Thursday, August 26, 2010

New school year prep...

As cheesy as it sounds, when a new school year rolls around I try to make a few "new year's resolutions" for things I want to try and implement or learn during the year.  This year is no exception!  One of my pet peeves last year was technology-related, so I will try to rectify it this year with some new technology! 

My pet peeve was the following:  I have MS Office 2007 on my computer at home.  At school we have MS Office 2003.  (I'm sure you know where I'm going with this).  At the beginning of the school year issues with the .doc and the .docx extensions were a pet peeve; remembering to save as a .doc instead of .docx did not always happen at 11:30pm, which caused a few glitches in my lesson planning!  Then my peeve was with the following events that happened every time I prep'd a document at home.

1. Write new doc/file/worksheet/W.H.Y. and save to C drive.
2. Upload doc to file folder on district's web-based email program.
3. Arrive at school at 0800, login to network.
4. Wait for slow computer/network to login. (it's now 0805)
5. Open internet browser (which unfortunately was not firefox...)
6. Login to email. (it's now 0807)
7. Download doc I wrote last night.
8. Open Word and document (it's now 0809)
9. Print.
10. Run to photocopier and pray that there is one free. (it's now 0812)
11. Copy enough copies for class set.
12. Bell rings for first block.

And that was if I only had one new document.   The length of this process annoyed me, both in number of steps and time that it takes.  Yes there were a few steps I could have saved myself but for a variety of reasons did not.

So my resolution this year is to try and get onto the GoogleDocs bandwagon and see how it goes.  I started playing around with it yesterday and here is what I've figured out.
Pros: only ever have 1 version of a document, don't have to upload and download said document multiple times, don't have to open district email program, don't have to deal with incompatibilities between .docx and .doc files...
Cons: not so many formatting options, but then again, I think I spend too long on formatting anyways.  Haven't found any other cons yet.

I've written a few course outlines (well, actually, uploaded a few .docx course outlines and tweaked them a bit) to GoogleDocs and so far so good!  I particularly like the ability to insert an image from it's location on the web without having to save it to my computer first. 

Have you tried GoogleDocs?  What are the best features of it that you have found so far? Any cons to it that I haven't discovered yet?

I'll update you on how it's going once we are a few weeks into the semester...

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