Technology Resources for Students

Web tools to make your lives easier!

This website was created for the use of students, parents, and teachers at Oak Middle School. As you know, the world of technology is constantly changing - new web tools are being developed on an almost daily basis... On this page, we have collected what we see as some of the most useful ones - tools which we ourselves use, and which we encourage you to explore.  Some of these - like Google Docs - will be used regularly in our classrooms, and we will give you training on their use.  If you find a tool that you think is really useful and would like to see it included, let us know!


Quick Links...

Google Docs
General Docs and Resources

How to set up your accounts

OMS New Literacies Wiki
Mr. P & Mr. M's Tech Blog

The Essentials

Why use Google docs?

Google Docs allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, drawings and presentations online. These files can be created from scratch, created from an online template, or you can upload existing files in their native format.

Every year, students, parents and teachers struggle to create and print documents with a wide range of file extensions. It causes a lot of stress when a student comes in with an assignment on a flash drive to print out but we are unable to open it because it's not Microsoft Office compatible. By using Google docs, this is no longer an issue. Almost all of the possible file formats can be uploaded to the Google docs site.

The biggest advantage to using Google Docs is that it allows you to share and collaborate your work. Just imagine having four students working on the same "PowerPoint" project. Before, that meant students had to visit each other out of school or they would create separate slides then try to merge them at school. If they create a presentation in Google Docs, all four students can work on the SAME presentation at the SAME time from DIFFERENT houses! Students can collaborate with their peers as well as teachers. They can share work with teachers to get feedback. Teachers can then monitor work being done by seeing revision made as they happen.


 

Dropbox is an online, virtual hard drive. When you register for a free account and install the program, it creates a folder on your computer. This folder is like any other folder on your system - you can store files in it, open them, save them, etc. The difference is that the items you save in that folder are being saved remotely - on the dropbox site, as well as on your computer. You can then access your files from any computer, at any time. You can also share specific files or entire folders in your dropbox with other users -- allowing you to get files to those who need them, without worrying about an email attachment being too large. The site gives 2 gigabytes free, and another 250 MB for each person who references you when they sign up - they also get an additional 250 for using the referral. The short video below explains the basics of this tool.


Why use this?  While we on 8 Gold will create many documents / assignments on Google Docs, there are times when students are more comfortable using Microsoft Office or some other program resident on their computer at home.  By saving their work in Dropbox, there's never a worry about forgetting the assignment at home - from any computer, they can log into their dropbox account and access the work.  Beyond this, Dropbox also saves all earlier versions of the file - so, if you accidentally deleted a paragraph you needed, you could just go into your Dropbox and rescue that earlier version.  On 8 Gold, we teachers use Dropbox for a number of files - including the webpage you're on right now.  By saving it in Dropbox, each of us can work on a page when we need to, and we all have access to the latest version.

Note Taking, Research, and Social Bookmarking



Delicious is a social bookmarking service. What does that mean? Think about the traditional bookmarks, which save your favorite websites in folders that you access through the menu on your web browser. Social bookmarks are saved online, so you can access them from any computer. Furthermore, you can add tags to them - key words, so that you can find what you need quickly: let's say you have 30 sites that all relate to medieval life, and you want to find the two that discuss stewards. With traditional bookmarks, you would have to look through them; with Delicious, you just search for the tag "Stewards" that you placed on them. In seconds, you have what you need. Furthermore, you can share your bookmarks with other people - and see what others have bookmarked as well. As with the other tools we've discussed here, the beauty of this is that you have access to your stuff from wherever you are - even on mobile devices.
This 8 minute video walks you through what Delicious is, what it does, and how to use it in the classroom.


Communication, Collaboration, and Presentation Tools

This Slidestaxx shows you a small selection of Web 2.0 tools available...

Prezi is a slide presentation tool - think PowerPoint - freed from the constraints of slides. You create your presentations online, without any need to install software, and save them on the site, for publishing, downloading, and embedding where you see fit. So, what's the difference between a Prezi and a PowerPoint presentation? In a Prezi, you create all your content - your "slides" on a big open canvas - you can import images, video, pdfs, or type in text... create whatever you want, and then order your creations into a presentation by simply clicking from one "slide" to the next. When presenting your slideshow, you can play the embedded videos, zoom in on specific parts of an image or slide, glide forward and backward in the presentation seamlessly. Here's a nice example of what a Prezi is, and what it can do - be sure to click on full screen mode, by scrolling over "more" beneath the presentation!