connecting educators & enhancing learning
I was doing some art projects with my kids in the computer lab and I came across a site called Kerpoof. This is a great learning site that allows you to make a drawing, make a picture, tell a story, make a card, make a movie, or spell a picture. It is owned by Disney, although you almost wouldn't know it. This is a great no cost substitute for KidPix and other drawing programs. Kids and teachers can even create their own accounts, although they do not have to. It has a special spot for educators and a small but growing list of lesson plans. Check it out!
I work on a mac at home and a PC at school so cloud computing is VERY appealing to me. It will eliminate the constant e mailing I have been doing from home to school and back.
But, here is the cloud computing app that I can't live without now. I've been using it for about a month and find that I'm putting all kinds of things there. Check out Evernote. There you can create notes, store photos, audio, and clip web pages. I have about ten different notebooks where I am collecting "stuff" for my kids, recipes, grocery lists, staff meeting notes, things to do, books I want to read, classes that I teach, etc. Best of all it can be accessed from anywhere including my iphone. It puts everything in one place. Love it!
I've recently learned about dropbox. Though I didn't know it at the time, dropbox is an example of cloud computing, which I learned about during this session for my MET class. Using dropbox made my life so much easier. I highly recommend it to anyone who uses multiple computers or who finds themselves carrying around their work on a USB drive. If you go to www.dropbox.com you can sign up for some free space.
Here is a basic overview of what it is: You can install dropbox on muliple computers. When you save documents on a computer which has dropbox installed, you save it in the dropbox folder just as you would save it in your documents folder. The cool thing about dropbox, though, it that when you save it in your dropbox, the document will also save in the "cloud" AND it will automatically sync with any other computers that has your dropbox installed on it. So, for example, I have dropbox installed on my home computer, work computer, and my laptop. I can work on my home computer on a document for work, save it to my dropbox, go to work the next day, and open the same document in my dropbox on my work computer. I have the document saved on my hard drive of the computer and a backup in the cloud. I can still use microsoft word which means I do not have the annoying lag time that often occurs when I use google docs. But I still have automatic backups saved in the cloud that I can access anywhere that has internet. There is even a dropbox app for my iPhone.
When building presentations you might want to look at these free tools that I found during exploration of cloud computing. The package is located at aviary.com. You can find image editing with their Phoenix tool, a drawing package called Raven, an audio editing package with Myna, and the Roc Music creator in which you have instruments to create music with. Also included is a video editor called Jaycut, with it you can edit video, audio, add transitions, and save in multiple forms. You even have choices of how to publish. This is a powerful resource and it all can be overviewed for you here: You Tube Video.
We just started using Aviary this year at our school! We've been primarily using it for photo editing as a Photoshop replacement (Phoenix). I think it's pretty nice except that we often run into little glitchy things. I also just worked with a teacher in their audio recording tool. He teaches ESL and has students recording various readings. I have to check in with him to see how he likes it. The great thing about the audio recording is that students can podcast from home since it's "in the cloud." We always have trouble with audio recordings in school through GarageBand because of time limitations.
I too am very impressed with Google Docs. I suggest it to both staff and students almost every day. Students are constantly forgetting their flash drive, or the school is blocking their email, or they saved a file that needs to be converted. It would be so much easier for them to use Google Docs. Collaborating is also a HUGE asset. I wish fellow staff members would open up to the idea of using Google Docs. It is difficult to teach and old dog new tricks!!!