Today I’m going to push the envelope, shake the sauce, change things up…you get the drift. I’m not going to hit you with a bunch of cool sites today, but rather highlight one really gnarly web application (hey San Fernando Valley and Silicon Valley aren’t that far apart; there was bound to be a crossover at some point).
If you homeschool and have more than one computer in your home, you will wonder after today how you ever lived without Google Apps. Google Apps (GA) is a homeschool mom’s dream come true. In fact, you might just throw out all those other expensive organizers when you discover that you can keep track of all your homeschool business in one easy-to-access place.
It’s called…the internet.
See, the cool thing about GA is that you can store as much stuff as you want on there, and you don’t have to be on any specific computer to access it. Your info is stored remotely on the Google servers. In other words, you can be at the library, the coffee shop, or on your Blackberry, and “Presto!”: instant homeschool access.
So – – here’s how it works. Google Docs is the star of the show – – it’s sort of a mocked up Office Suite. There is a word processor, a spreadsheet app, and a presentations application. I’ll get into some creative uses for each of those in a later post, but for now, I just want you to get a mental image of what homeschooling with Google Docs can be…
- Rachel just finished her history assignment using Google Docs word processor and saved it in her docs file, sharing it with you.
- Bryan took his math quiz on Google docs and shared it with you.
- You are busy Instant Messaging with a blogging friend when an email comes to tell you that these assignments have been finished. So you simply open up Google Docs from your laptop. You see that Rachel kind of skimped on her 2nd and 3rd answers, so you highlight those in yellow and insert a note letting her know how she can improve her answers. Bryan got a 100 on his quiz, so you drop his grade into his Grade Spreadsheet on Google Docs, and insert a big note of Praise in his Daily Assignment log. As soon as he logs in for his next assignment, he sees his embarrassingly sappy “Great work from a Great Son” note, and rolls his eyes (secretly smiling with pride)
- Rachel sees that you have looked over her history, and she gives a perfunctory glance at your notes, but decides to come back to edit it later, because she is busy working on her multimedia Aerodynamics project using Google Presentation. She wants to be a film editor when she gets out of college, so she is having a blast creating an image and text slideshow including a video clip she took at the air fair last weekend
- You, meanwhile, are sipping your coffee slowly, sitting on the back porch swing, and looking over tomorrow’s lesson plans on Google Spreadsheet app. An email comes in from your friend Lyla reminding you of the homeschool field trip next Tuesday. You copy and paste her reminder into your Google calendar, and set it to send you a polite reminder the morning of.
This is just a Polaroid shot of what Google Apps can do for you, but I hope you can start to see the possibilities. One application. Any computer. Multiple uses. More to come next week…stay tuned!
Filed under: assistive technology, digital life, educational technology, Google Applications, homeschool, internet, technology | Tagged: educational technology, Friday's Hardwired Homeschool Hints, Google Applications, Google Docs, homeschool |