Dec 172009


Google Docs and Presentations are amazing tools available to teachers in the SEDC region, and anywhere that Google Apps have been adopted. Not only do they foster group planning for teachers, but they are effective tools to enable group work and student collaboration in an engaging way, while simultaneously taking advantage of the benefits of these documents living ‘online’.

We’ve worked with a few schools through a grant on creating an easy way to create, view, edit and share these collaborative documents. With a few clicks, students can access the document, edit and add their own information and personal twist, include their research and web resources – and in the process they attack the larger problem or goal as a group. Then – the students, any other classes, their parents and even the entire world can easily view the work that they have done. Publishing to the world is a motivating force to do quality work! These videos will show, step-by-step, how to do this same thing for any class!

For this process, we are using Google Apps for Education, and Joomla – a free and open-source Content Management System (CMS) that our region has adopted for hosting school and district Web sites. This example has been outlined with the work we have done with Mr. Winegar at Bryce Valley High School, Garfield County School District in Utah.

There are three main steps that need to be done:
  1. Create the ‘template’ document in Google Docs.
  2. Depending on how the students will be working on the document…
    • … if the entire class will be working on one document – Publish the template document, set the editing rights for everyone, and get the shared link in Google Docs, or…
    • … if small groups will have access to their own sections – Share the document with editing rights to the email addresses of the students in each group or reuse the group email addresses that we have set up for you and share the document to those.
    • Write a new ‘Article’ on your school web site and your teacher area with a link to access the presentation and an embedded version for viewing the presentation on your site (I’ve created an account on your web site so that you can write articles – this is something that eventually we’d like all of the teachers at your school to have access to and training for).
    • *BONUS* – Recombine the smaller group presentations into the full class presentation and embed it in a web page.

    I’ll go through each of these in detail so that you can replicate what we have done. Here we go!

    Step 1 – Create the template document in Google Docs:

    Step 2a – Publishing the document so that anyone with the link can edit – entire class access:

    Step 3a  – Writing an Article on your school Web site to access and view these links to edit:

    Step 2b – Sharing the individual group templates with specific students or a group account:

    Step 3b – Adding links to view small group presentations to an article on your school web site:

    Step 4 – Bring it all together and post it on your web site:

    I realize that there are a few steps, and it may seem like a daunting task, but if you take it all step-by-step (and use the Pause button on the videos when you need to!), you’ll be able to do this. This has certainly been a trial-and-error process for us to figure out this workflow, but it’s exciting to be able to share this with the teachers in our region and beyond.

    Please post comments if you have questions or feedback – I’d love to hear from you!
    Dec 092009
    Here’s the notes for our presentation today on Google Docs.

    or you can view the presentation here.


    Additional Resources for Google Docs:
    Dec 082009

    We have been working with a small school in Orderville, Utah on an excellent mapping project – There are only two people alive who know the layout of the town’s irrigation system, and they are getting along in age. The Principals of Technology teacher, Alan DeMille, thought it would be a good idea and a great project to get his kids out in the field with these gentlemen to mark the existing locations of the important valves, access points and other points of interest and create a map to serve as a reference for years to come. This is exactly what students should be doing in school – working on real problems and creating real products.

    Since our initial instruction time with the group turned into a hard lesson on setting map projections before waypoints are loaded and addedto a map, we had to hurry through some important topics on how to do the basics in ArcMap. I’ve created some how-to videos to serve as a reference for the work that these kids do, and I thought that it would be helpful to other teachers, students, and technology trainers in Utah.

    Here we go! (Note: To view the full-size videos, follow the “View on >>” links beneath each video)

    Bringing in the background map image from the server (Note: If you do not have the “Add Image Server Connection” button that I use in the following video, here’s how you add this – Open ArcMap, choose Tools –> Customize. Choose the Commands tab, scroll down to Image Server Category. Grab the “Add Image Service” button and drag to toolbar. Click on the Add Image Service button to Open the Add Image Service dialog box. Enter the server name ( and hit enter.):
    Setting up the map projection and adding waypoints from a file or from a GPS with DNR Garmin:
    Downloading vector data from
    Extracting the vector data files, and adding the layers into the map:
    Changing the appearance of GPS points and vector lines and overlays:
    Working in Layout Mode – adding titles, legends, map scales, compass rose, etc.:
    Labeling data points:
    Dec 082009

    Google on Monday announced: 1) the inclusion of real-time information in Google search results; 2) Google Goggles, an experimental image recognition system for Android 1.6+ devices by which users can submit search queries using snapshots of certain objects; 3) a “What’s Nearby?” location-based search capability in Google Maps for mobile (version 3.3); 4) Japanese language support for the iPhone and Android voice search apps; and 5) a plan to provide in-conversation voice translation across languages, starting in the first quarter of 2010.

    How long is it until we have the tricorder from Star Trek???

    Dec 022009

    Welcome to SpellingCity


    Featured Spelling Lists

    Dolch Words                     Colors
    Words of Latin Origin      Numbers to Ten
                        Possessives has:

    – Over 42,000 spelling words and ten learning games!
    – A REAL person who says each word and sentence.
    Free home pages for teachers and parents to save lists.
    How To Videos to show teachers and parents how to use
    – A free forum and newsletter with more vocabulary and spelling resources!

    Ten games to play online or to print: Spelling, Vocabulary, Alphabetical Order.
    – Free printables for handwriting practice with your saved lists.
    – A Resources Section which highlights features and existing lists for Dolch words, compound words, sound-alikes (their, there, they’re), contractions, possessives, and more.

    After taking the online spelling test, students can print out a report, retake the entire test, or get tested only on spelling words that they got wrong the first time

    TeachMe spells and displays the word in ways that stimulate memory for visual and verbal learners.

    Printable Games include WordSearch, UnScramble, WhichWord?, Sentence UnScramble and MissingLetter.

    Printable Handwriting Worksheets for combined spelling and handwriting practice can be created from any saved list (this feature only works if the list is saved). Choices includes three sizes of lines, capitals or small letters, script or cursive, and with directional arrows on or off. How cool is that?

    Teachers:  try our new Spelling City Parents’ Letter, available as PDFs for you to print and send home with your students’ spelling word lists. It is also available in Spanish.

    SpellingCity is an award winning site: AEP Golden Lamp Finalist, Teachers’ Choice, & Parents’ Choice! Needs Your Help! wants to keep improving our vocabulary and spelling games.  To help us:

    Link to SpellingCity from your school website, homeschool blog, or list of online learning resources.
    Tell your colleagues and friends, write a review for a teachers group, or forward our newsletter.
    – Participate in the SpellingCity forum sharing your ideas on how to use the site, highlighting lists, and making suggestions for new features or spelling games.
    – Fan us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter.

    Help make spelling time, a fun time!  We want to make our spelling website a valuable fun part of every child’s spelling and vocabulary education. shares technology with a Vocabulary website.  SpellingCity is grateful to (homeschooling curriculum, afterschool online study) and (teaching writing) for their support.


    Saw this in action at a couple of elementary schools yesterday – looks like an effective practice tool for kids!