Chelsi's Educational Musings

Assistance Needed!

Posted on: October 27, 2011

I am currently home sick, so I thought that I would take advantage of some time to read everyone’s blogs.  I thoroughly enjoy getting to know everyone, read their opinions, and gather new resources.  I check the Delicious stack often, and I feel that I rarely have any great, new resources to contribute….yet.  I am always keeping my eyes peeled, but as for now, please know that I am using what YOU suggest and passing the links along to others!

Speaking of sharing, I am hoping that I can tap into your knowledge and expertise in two areas.  First, my final project.  I have been working to create a website through which the staff at my school can easily (key work – EASILY) incorporate the Moral Intelligence virtues into their daily teaching.  Incorporating the Moral Intelligence virtues into our classes each month is an initiative by the Regina Public School System.  I have created lessons, combed through various resources and websites, and put it all together into a site.  (Please keep in mind that it is by no means complete.)  My plan is to have each month’s virtue online before the month arrives so that teachers can incorporate the virtue into their classroom through a variety of different lessons for different grade levels and learning styles.  My goal is to share this site with as many teachers as possible, especially since moral education can be taught in any city, province, or country.  If you or anyone you know would like to use this site, please note that it is still “in production,” but I would love it to be shared!  Also, please feel free to comment or leave feedback if you have any questions!  Now, for my question…I have been using Google Sites to build this site.  For the most part, it has been very easy to use.  However, the themes are so primitive, simple, and drab.  The theme that I have chosen is the most graphically appealing one that I could find.  Does anyone know if there are ways to improve a Google Site’s layout and theme, or if I am limited to what is given to me when beginning the creation of the site?  Any tips on how to make the site more appealing, other than adding more graphics (which I am planning to do in the near future)?

Second question…
When having the students work on the computers at school, I have previously always used Dropbox to have them save their work, then access it at home.  Sometimes it works, but when often, the students are unable to access their work if they use a different version of Word at home.  I want to get them started on Google Docs instead, but I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions of something that works well for their students.  I would love to hear any suggestions!

Thanks a lot!

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8 Responses to "Assistance Needed!"

One of the things to watch for in sharing Word files is to make sure students always use .doc files instead of .docx. If they do that, there will probably be less of a probably less of a problem.

Or you could have them install openoffice.org http://www.openoffice.org/ … this will open any of those files and basically is very similar to Word.

Or … of course, Google Docs is a good choice.

A good digital practice is to avoid using Word at all. We advocate that students share files using .rtf format so there are no issues with access.

Thanks Alec. I taught the students how to make their files into .doc files, but they still forget at times, and then cannot access their documents. I’ll keep working with them though! Open Office is also a good idea. I think I’ll put a link to that on my class blog. Thanks!

I don’t have any experience using either so I cannot offer you much assistance. If kids ever need to work on anything I have them email their work to themselves…all of our students have Holy Trinity emails. I am interested in seeing your moral virtues website…I think that is something I could implement at my school.

That would be great if you or your colleagues could use the website. I hope to have as many people use it as possible.
I have had the students email their work home to themselves too. I think that was actually easier than Dropbox because they were all very comfortable with email.

I’d also suggest making use of Google Docs. It is free (as in beer, not freedom), effective, and probably the way most software is going anyways (cloud-based rather than locally installed). If someone already knows how to use Word, there is a very shallow learning curve to using Google Docs. I work as part of a distributed team and we’ve found using Google Docs is perfect for our needs (no more attachments and multiple versions!). Document sharing and live, simultaneous editing are great features, too. I rarely open Word anymore.

Thank Kevin. I agree – I think that it is the way that software is headed. As well, when I had a few students working on Google Docs, they were able to work on group assignments from home and didn’t have to worry about getting together.

[…] continue to add to each month for the rest of the year, even after this class has finished.  I had blogged about my Moral Intelligence page previously, and it is now much improved since then! Moral Intelligence […]

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