Friday, October 13, 2006

Google-centric learning

Nicholas Negroponte claimed that one of the first English words the village children and users of the $100 laptop learned was Google. It seems also for educational technology participants every second word or website lately is 'Google'. You would not have missed the YouTube takeover by google this week for 1.65 billion. Also this week Google announced a new website called Google for Educators. Read reviews on this from ZDNet and silicon.com. The site has a teacher newsletter you can sign up for which also links to a Google Teacher Center group. The education home page provides links to the following 'teacher suitable' applications:
  • Web search
  • Earth
  • Book search (cool!)
  • Maps (even cooler!)
  • Video (Google video)
  • Docs and spreadsheets (incorporates former writely.com)
  • Blogger
  • Sketchup (great clasroom applications for 3D design, great links to examples provided)
  • Calendar
  • Picasa (image manipulation)
  • Personalised homepage
  • Google Apps for Education (mail, talk, calendar and page creator)
It also provides tutorials and a chance for educators to 'speak out' on how they are using these tools in the classroom (moderated 'speak out' snippets found on main pages). Although in its early days I was most impressed with the user-friendly tutorials and ideas linked to each tool. But...that's not all folks...How would you like to be a 'Google Certified Teacher'? OK, I thought, why not? So I followed the link from the home page (association with WestEd looks impressive). As a pilot program it is being offered in Northern California (oh....) and it is a f2f one-day session. To be honest I am a little surprised. Google are starting to really take off with Web2.0 tools and are leading the way in many respects with digital literacy and flexibility of classroom facilities, so why run a 'have to be there in person', f2f pilot? Where is the global perspective? I would love to know if Google will broaden this to include international educators and if they have plans to run online sessions. Once again, as an international educator I am left out of the loop...well actually in this case all educators except those in Northern California are left out.

One other fairly new release from Google recently is The Literacy Project. It claims to be: "A resource for teachers, literacy organisations and anyone interested in reading and education, created in collaboration with LitCam, Google, and UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning." It has links to the following:
  • Book search
  • Scholar
  • Video
  • Maps (find literacy groups around the world!)
  • Blogger
  • Groups
It is promoting sharing and collaboration around the world. Kudos Google for this one! The link to Video starts with " See what literacy organisations, schools, and educators around the world are doing - or share your wisdom with the world." Kudos Google!

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Postscript: read what Andy Carvin has to say about this issue in his post this week "What's up with Google and teachers". BTW, my students were most impressed that my blog was quoted in an Andy Carvin blog!


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1 comment:

VM said...

Google is really doing great service in many areas.
VM