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Tech Tips


Now, more than ever, educators must be visible and transparent in what they do for their students,

school, and community. Today, that’s easier than ever!

Start with a free educator Wikispaces page. Click edit, type, and save. Done.



Why LinkedIn when you’re not looking for a new job? Because our parents and community are there

and it shows teachers are professionals, too! A professional profile takes about 30 minutes to create.

You can add a photo, your education and work history, awards and qualifications, and call it a day.

If you want to go deeper with LinkedIn, there are discussions and groups, and you can build a personal learning network

that connects with other educators.


Google Docs is an online word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation app from Google.

It's full of features, and here are easy tricks you can do right away.

Google Docs & Icon - Google Inc.

1. Share Documents

One of the best features of Google Docs is that you can collaborate, and I don't mean check-in, check-out collaborate like SharePoint. I mean everyone can edit the same file at the same time without having to download or upload anything. Google isn't unique in this feature. Zoho Writer also supports simultaneous editing by multiple users, but you can only have three users before you have to start paying for services, while Google Docs doesn't limit the number of free collaborators you can add to a document.

I've seen some documents completely open to the Web and allowing everyone to edit them. Others are closed and only editable by small groups. You can also set your sharing preferences for a folder and have all items you add to that folder automatically share with a group.
More »

2. Make Spreadsheets

Google Docs started out as a Google Labs product called Google Spreadsheets. Google later purchased Writely to add the documents into Google Docs. Meanwhile, the features in Google Spreadsheets have grown. Yes, you can probably make Excel do something you can't get out of Google Spreadsheets, but it's still an excellent and straightforward spreadsheet app with nice features like scripted actions and gadgets.
More »

3. Make Presentations

You've got documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. These are online slide show presentations, and now you can even add animated transitions to your slides. (Use this power for good and not for evil.) Like everything else, you can share and collaborate with simultaneous users, so you can work on that presentation with your partner in another state before you offer your presentation at a conference. You can then export your presentation as a PowerPoint or PDF  or deliver it directly from the Web. You can also deliver your presentation as a Web meeting. It's not as full featured as using something like Citrix GoToMeeting, but Google Presentations are free.
More »

4. Make Forms

I often get oohs and ahhs from the audience when I show people this feature. You can create an easy form from within Google Docs that asks different types of questions and then feeds directly into a spreadsheet. You can publish your form as a link, send it in an email, or embed it on a Web page. It's very powerful, and very easy. Security measures might force you to pay for a product like Survey Monkey, but Google Docs sure does a great job for the price.
More »

5. Make Drawings

You can make collaborative drawings from within Google Docs. These drawings may be embedded into other docs, or they may stand alone. This is still a relatively new feature, so it tends to be slow and a little quirky, but it's great for adding an illustration in a pinch. More »

6. Make Spreadsheet Gadgets

You can take your spreadsheet data and insert a gadget powered by the data in a range cells. Gadgets can very from simple pie charts and bar graphs to maps, organization charts, pivot tables, and more. More »

7. Use Templates

Documents, spreadsheets, forms, presentations, and drawings all have templates. Rather than creating a new item from scratch, you can use a template to give you a head start. You can also create your own template and share it with others.

I find it useful sometimes to just browse through the templates to see some of the creative ways people use Google Docs. More »

8. Upload Anything

You can upload just about any file, even if it's not something recognized by Google Docs. You've got a finite amount of storage space (1 gig) before Google starts charging, but you can upload files from obscure word processors and download them to edit on a desktop computer.

That doesn't mean you should underestimate the types of files you can edit from within Google Docs. Google Docs will convert and allow you to edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. You can also convert and edit files from OpenOffice, plain text, html, pdf, and other formats.

Google Docs even has a built in OCR to scan and convert your scanned documents. This option may take a little longer than regular uploads, but it's worth it. 

9. Edit Your Documents Offline

If you like Google Docs, but you're going on a trip, you can still edit your documents on the plane. You need to use the Chrome browser and prepare your documents for offline editing, but you can edit Documents and Spreadsheets. (Other files are view only)

You can also use an Android app to edit your docs from your phone. More



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