Google Tools

1. Reader (RSS Feed Reader)
2. Blogger (Blog)
3. Docs (Collaborative Office-like products: word, excel, powerpoint)
4. Groups
5. iGoogle
6. Page Creator
7. Notebook (suggest using Trailfire with this)


Google Reader (RSS Feed Reader)

In the past, a person's professional learning environment (PLE) was built around formal course work, conferences, workshops, literature, and possibly a list-serv or two. Today, technology has flattened the world allowing for a richer PLE and PLN: management of time that is efficient and effective, connection to a global network of learners, access to informal and formal learning opportunities 24/7, and production of diverse, interactive content.

One such transformative technologies is an RSS Feed Reader like Blog lines and Google Reader.

RSS in Plain English

What does it mean to you? First and foremost, it allows you to manage the forest of information in a more efficient and effective way. By developing and implementing the use of a tool like Google Reader, you will have created an access point to the latest information from the various sites on the Web you find valuable. Just as important though, it gives you access to a global network.

Examples of Sites with RSS
  1. News(New York Times, Chicago Tribune, ESPN)
  2. Professional Magazines and Journals (Education Week, Teacher Magazine,
  3. Conferences (K12 Online Conference)
  4. Authors (Dan Pink)
  5. Blogs (Math Blogs)
  6. Wikis (All School Workshop)
  7. Google and Yahoo Searches (RSS for Top 10 list for any search)
  8. Google News Search (RSS for search within news sites)
  9. Google Blog Search (RSS for search within blogs)
  10. Anything you want!

Getting Setup with Google Reader
There are numerous Feed Readers (aggregators) available but I happen to use Google Reader, second only in popularity to Bloglines. For many reasons, Google is my choice but here are two primary reasons: iGoogle Homepage and all in one.

  1. Go to Google Reader
  2. Click Create an Account now on the right side. By signing up for a Google account, you now have access to all of Google Services using an active email account and a password you provide.
  3. After your site has been created, you'll now have access to Google Reader and any other

Google Blogger (Blog)

Google Docs

One of the most powerful tools Google offers is Google Docs. Not only does it give access to Office-like products, it provides for a collaborative environment accessible anywhere at anytime by anyone.

Getting Setup with Google Docs (Handout)

  1. Go to Google and login in the upper right corner
  2. Once logged in, click More at the top of the page and scroll down to Docs
  3. Begin using Google Docs!

Google Groups

While the concept of a discussion board has been around for quite some time, it is often overlooked. However, Google Groups offers a great opportunity to utilize this communication and collaboration tool efficiently and effectively.

Getting Setup with Google Groups (Handout)
  1. Go to Google and login in the upper right corner
  2. Once logged in, click More at the top of the page and scroll down to Groups
  3. Select Create a New Group
  4. Fill in the fields --> Pay close attention to Access Level
  5. Begin using Google Groups!


iGoogle is a central location for all of your Google Tools plus other Widgets you would like to add. Don't confuse it with these other tools. Yes, these can be added to your iGoogle page as a widget but iGoogle is not the tool itself. However, there are some great advantages to using iGoogle:

1. Time Management
2. A Central location for all tools
3. The ability to create various iGoogle pages using the Tab function -- these tabs can be shared with anyone using emails.
4. Extremely easy to use!!!

Getting Setup with iGoogle
  1. Go to Google and login in the upper right corner
  2. Once logged in, click iGoogle in the upper right hand corner
  3. The first time using it, generic content is added. Don't worry about this. Click the things you want and save
  4. Take a look at your page and delete any widget you deem not fit, move widgets to the location you feel most comfortable, and click Add Stuff for a large list of widgets
  5. Enjoy!