Google Docs – Presentation – A real trainwreck

*UPDATE* I did follow up and try Zoho and Prezi the next time. Read what happened (it was good by the way) here.


Google Docs offers something that Microsoft PowerPoint, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and iWorks cannot–real time collaboration. I recently just finished up a unit working with two of my grade six classes about building an effective presentation and how to present. I gave them a general topic and they were to create a presentation in Google Docs, share it with their partner, and share it with me. How did Google Docs do? Well . . . not so great. Read on past the break to find out why I used it and what went wrong.

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Educational iPhone Apps – December


Just in time for the new year, a new list of educational iPhone apps that you can use in your classroom. Some of them leave a little to be desired, but there are more than a few winners here. So be sure to read on past the link to get all the goodness. Have a happy new year and we here at IT Babble hope that your 2011 is as good or better than your 2011.

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Educational iPhone Apps – Novemeber


It’s been a good Thanksgiving weekend and now as I sit on my couch a few belt notches wider watching Machete by Robert Rodriguez, I am pleased to bring you five helpful apps for the king of mobile devices the iPhone. Read on past the break and see how you can better bring out your iPhone in the classroom, and remember Machete don’t text.

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PowerPoints don’t suck YOU DO

I’ve had the privilege to work at some good schools over the past decade, but by God if they all had people who gave terrible presentations. Sure PowerPoint isn’t the greatest program to giving a presentation, but the platform itself is not to blame for the lowsy (and I mean terribly lousy) presentations that I  had to sit through. Rather than relive those nightmares and end up in a corner sucking my thumb I’d just share with you a couple of presentations from The user Jesse Dee has made some fantastic presentations on how to give presentations. I’ve embedded the shorter one below. I know it says fifty slides, but this is truly great and there are few wasted ideas. Start clicking, reading, and smiling.

Parent Conferences – How can technology make it better?


It’s conference time in my neck of the forest and I’ve been reflecting on how this process could be made better with a little technology. This time can be stressful for all the parties involved but why? Conferences should be time where the education team (parent, teacher, student) work on strategies to reach the student’s potential. I know technology is not the answer to all the problems in education, but it can certainly be used to make it better. Read on past the break to see how I think technology could be used to make this process a little better.

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Zoho Challenge: The picture says it all


Last week I wrote a review about Zoho writer and it’s many, many features. While exploring the whole Zoho suite I came across Zoho challenge. What is it? Well, it is a very effective, free test maker online. In other words it is a love affair waiting for teachers (IT or otherwise). Zoho Challenge is a great alternative to grading which has all sorts of pluses to it, but to get to hot and heavy details you’re going to have read on past the break. Come on, you know you want to.

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Leap of Faith


This is a short one people, so no bother looking for more of the article, because this is it! It occurred to me today as I am starting to wrap up my video unit, that I made a leap of faith concerning my students. A leap that was well worth it in my opinion. Let me explain. I had a detailed unit plan (30+ pages including assessments), and in that unit plan I had scheduled to talk about iMovie (the video editing software we used). Due to time constraints I dumped that part of the unit and leaped right into making the movie. I was worried. I felt I had done my students a disservice, but what happened was my students made very different and very creative videos. Wow! The students discovered and came up with their own techniques on their own. I had very few questions while they edited their movies and the results turned out pretty well. One thing I learned about all this: don’t underestimate, sell short, or assume students have a limited ability to learn complex skills by themselves. I think if the editing section was formerly presented, it may have stifled some of their creativity-this was definitely not the goal. Overall, it was a good experience and next time I have a better direction of what to do, not just for this unit, but others as well.

Best of the Best: Zoho Writer


ZohoWriter is like a display of fireworks. Some is good, but more is a whole lot better. ZohoWriter is pretty good, but it is hard to look at just that App when Zoho boasts over twenty productivity apps to help you get your work done. The Zoho suite is pretty awesome and I was able to crank out over 1200 words about mainly ZohoWriter, but to get to the good stuff you’re going to have to read on past the break. Take my word for it, the time will be well spent.

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Aaaaaand action!


I started a unit on video production today with one of my middle school classes. We have been preparing for weeks for the day that we would get to use the coveted Mac lab. Learning about the different cameras, the Mac operating system (AKA Snow Leopard), and how the two interface. Needless to say the kids were very excited. I don’t know if it is working with a cool looking computer, the size of the screen, making videos, but whatever it was, it was a real roller coaster of a class. Read on past the break for what happened.

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