I recently came across three document collaboration/publishing tools that I want to share. Both of these tools would be great for students to use inside and outside of the classroom. I think these tools represent what I refer to as the 3C’s of digital literacy: Communicative, Collaborative, and Creative.
EtherPad markets themselves as the “only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time.” I was introduced to EtherPad by David Jakes (@djakes) at the METC 2010 Conference. What I think is a great feature about EtherPad is that there is no sign-up required by the teacher or students. A public pad is created and students can start a collaborative writing project instantly. The pad has an exclusive link to be shared right away. An EtherPad document is limited to a maximum of 17 users, so if you have more than 17 students you might want to divide students up into groups to work on their documents. What I like it that each user can be easily identified by name and also by a specific text color. Multiple document types can be imported directly into EtherPad and the document can be exported in multiple formats. Be sure and check out the Saved Revisions and the Time Slider to see the evolution of the document and student participation levels.
CrocoDoc is a little different from EtherPad in a couple of ways. First, documents cannot be created directly from within the web app. They have to be imported from the computer or on the web somewhere else on the web. Second, not only can you collaborate and edit PDFs and Word documents, but CrocoDoc will also take PowerPoint presentations. The markup tools used are stickie notes, a highlighter, strikeout text, and add additional text. Specific pages can be shared via an exclusive link. Those you share the link with can not only view but also edit by default. A pro account is required ($36 per year) for added security features and support. Be sure to check out their demo document to get a feel for the interface before signing up.
A great document publishing web app
Issuu is a great document publishing application that gives a classy, professional look to existing documents. It gives your documents a “magazine” style look as you flip through your document’s pages. Your Issuu document is also very easy to share by email or by embedding it into your blog, wiki, or learning management system. A member of my PLN, Kelly Tenkely, used Issuu to publish a great guide to using Pages ’09 for Mac. Be sure to check it out so you can see what an Issuu document looks like.
It is my hope you find at least one of these resources beneficial to you and your students. I welcome your comments.
It wasn’t up until recently that I discovered many great resources available on YouTube for K-12 education. YouTube was blocked in my district, then it was unblocked, and now it’s blocked again. It’s not my intent in this post to determine whether or not YouTube should be blocked. If you’d like to comment to that via this post you’re more than welcome to. I wanted to share a couple of the really good ones and some YouTube tools. I hope you find them beneficial.
If you have any others to share please feel free.
A great new resource (well it’s new to me)
The Khan Academy
I came across this resource literally hours before I wrote this post. If this resource isn’t a great example of YouTube’s impact on K-12 education I don’t know what is. It’s over 1000 video tutorials created by Salman Khan on everything from basic math to biology to personal finance. Be sure and check it out. He also has a YouTube channel to subscribe to as well.
I recently read a post by my friend Christine Hollingsworth that she wrote on the Missouri FCCLA Blog titled “I Don’t Do FCCLA.” I would strongly urge you to read it even if you aren’t a Family & Consumer Sciences teacher.
Christine’s post inspired me to write this spin-off post. I’ve heard some teachers say, “I don’t do technology” or “You can’t integrate technology with the subject I teach.” Do you believe this to be true? Are there disciplines that are more difficult to integrate technology than others? Or could this be simply a cop-out?
I’ve probably said this before, however I find it worth repeating, is that when a teacher wants to begin infusing some technology into their instruction it doesn’t have to be a grandiose part of the lesson or unit. It shouldn’t be an entirely separate day of instruction. When a teacher tries to make it too big, our good friend “Mr. Frustration” usually comes to visit. Start small and have success, then expand further from there.
So what do you think? Are there subject areas that technology can’t be infused? I welcome your comments.