Web 2 Anyone Can Do It


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Handout used in Web 2.0: Anyone Can Do It! presentation at 80th Alpha State Convention, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, June 12, 2009.

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Web 2 Anyone Can Do It

  1. 1. Web 2.0: Anyone Can Do It Delta Kappa Gamma Society International 80th Alpha State Convention Presented by Debbi Ball dball@esc17.net (work) espuela2@caprock-spur.com (home) Web 2.0 tools are becoming more and more available on the Internet and have developed into outstanding application packages that can be used at home, at school, and on eht ejob. The most wonderful thing about them is that THEY ARE FREE! But we realize that they are confusing and intimidating to some. The most commonly used “free” programs are those applications that provide word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, email, and time management services. Openoffice.org, Google, and ZOHO all are popular programs that can be used by anyone in any situation. Consumers are downloading these programs to use at home. Schools are using them to help with the budget crunch we all face. And businesses are using them to help cut their own costs. In addition to these common programs, there are multitudes of other services for photo/image manipulation, video editing, book publishing, web design, blogging, twittering, etc. So let’s look at just a few. It is my goal that these will tweak enough interest and help build confidence in searching for those applications that will fill your needs and keep money in your bank account. What exactly is Web 2.0? You may not even realize it, but you could very well be a part of the Web 2.0 crowd. If you have ever typed in a book review at amazon.com then you are a part of Web 2.0. Are you one that has posted a clip on a video site? What about blogging or using an online calculator. Do you have a myspace or facebook account? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you are a part of Web 2.0. The main feature of Web 2.0 is the interactivity. But there is more. Through Web 2.0 tools and resources, you have access to many free services that help you be more productive in your personal, educational, or business projects. OpenOffice Suite “OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.” (http://www.openoffice.org) Many school districts are utilizing the program to help with expenses. The Microsoft Office suite is very expensive…especially for the number of licenses required in school labs. Another problem that schools and
  2. 2. teachers are facing is providing the applications to students for their class work. Microsoft Office does offer a 60-day trial download, but obviously the time limit is a problem. Through the use of OpenOffice, students and teachers alike have open access to the programs wherever they have Internet access. It’s easy to download the OpenOffice Suite. Just go to www.openoffice.org and click on the link “I want to download OpenOffice.org.” The big green download box/button will appear. Just click again. Of course, as with any open source program, you will be asked to contribute to the program, provide reviews/feedback, etc. You should see the yellow caution bar appear at the top of your screen. Click to download the file. You have the option of running the program straight from the download or saving the downloaded executable file to your computer. I always save to my computer in a Download folder I have in My Documents on my hard drive. This way I still have the original executable file if I ever need it. Once the file has downloaded, you are ready to click on the Run button to continue loading the program onto your computer. Just following through the onscreen steps to unpack and install the files to your computer. The first time you open the program, it will take you through the registration wizard. Just follow the online steps to start using the application. At the finish of the setup, you will be given the opportunity to register your copy of OpenOffice.org online. It is not required, but registering will give you updates on new versions, additional extensions such as pdf authoring, and foreign language dictionaries. As with all application programs, openoffice provides an excellent help tool with guides and tutorials. For additional help, access your favorite search engine and look for “openoffice tutorials.”
  3. 3. If you prefer to work online rather than downloading a program to your computer, there are two excellent applications: Google and ZOHO. Google As you can see by the screen shot below, Google offers quite a few different applications. Some of the most popular are Earth, Finance, Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Gmail, Picasa, and Reader. Google Docs When you first click on the docs link, you will be directed to the Home page. On the left is a panel showing you documents that you have already created, documents that you have opened before, and documents that have been shared by someone else. Another point about Google docs: you can share your documents online. Either choose a document to open and continue working or click on the New button to create a new document. If you choose to create a new document, you have the options of creating a document, presentation, spreadsheet, form, or even a new folder. You also have the option of creating a document from a predesigned template. At this time, Google does not offer a database application. But the word is out that it is coming soon and will be called Google Base. According to some
  4. 4. reports, it was visible earlier on, but was removed from the site. If you search through Google for “google database” it comes up. Your information is stored on the google site, just like your documents and other information. Of course, this is a concern for several people. Notice in the window below that the Google doc interface looks very similar to application programs that you are familiar with. You have the usual options of setting different styles for your text, alignment, bulleted lists, numbered lists, fonts, font color, highlighting, indenting, tables, etc. Save your document and it will be available for you in the home screen. Use the save feature to save your feature online. You also have the option of downloading it to your computer in a more popular format such as a Word document, pdf file, text file, web page, or a rich text format file. Google docs gives you several options in sharing your documents: you can share the document with others online, send as an attachment in your email, or publish it as a web page. How easy is that? Notice there is also the option to preview the web page before publishing it. Google Calendar How would you like to have access to an online calendar wherever and whenever you have Internet access? Google offers an excellent online calendar for that very purpose. You can also set up your Google Calendar to automatically sync with your Outlook calendar if desired. Just choose the Calendar feature from the Google More menu and follow the steps to set up your calendar.
  5. 5. Clicking on the Settings link in the top right corner of the calendar window will allow you to personalize your calendar to fit your own needs. Other Google features Now that you have practiced with a couple of the favorites, go ahead and try out any of the others. Here is a shot of my iGoogle home page. I love it and have those features that I use the most often. Notice the weather feature, the calendar thumbnail, Date & Time feature, Gmail inbox, and Google Reader that displays my subscribed RSS feeds. You can even change the banner along the top to fit your own moods. For all the features available in Google, just click on the more option at the top of the screen.
  6. 6. ZOHO Applications “The Zoho Office Suite is a Web-based online office suite containing word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, wikis, CRM, project management, invoiceing and other applications developed by AdventNet Inc., an Indian-based company. It was launched in 2005 with a web-based word processor. Additional products, such as spreadsheets and presentations were incorporated later into Zoho. “Although some applications, such as Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects, require a fee to be used, Zoho maintains that it has a commitment to ‘maintaining a free tier of entry- level applications with free registration.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZO HO) Notice that the ZOHO writer has an export feature that allows you to save your document in a variety of popular formats including Word 07, older Word formats, web page, rich text format, and pdf.
  7. 7. Blogging “’Blog’ is an abbreviated version of quot;weblog,quot; which is a term used to describe web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects. “Many blogs focus on a particular topic, such as web design, home staging, sports, or mobile technology. Some are more eclectic, presenting links to all types of other sites. Others are more like personal journals, presenting the author's daily life and thoughts.” (http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging) The possibilities of using blogs can be endless. As the description above states, you can set up a blog as a personal journal, adding messages, trip logs, pictures, links to other sites, etc. In the classroom, teachers can incorporate blogs into their lessons as online assignments. Students can use a blog as a journal to record answers to discussion or essay questions. Collaboration can occur within the classroom or across the globe. The only problem is the filtering that occurs in schools. Google offers a popular blogging tool called Blogger at www.blogger.com. Twittering “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter)
  8. 8. I set up a twitter for this workshop to fill you in on any new information. After you have set up a twitter account for yourself, you may “request” to follow my twitter named DKGAlphaState. We will learn how to use this tool together. Sharing Your PowerPoint presentations Remember what I said earlier about us being an interrelated society? If you have a great PowerPoint presentation that you would like to share with the world, go to www.slideshare.net. There you can upload and share your presenations and Word documents and share them publicly or privately. It even allows you to add audio to make a webinar. The Web site offers a tour with complete instructions on how to start uploading your projects. Resources openoffice.org http://www.openoffice.org Tutorials for openoffice http://www.tutorialsforopenoffice.org/ ZOHO Office Suite Applications http://www.zoho.com/ Google http://www.google.com Blurb Book Publishers www.blurb.com Twitter www.twitter.com A Twitter Basics Primer http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/2009/03/05/a-twitter-use-primer/ 25+ Incredibly Useful Twitter Tools http://tinyurl.com/4legxe Free Technology for Teachers (blog) http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ http://www.teachertube.com Slide Share http://www.slideshare.net/ Google’s Blogger www.blogger.com Blog Basics http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/blog/blogbasics.cfm EduBlogs: Free blogs for teachers and students http://www.edublogs.org/ Contact Information Debbi Ball Work: Spur High School, PO Box 550, Spur, TX 79370 806-271-3385 x2005 / dball@esc17.net Home: 509 Trumbull Ave, Spur, TX 79370 806-271-3228 / espuela2@caprock-spur.com