"Just Google it!"Gone are the days when Google
was just the provider of interesting facts and decider of living room
quiz nights. Google is now a vast array of Web Applications designed to
pull today's web consumers into its clever and enticing 'Googleverse'.
And believe me, this Web Nut is banging on Google's doors screaming
"Let Me In". In fact, while I am typing these very words I am
wondering, why I don't 'can' this wiki, and transfer it all over to
Google Sites! Maybe I will; we will see ...
Now back on track!A quick run down on a few of the major players in the Google Empire (and don't forget, one username will take you everywhere!) -
little beauty is gold! It's free, easy to use and one account will
service your entire class, or school as the case maybe. Check out the Gmail Page for information on the funky firstname.lastname@example.org format (thanks Sue Waters!).
ultimate in collaborative documentation. Create documents, spreadsheets
and forms then share with collaborators or embed them into your site.
Students can use Google Docs to draft their writing, then share that
writing with you to provide instant editing and feedback. (thanks Nick Rate!)
A wonderfully useful application
that allows you to set up an editable calendar. Keep parents up-to-date
with events and deadlines. Add the class birthdays, or maybe a famous
date or two your kids and parents may find interesting (thanks Sue Waters!).
I can only describe Google Maps
as super cool. Find your school's neighbourhood, add your markers and
embed it on your site! What can be better than an interactive map that
uses real satellite pictures? The only draw back is that it is a little
tricky to embed and edit. This however, this can be over come with a
hundreds if not thousands of local and international news
organisations. Newspapers, Radio Stations, Television and Web-Based
News Sites. Google News allows you to search a relatively narrow field
of sourced information.
A simple Web Site creator. Embed other Google content like calendars, maps and Youtube or add other third party content. Google Sites is a new alternative to Wikis. I made this site on Google Sites.
you heard of RSS? Are you unfamiliar with the term "Read my Feeds? Do
you have lots of sites that you like to read but you can never get
around to checking them all? If this sounds like you need to check out
my Google Reader Page.
I can't get by without my Google Reader! (thanks Common Craft)
YouTube has had some bad press in the 'Edu-verse' lately. Many schools choose to use alternative sites like TeacherTube to avoid the perceived evils of YouTube. However, YouTube
wins hands down when it comes to ease of use, quality of playback and
upload speed. Why bother with an inferior product when the Rolls Royce
of video playback is at your door step. Just follow a few simple rules here and all will be well.
Google Apps is a free web-based IT infrastructure. With Google Apps you are able to create and manage email, messaging and shared calendars for all of your school community. Up-load videos and documents,
which only your school community can view. No advertising, and a safe
place for your students to learn about creating their own online
identity. Check out this video for a short explanation or this video for a more thorough Webinar.