Posted tagged ‘web 2.0’

Google Calendar for my Classes

March 27, 2008

For a couple of years I’ve tried to make some kind of online calendar for my classes. At first I was trying to update a list of assignments just using HTML.  To do that I had to open the file, update it, then load it up to the server. It took too long and I couldn’t keep up with it.

Now I use Google Calendar. In Google Calendar I’ve created a separate calendar for each class. Everyday I go into the calendar and update what we did for that day. I can also put upcoming assignments and events.

Here is the magical part: I have embedded the calendars into my website. Now when a student goes to the Algebra part of my website they are looking at the algebra calendar. The geometry students go to their website and look at their calendar.

To do this in Google Calendar:

1. Click on the arrow next to the name of the calendar you want to embed and select calendar setting.

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2. Customize the settings as needed and grab the HTML code they give you.  Put that HTML code where ever you want your calendar to show up on your website.

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Now I just update the Google Calendar and my website is always up to date.

As I get caught up with everything I plan to have a link to all the worksheet and notes we go over in class. So any student can go to the website, look at what we did that day, download the notes, download the worksheet, and be totally caught up with class.  I’m living the dream!

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Google Apps For My Classes

March 25, 2008

A couple months ago I decided to start taking my math classes to the computer lab once a week.  The first day I asked everyone to start a gmail account.  It was going just fine until halfway through first hour when Google blocked our server from creating any more accounts.  They though we were spammers.  One of the messages that Google gave students as they were blocked was to set up an account with Google Apps.  

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Luckily I already had set up my own website with my own domain so I was able to set up Google Apps before the end of the hour.  I also already had all my students in an Excel file so I had 120 accounts created by the middle of second hour. 

I struck gold.  Google Apps is the greatest way to communicate with classes, and set up collaborative activities. 

Here are some advantages of Google Apps:

1. Set up class email lists.  When I want to give an assignment to a class I simply send an email to 1stHour @ (email).com.  I have even sent emails halfway through class pointed students to a resource that someone had found. 

2. Google Docs.  I have students create Google documents and then share them with me.  I can go in and put comments in the document and grade them.  

3.  Students create their own start page.  I have let students put their own widgets on their start page.  They have the freedom to put various content on their start page as long as they keep a link for their email and documents.

4. Google Sites.  This is the Google version of wiki’s.  It is extremely easy to set up different sites and assign groups of students to work on them. 

5. Everything is free.  You get the Google ads here and there but no one minds.

6. Google is working on updating it.  I trust the thousands of geniuses Google has working on the security and functionality of Google apps.

7. It looks nice and works well.  I spent a long time looking for a wiki service to use for my classes.  The Google Sites interface and polished look beats them all.

8. I am the administrator.  When everyone forgets their password I can reset it.  When I get a new student I can create an account on the spot.

I am going to try to convince the district to switch everything over to Google Apps.  I realize doing something like that is ridiculous but I know I’m right and if anyone takes a look at it I might get lucky.  Arizona State, Northern Illinois, and a bunch of other schools and companies are using it!  Why can’t we?