welcome back after our holiday break! The Cool Teachers are here to re-energize your year and your teaching. This week’s podcast:

  • Cool New Features in Google Docs (Barbara)
  • You and your students should write a book!  (Chris)
  • New to Teaching an Online Course? (Barbara & Chris)
  • Answering your Facebook Questions (Chris & Barbara)

1. Cool New Features in Google Docs

We are starting a new year, with all things new and what is even newer? Google Docs.

I have had a love affair with this tool ever since it was first known at Writely and rightly so! First of all, if you do not have Google Apps available in your school, ask for it.

Actually, you’ll need to do more than ask–insist on it. It will enable you to easily facilitate collaborative writing, publishing, and all sorts of other activities.

Also, you will need to have a wireless Internet network available to students throughout the school. Finally, students either need to be able to use their own computers or classrooms should have them. And what could they really afford to have??? The new Google Chromebook is a great choice.

Here’s a quick rundown of the new features I was not aware of:

Research Right in Google Docs: Will insert references in MLA, APA or Chicago Style. Have your students conduct searches using various Google search engines, such as Google Scholar right in Google Docs. All in one tool. Drawback: Does not insert in-text citations, just footnotes. But who knows–maybe will soon?

Do Collaborative Concept Mapping: Drawing
Use the drawing tool as a collaborative concept mapping tool.

Create a Google Form to create surveys/quizzes
Some great ideas: Use a form to collect assignment links to unclutter your Google Docs dashboard

Use EasyBib integration to create in-text citations and references. Zotero also works, but need more time to discuss this.

2. You and your students should write a book! (Chris)

Chris talks about various tools you can use to create a book with your students. We’d like to hear from our listeners about this idea. Have you done this before? What ideas do you have about writing a book with your students?

3. New to Teaching an Online Course? (Barbara)

Barbara provides some great ideas on how to create and sustain community in an online course–one of the best ways you can improve online teaching and learning. Being accessible to your students is one way you can set your online course apart from a face-to-face course. In fact, online courses offer even MORE opportunities for students to feel a sense of community and connect personally with the instructor and classmates. Barbara talks about using Gmail chat to connect easily and quickly with her students. Avoid the email trap–use course discussion forums, Twitter, and other social tools to connect. Make sure students know how to contact you. Create a sense of community at the start and hold a web meeting with students. Be creative. Be personal. Be accessible. Your online students will appreciate it and enjoy the experience.

4. Answering Facebook Questions (Barbara & Chris)

Time to read and answer our FB questions. Keep posting them on our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/coolteachers. We will answer them.

We want to wish you a great beginning to a new semester, with hopes for a warm spring!

Thanks for listening.  Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes through the iTunes store or through our coolteachers.org website. Keep the love coming!

4 thoughts on “Episode 84: Talk to Mr. Ed (Maybe next week!)

  1. What a lot of new ideas for me to think about! I’m teaching an online course this semester and it has just started. I love the idea of instantaneity and am going to tell them to text me their questions if they want a speedy response. Thanks for the idea.


  2. Great show. Google forms is very versatile! I have been using it as an answer sheet in my classroom. When the students are done, I use conditional formatting in the spreadsheet to highlight the correct answers. I can grade +100 students assignment in less than five minutes!


  3. Thanks for the tip to look into Google Docs. I just assigned a project to my junior AP class that could use some of the new tools being offered. I also liked some of the ideas presented about having instant feedback with your students. Our school network is often down and I sometimes never get emails from students who have questions. A quick post to Twitter that I can check from my phone would serve as a much more efficient way to communicate with my tech savvy teenagers when they are not in my classroom.


  4. Not sure what this MP3 audio recording app will cost eventually, but this is almost ideal for the Chromebook, but also works great from my Windows 7 PC. It’s based on Flash. ( http://denniehoopingarner.com/portfolio/ ) I think what the programmer is saying is that all the processing is done on the client-side (records, converts to MP3) and then you can save it (without having to upload it to a server first). *Might be able to get a license and make the service only available from behind a portal, or your LMS (Moodle/Blackboard), or a login on a web page. Maybe even a widget for WordPress.


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