Google Presentations for Class Projects

If you’re looking for a versatile online place for students to easily post and share images and text, Google Presentations may be for you.

What is it?

It’s a type of document available in Google Docs, and basically it’s an online Powerpoint presentation. It lives online, and multiple people can access it and work on it at the same time.

One of our classes this semester wanted students to find and share images from their subject and post text and information about the photographers. The instructor started a Google Presentation, shared it with the class (each student needs a Google account) and the students were able to go in and create 3-4 slides each to add to the presentation. They ended up with a nice resource of images and information, created collaboratively by the students. They are creating one presentation for each subject they’re studying.
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Heads Together: More tools for collaborative work

In our previous post we discussed Google Docs, which is probably the #1 tool for group work of any kind. Here are some more ways technology can help people work together.

Wiki’s: A wiki is a website created and maintained by a group, with anyone in that group being able to edit the content. You can have a wiki as part of your Moodle course, or use an outside service like Google Sites or Wikispaces. Students can work together to build a repository of what they’ve learned about the class’s subject, or use it to share resources, links, or ideas with each other.

Moodle Glossary: You can create a glossary as part of your Moodle course, and the students can add terms and definitions to it. This can be an assignment in itself, or simply a way to build a record of terminology or concepts they’re learning. Once created, Moodle will automatically create links to these glossary terms wherever they are used in the course (in a discussion forum, for example).

Voice Thread: This is a neat tool for creating multimedia presentations and discussion boards. You start with images or a video, and then students can go in and record comments. Students can comment on others’ comments, add images or videos, etc. It’s a interesting alternative to response papers, and engages students with different learning styles. We can set you up with accounts for you and the students, and provide training & set-up help as needed. Here are some links about Voice Thread in education.

Want to find out more?  Get in touch, we can help.


More Than Words: Moodle’s Very Versatile Text Editor

Did you know you can add fancy text formatting, images, and videos to your Moodle course page? Take advantage of Moodle’s versatile text editing tools and jazz things up!

Wherever you type in Moodle, you can also:

Check out the video below for an overview! Also, see this post about other tweaks to make your course page more manageable.

Keeping Track of It All

Hello again, Caro Pinto here, ready to talk about tools for managing my media diet.

There are so many blog posts, news pieces, journal articles, and white papers I want to read during the day. Unless it’s breaking news or critical for a project that I am working on in the moment, I don’t read content I discover immediately. Instead, I use a variety of services to store and organize what I read to read or retrieve later. Generally, I read my treasure trove of articles on my iPad.

Instapaper: Designed for iOS devices, Instapaper allows you to save web pages to read later. Using a bookmarklet in my web browser, I can save current web pages later. Instapaper is embedded in Twitter for iPhone and for iPad which I use daily. I can save links directly from those clients to read later. Instapaper allows you to store articles to read offline, so when I travel, I always make sure I have a long queue of articles and long form journalism pieces to read on the go.

Read It Later: Another service that allows readers to save web pages for later. Operates in all mobile platforms. Another solid choice for those who want to save items to read later online or off.

Reading Lists: Safari allows users to save web pages for later and creates reading lists right into the browser.  If you don’t have a tablet or smartphone, this is a good option.

Readability: This a neat tool that allows users to clean up web pages for easy reading. For a subscription fee, one can save articles to read later on another device, most notably the Kindle. I use their free Chrome extension to clean up text on the web for easy reading.

Zotero: Not only is Zotero a fantastic bibliographic management system, it’s also a great tool to capture web pages and attach pdfs of articles to annotate and share. It is my go to tool for tracking potential library purchases or articles I might want to teach in the future.

Happy Reading!

Keeping Tabs and Taking Names, Part II

Here are a couple other ways to keep your class and life organized.

Take Attendance with Moodle
Moodle  has an attendance-taking feature that we just added in this year. You set it up once, and then for the rest of the semster can just go in and quickly check off who’s here and who’s not! Some faculty pass around paper sign up sheet during class and have their TA record everything in Moodle afterwards. The advantage is you can get a quick report of attendance records for your students, and the students can see their OWN attendance record. Here’s how to set it up.

Set up Office Hours with Doodle
Yes, we know there isn’t yet a great solution for office-hours sign ups. BUT, here’s on option that is easy to use and works pretty well. It’s called Doodle and is a free web tool for setting up meetings. You just set it up once with all available office hours slots, set it so that only one person can sign up for each time slot, and give students the link. Here’s how it works:

Questions, comments, want help setting either of these up? Just get in touch!

Caro Pinto’s Media Diet

Howdy folks, my name is Caro Pinto and I am the social sciences & emerging technologies librarian at Hampshire College. I am pleased to be a guest blogger here for the next two weeks to talk about strategies for for locating and managing web resources for research and learning.

Inspired by the Atlantic’s Media Diet feature that queries journalists, techbiz thought leaders, and musicians what they read and how they keep current, I thought I’d share my own media diet. My media diet’s goal is keep me current with trends in higher education, digital humanities, technology, librarianship, and my faculty’s subject areas.

I generally rise at 6:00 am and immediately check my email on my iPad. I do a quick browse of Chronicle of Higher Education articles to get a lay of the land. I usually have some coffee and my day beings to hum along. I then grab my Macbook Pro and fire up Twitter and begin to look  content I subscribe to in Google Reader.

At this early stage of the day, I only scan articles and decide if I want to read them later (come back next week to learn more!) or if it’s critical news that I want read immediately. I go through the Chronicle of Higher Education through the email blasts they push daily. I go through my Google Reader lists that are organized topically: librarians, archivists, higher education, digital humanities. I subscribe to individual librarians, archivists, and digital humanists and relevent organizations like 4Humanities and the Scholars’ Lab. Though I am the social sciences librarian, the digital humanities movement resonates with types of digital projects I want to spearhead at Hampshire.

While my folders on Google reader are focused on librarianship, higher education, and digital humanities, my Twitter account is far more varied. I follow media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Slate,  and The Wall Street Journal, political reporters like Ryan Lizza, Ezra Klein, Dahlia Lithwick, and Ana Marie Cox, library and info science thought leaders like Stephen Abram and Lorcan Dempsey, technology sites like Cult of Mac, TechCrunch, and AllThingsD, and collection development resources like The New York Review of Books,  The London Review of Books, and a long list of University Presses. I also follow various vendors like JSTOR, EBSCO, ProQuest among others to track larger trends in library services and to learn about outages or other technical updates.

Many librarians/archivists have robust Twitter presences and I follow several hundred of them. The info pro community on Twitter is strong and I often ask questions of my colleagues or respond to their inquiries. These relationships are central to my work and professional development.

I engage with Twitter all day long while I work and save relevant articles to read later on my iPad. I synthesize while I read at night and keep notes possible research questions or trends I need to track. This process helps me set priorities for possible projects and potential research quests.

Even though I do technology and my office is nearly sans books, I also receive various print publications at the Library that I read weekly and monthly. I always read The New Yorker, Bloomberg, The Harvard Business Review, Library JournalThe Economist, Harpers, The Atlantic, and The New Republic, College & Research Libraries from cover to cover.

I also have subscriptions to scholarly journals like the Journal of Modern History that I read in JSTOR and EBSCO. Those services push content to me via email when new issues are available.

Keeping current with news, information, and technology is a core part of my job and central to my continuing professional development. I count myself lucky that I am empowered to read widely, ask lots of questions, and work with such amazing students and faculty. Serving the Hampshire community inspires me to stay current, test my assumptions, and imagine new library services.

Come by next week to learn how I organize and manage all of content streams.