Google Docs – I’m finally willing, down-right eager actually

Google Docs small logo

A few years back I tried using Google docs for my class spreadsheet as a way to avoid having to remember which flash drive and/or desktop/laptop had the current truly up-to-date version of my spreadsheet. Back then Google spreadsheets were too iffy in terms of stability and did not have enough features to warrant moving from Excel to Google. This fall things are different.

I have been keeping my class spreadsheets on the Google cloud, and so far, so good. I have not had stability issues and have discovered many useful functions of the Google spreadsheet. My new favorite is the form.

Class Dictionary

In my last post, I talked about using moodle’s glossary function for a class dictionary. I still see merits to the moodle offering, but am now enamored with a Google spreadsheet that uses a form to collect data as my class dictionary for next semester. Here’s a preliminary run at it:

I will share the spreadsheet with students in the class so that they and I will be able to sort through it and edit as necessary. I have already set the sheet so that parts of speech are automatically color coded, so it is easy to see adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc right away, but a person can also sort the dictionary to get them all together. Likewise, I will be able to sort by student name to easily count if a student has submitted the required number of terms.

On-line Rubrics for Grading

I have even started making on-line rubrics that automatically count up points for me when grading assignments. Here’s an example from my High Advanced Reading summary review assignment.

Creating rubrics like this will be helpful as I work with my co-teacher next semester to grade writing assignments using a rubric: we will both use the rubric the same way AND have assess to the results in on-line form (which eliminates the need for me to keep my desk clean or not loose a sheet of notepaper with my grades on it).

We’ll see how this all goes! So far I have two wishes:

  1. I wish I could manipulate the layout of the data-receiving form more
  2. I wish I could create a output form (report) that presented data in a more aesthetically pleasing (and selectively revealing) fashion

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized  Tagged:  , , , , , December 14, 2010

To Moodle or Not to Moodle

With Mason, myself included, using Blackboard and pbworks, I have to question my thought to try out moodle for a class next semester.

The thing I like about it right away is that it was created with constructionist pedagogy in mind.  The guy who created it, Martin Dougiamas, has advanced degrees in both computer science and education. I can get down with that — as a c.s. guy, I’m sure he’s probably more linear and formulaic in his thought processes than circuitous and unbounded. And while I find freedom of thought enticing, I know it is a big time-vacuum for those that know how to think and basically a waste of time for those yet unschooled in deep, scholarly (read “end product required”) thought. So, I think I’ll give it a go.

I especially appreciate the Glossary feature — could really use that for To Kill a Mockingbird vocabulary in HAR. (see this example on the Moodle demo site:

I’ll need to check that

  • students can post files to share and edit (in real-time)
  • I can create folders and subfolders for student work

Now I must listen to OCS student recordings 🙂

1 comment Posted in  intructional technology ,on-line work ,Web 2.0  Tagged:  , November 24, 2010

3 books I gotta return to Fenwick today

Okay, so I got the overdue notice from the library in my email yesterday.

The first of the three over due books has been actively “with me” since May. It’s been to Delaware, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South & North Carolina, and, of course, good old Virginee. I love this book, but obligations kept me from finishing the last chapter until this morning.  I am ordering a personal copy for my myself this morning and am contemplating ordering a copy for Dr. Merten himself — maybe I’ll just send him the call number and tell him he can find it in Fenwick tomorrow 😉

  • It’s called My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student
    • written by “Rebekah Nathan” — a pen name for an anthropology professor who did a year long field study @ her own university, living in the dorms as a freshman. Fascinating read.
      • Cornell UP, 2005
      • ISDN-10: 0-8014-4379-0 ; ISBN-13: 978-0-8014-4397
      • Call#: LB3605.N34 2005

The second book is another good read — about constructive education & language learning, with a focus on English. Chapter 3 gives a great overview of constructivism in education — I’m scanning this in for distribution to non-believers.

  • Constructivist Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners
    • Sharon Adelman Reyes & Trina Lynn Vallone
    • Corwin Press, 2008
    • ISBN 978-1-4129-3686-6 (cloth): ISBN 978-1-4129-3687-3 (pbk.)
    • Call#: PE1128.A2R4725 2008
    • Here’s a few good ideas/quotes:
      • 3 things come together to facilitate learning: context-embedded demonstrations, appropriate linguistic support, a stress-free learning environment
        • page 8, learning to tie a shoe example
      • “The bilingual … does not develop two separate cultural identities; rather, the cultures represented merge into one unique identity” (page 10)
      • constructivist principles validate prior knowledge as a learning tool (page 12)

And the third … never read it, but still want to – I’ll try to renew it 🙂

  • Guiding Students from Cheating and Plagiarism to Honesty and Integrity: Strategies for Change
    • Ann Lathrop & Kathleen Foss
    • Libraries Unlimited, 2005
    • ISBN 1-59158-275-X
    • Call#: LB3609.L27 2005

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized October 8, 2010

Hello world!

Day 1 = October 7, 2010

Nothing special today — the usual full load of commute, class, meeting, tech support, meeting, tech support, class, commute.

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized October 7, 2010

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