As I have been preparing for back to school in recent weeks, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that all of the trusty apps that I use in the classroom have been modified, updated and in many other ways reconfigured. Now, of course apps always are being improved upon and modified as companies respond to user suggestions and requests. It does seem however that this year at back to school time, changes are everywhere and for a teacher who is busy getting ready for a new school year, learning or relearning an app due to significant changes can be somewhat overwhelming.
In some environments you can just ignore the new changes and keep doing what you’ve always done. For example, right now, I am “typing” this blog in a Google Docs because I just read about a new voice typing feature that Google has added and I had to try it out. This is a good example of a change to a tech tool that I did NOT need to implement, and probably would not have even realized that it was a new option if I hadn’t read about it on Twitter this morning. (Read more here on freetech4teachers).
By the way, voice typing in Google Docs is working really swell and could be quite a game changer for students in my high school English classes who struggle with writing. The voice to text function works really nicely and is quite powerful. In fact, it just transcribed the phone call I had with my mother so I had to do some deleting before continuing!
Another great feature that is working well so far is the addition of punctuation. You can add five or six common punctuation marks and the program takes care of them nicely. This is a nice bonus compared to voice to text that I use on my Android or iPad when I’m too lazy to type a text message.
I wasn’t planning to blog today about changes to web tools that are optional or not central to the operation of the platform. Because I got carried away with voice typing, this will be its own blog and I will write another about some of the web platforms that are more frustrating at this time of year because the interface and usage patterns are significantly different.
On a sad note, my school division would prefer that we didn’t use Google Docs, so getting this technology to students won’t be as easy as it should be. Too bad, because I was previously compelled to write about how students “get” Google Docs.