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.