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Showing posts from February, 2013

Using Google Sites for Self Assessment

I went to an interesting workshop run by Simon Davis this week looking at using Google Apps in Education. I was there to demo Google Hangouts and unfortunately had a heap of technical problems ( my laptop battery died... oops! Note: never believe it when your battery says it has 2 hours of juice ). Luckily, I had a Hangout I'd prepared earlier.
The best bit for me was Catherine Shawyer (right) showing how, in Education, they were using a variety of Google Apps with elegance and gusto.

They used template Google Sites for portfolio work (shown below). They found the sheer reliability of Google Apps was hugely important given their students loss of trust having used other tools and simply lost work by accidentally clicking the back button or similar. Usability really matters.

But their most enthusiastic use was in using Google Sites for the hugely valuable process of self assessment. Typically, this previously took place on paper that became increasingly dog-eared and was often lost.  …

Using Google Forms For Qualitative Research

This week, I saw presentations from students performing qualitative research in Archaeology. The focus of their projects was an Android/iPhone heritage app called York's Churches whichhas been developed to encourage people to explore the life and history of York city centre churches.
Go get the app for Android or iPhone yourself, it's lovely.

The students' projects involved a mixture of focus groups, ethnographic work and Google Forms with iPads to gather data. The projects were mainly looking at how they might better raise awareness of the application with tourists and what improvements mi
The Google Forms and iPads were used in various ways, including...
As a data capture tool when surveying members of the publicThey were used to demo the application on the streetThe forms were used to ease the transcribing of data they recorded with pen and paper, which might be questions that they answered themselves ( for example, "Did they seem genuinely interested?" )The st…

Using Blogger For Student Reflection ( Archaeology )

The Idea
+Sara Perry in Archaeology has been using Blogger to support a project in which her students create an "object narrative" that tells us the story of a museum exhibit. The project, in flipping the students' perspective around on the objects on display gets them to think differently about museums and exhibitions.

In a workshop, each of the students, having chosen an object ( from a crystal skull to a penny to a bike to a Christmas bauble etc ) were guided through creating a blog and began telling their object's story.

What We Did We created a central aggregator blog that subscribed to the feeds of each of the students' blogs, creating a point from which the students, and Sara could easily get to each of the latest posts. We did this using the simple RSS gadget in the Layout Editor. Like this ...

The bottom half of this blog ended looking like this...

... creating a useful "Starting Point" for exploring the objects' stories.


Moan: Google Refreshes Google Forms

Google's announcement that Google Forms have been refreshed was welcome, it's always encouraging when a company updates a core tool you and your colleagues regularly use.... like say, Blogger. For example. Ahem.


Anyway, watching the videos about what had changed I notice that they've added the ability to share editing/viewing forms with people. That's great but it's sort of what I come to expect from Google, that nice Share dialog in many ways IS Google Apps. It doesn't feel like an innovation, it feels like a neglected corner being given a spring clean.

The relationship between Forms and Spreadsheets has been altered. It's never been clear that when you create a Form a Spreadsheet will magically be created for the results and now you can have a Form that doesn't have an associated Spreadsheet. I'm not sure if they've made it clearer, just different. We'll see.

And the demo in the video above, of being able to copy a list of items into…

Using Google Spreadsheets To Improve Student Accommodation

The Problem Tim Saunders, is fast becoming the poster boy for my belief that getting non-technical people coding is good idea.

Tim started in the University of York accommodation office and inherited a task of managing students' requests to change their room.

This room changing process was paper-based and requires various peoples' agreement and signatures. It resulted in a student having to carry an increasingly dog-eared form to college administrators and back to Tim and then to the old college administrators. It was slow, actively encouraged signature forging and reliably error prone.

All the data collected then needed to be entered into SITS, our student database, which involves various charging and set up costs, so it really helps if this data is correct, having being verified by everyone in the chain.

The Solution Armed with a some self-taught Javascript using the online learning platform CodeAcademy, Tim thought that the pile of paper forms in his office and queue of fr…

How To Use Hangout Screen Sharing For Presentations

In my previous post, I asked if I was missing something ( shut  it you) with regards to using Hangouts for presentations. +Eduardo Carrillo put me right, thanks!
The trick is: 
In another window have your Slides presentation ready. Click "Present" and instead of clicking "Exit fullscreen" from the top of the screen, which exits the Present mode, you exit fullscreen from the little black toolbar at the bottom left. I additionally changed View > Always Show Bookmarks Bar in ChromeNow, back in your Hangout select Screenshare and choose the window with your presentation in it
I think that's it. I guess at this point, one could go full screen so that the people in the real world audience get the bestest, fullest screen experience... and it wouldn't matter that you lose access to the Hangout ( from an interface point of view ). 

Having got this working, I'm not completely convinced by it. My heebies are jeebying. I can imagine this being far from intuitive…