My Google Drive FAIL

files-1633406_640.jpgThis morning, I’ve been going through my google files. What a mess! I’m a fairly organized person, but keeping up with digital papers is apparently a ridiculous task for someone who touches so many areas of the curriculum. And I’m a jack of all trades with interests in soooo many things. And this is not a problem I have with items I can hold in my hand. Those I can evaluate and toss.

When I taught math and the occasional science course, I could divide things up in courses and then units. There was overlap, but not like this. I had created an archeologist nightmare. I could dig for days to find related files in multiple folders.Virtually identical files were everywhere. Folders were in folders that were in folders. I felt like Alice exploring Wonderland looking at the baffling and unexplainable.

Some decisions have to be made. Topical, seasonal, type of lesson? What made me think I could do all three? Why do I have five copies of this same file? Is this a library skill or a literary skill? Have I ever used this? Will I ever use this? Why in the world did I keep it?

*sigh*

Well, muchis gone now – at least for this moment. But this is truly a digital problem – maybe just mine, but I suspect I’m not alone. I can easily keep it, so I do. At what point will my drive resemble the internet?

I guess I should confess I have the same problem with pictures, but that will have to be tackled another day.
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Google Power Searching Course

I meant to post this earlier and flat out forgot! Google is offering a free course on Power Searching. I just finished the first class and learned enough to make it worth my while I’m sure. I was surprised that only 10% of people use the find feature of a browser, but that’s why we learn things. If you are interested, I’ll see you on their forum.

Power Searching with Google …a short course on becoming a great internet searcher

Google Search makes it amazingly easy to find information. Come learn about the powerful advanced tools we provide to help you find just the right information when the stakes are high.

 

 

Sharing through your feed

Bill mentioned this in his collection of posts – see bottom of page. His shared google feed. Still would like to know how you got the big picture at the top???

This piqued my curiosity. I have hit the share button on my feed knowing no one would see that item because I had no idea where they’d go. Well, I found it on my google profile yesterday. Here’s mine. It’s more education than anything right now, but it is that time of year for me to uber-think about my field.

Here is how you find it if like me you didn’t / don’t have a clue. http://www.google.com/reader/shared/insert_your_user_name_here.

Now, we all subscribe to many of the same blogs, but we also subscribe to different feeds too, and I’m confident that you might share something on your feed that I’d never see on my own – something not quite worthy of posting about (or time lacking, yet) but thought provoking none-the-less. There is even a comment feature so a discussion could be held on the feed.

So, I’m asking you to think about making your shared items feed known for others to subscribe.

Google Maps Gets a (Much-Needed) URL Shortener

Great idea!

We typed an address in Manhattan to try the new feature out. With the Short URL feature turned off, our shareable URL for this address was “http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=41+11th+St,+New+York,+NY&sll=40.745612,-74.008065&sspn=0.010794,0.020707&g=41+11th+Avenue,+New+York,+NY&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=41+W+11th+St,+New+York,+10011&ll=40.734925,-73.997099&spn=0.002699,0.005177&t=h&z=18.”

Ouch! When we navigated into Labs and checked the box to enable Short URL, it became a simple “http://goo.gl/maps/2cl8.” That’s much better.

Google Maps Gets a (Much-Needed) URL Shortener.

google voice

Google VoiceSecond cool thing I’ve done today!

Here are some things you can do to get started with Google Voice:

  1. Read transcriptions of voicemails. Watch a video »
  2. Customize which phones ring. Watch a video »
  3. Personalize greetings for different callers. Watch a video »
  4. Make cheap international calls. Watch a video »
  5. Forward SMS to email. Watch a video »
  6. Share voicemails with friends. Watch a video »
  7. Block unwanted callers. Watch a video »
  8. Screen callers before answering. Watch a video »
  9. Access the mobile app on your phone. Watch a video »
  10. Conference call with co-workers. Watch a video »

Video:

Comparison of 3 Search Engines

Search topic: Interactive weather activities to use in the classroom

Compared top page of returned sites for each search engine and search

Terms & Analysis Google Search Yahoo Search Exalead
weather interactive activities

For this search, Google provided the best sites in the first few results. However, Yahoo also had some very good sites to use. Both had more useable sites on the first page. Exalead’s first link was about the only useable one.

Google returned 10 sites and was 100% weather related. Some returns were lessons, some returns were games. One site offered weather lesson power points. 10 sites were returned on Yahoo. 10 seems to be the norm. All sites were science related. One was the local interactive map for weather.com. Not what I had in mind, but still useable and did get me thinking about ways it could be effectively used. 10 sites returned on Exalead. Most were vacation packages to sunny places. One looked really promising with an ESL connection, but the link was broken. Scholastic.com’s weather page was mentioned though and it’s a good one but was also mentioned on Yahoo and Google.
weather interactive activities students

Adding the word studentsdidn’t change things much on Yahoo or Google, but it did appear to help some on Exalead – at first glance. Once I got into the sites though, I found out that it really didn’t help all that much.

All sites related in some fashion. One was a page of interactive links for teachers covering all subject areas. Science was included, but only one link pertained to weather. All the sites did have something on them that could be used for weather. Most were weather related. There were some lesson sites, and one was a technology in science site. Two of the sites got a “don’t open – malware” warning from my browser. One was a newspaper article about a classroom doing science. One was a course list for a uni. One was an ad for a book to get ready for kindergarten. One was a travel brochure. That left four sites to work with. The Sherman School district page had some good links on it.
weather online interactive activities students

Google and Yahoo returned more useable sites again.

All sites looked good at first glance. One was a premium site. One was the national science standards that included weather. They did have a popup to let a visitor know that the standards were not current. Another page I hadn’t seen anywhere else had weather activities across the elementary grade levels from Utah’s Educational Project. All sites had something useable on them. Many sites were repeats of above searches. Most of them were weather specific. A couple of the sites were science specific with weather sites and/or activities listed. This page was almost 100% what I was looking for  – again at first glance. One page got the malware warning. One page was a broken link. Some of the pages were lessons. There were two working ESL-connection pages, but they were a little skimpy on information. One page offered premium content subscription before I could get to the free stuff.

I looked for interactive science activities focused on weather. I planned to begin with broader terms and move to more specific terms for comparison of not only the search engines but also to compare the returns within each search engine.  Of the three search engines, Google and Yahoo gave consistently comparable results. Each returned ten sites that were on topic for the most part. Exalead was disappointing. I had not heard of it before but used it because it was mentioned in the “Recommended Search Engines” article from Berkeley. While the returns looked alright on the more specific searches, there were just too many broken links and malware warnings.  The sites returned within each search engine were better as the search terms became more specific. However, there were sites listed in Google and Yahoo in the broader searches that were on topic and appropriate for what I was looking for that were not returned on the top page of the more specific searches.  I normally use Google for searching, but Yahoo provided some sites not returned on Google and vice versa. I think using the two search engines together with the same search terms could be very helpful.