Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Future of the Book - not just turning pages

This presentation from IDEO considers three formats for e-reader type book presentation: Nelson, Coupland and Alice.
The current e-readers are fashioned on books - a take-anywhere book replacement. The formats discussed here really try to add value, much more than just swiping with your finger to turn the page.

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Moving calendars into Google Apps for Education

The early adopters' curse...
We have been a Google Apps for Education school since May 2006 - but we have been using Google Calendars for our school calendars well before then.
These were on private Gmail accounts, and as such could not be used with our Apps Groups system - so we decided to import these calendars to our "dash net" system (what we call Google Apps).
We set up a new calendar using a dummy user and then each calendar (Primary, Secondary and Whole School).
Exporting from the original Gmail calendars was easy. From Calendar Settings on the drop down arrow of the calendar, you press the ICAL button on the calendar address. Pressing the OK downloads a basic.ics file. This is the one you then import into the Apps calendar that you have prepared.
It was a smooth process.
Some tips:
a) keep the basic.ics file from each calendar - you then have a back-up if things go wrong;
b) restrict the old calendars to private view so that they then do not appear - there does seem to be some time lag, however, since we had some unexplainable appearances of the old calendar;
c) name your new calendar DIFFERENTLY so that you can recognise the new one from the old one, if things do not work out well (see b);
d) share using the Groups system - first signs are that the clicking on the link added the calendar - do remember that you will probably get threaded messages from your dummy user account notifying you of the new calendar and you may have to "show text" to be able to see it;
e) Macs - there seem to be some problems here - investigating these but first comments are that it was easier to add by url.
You would have thought that it would be easy to find a group calendar. Not a bit. A plea to Google - please make it easier to find group calendars within a domain! Perhaps a tab on Browse Interesting Calendars listing all the group calendars shared within the domain?
Okay - calendars out of the way, blogs next when these become part of Google Apps....

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Bill Gates on F2F or online education

Bill Gates' take on where there may be change in the future, from the Technology conference in San Francisco.
He talks about K-12 (or K-9) being a different situation from college education. In the latter, the costs of place based education is unaffordably high and could come down to $2,000 using technology.
For schools, he believes that the socialising/care roles of schools (a place for the children to be whilst the parents do other things) will not change.

Sites in Google Apps - wikis with easily managed permissions

Sites is the Google version of wikis within Google Apps for Education.
Being within the Apps domain, permissions are very easily managed. With groups of users previously set up, permissions can be set at three levels - we have called these "A", "N" and "P".
It is possible to share the site with everyone ("A" for all):
Clicking this makes that site visible to all.

If you want to restrict it to all your users in your apps domain, then there is a box to check to do that - and you can choose to allow edits or just viewing.
And finally, you can invite members of your domain to be "owners", "collaborators" or "viewers" ("P" for obvious reasons).
We have placed all our documentation on-line using sites, with permissions accordingly.
Embedding within sites works well. It is also possible to embed Google docs and forms within the site (but remember that the permissions have to match the site ones).