Friday, March 30, 2007

Google calendar and learning

My two boys have paper planners for school. Three weeks into any term they’re unrecognisable. They’ve been torn, dog eared, soaked, mashed, scored and written upon to such a degree that they look like pieces of abandoned litter.

Isn’t it about time that every child had a timetable and planner on the web? If we used Google calendar it would be FREE – yes FREE!

Timetable in the calendar
Simply assign an email address and password to every child, preload the calendar with school days and holidays for the year, INSET days etc, populate it with other events such as parent days, plays, sports events and so on.

Populate with curriculum and homework assignments
A further step would be to populate the calendar with curriculum descriptions (what the student will be learning in any given lesson) along with assignments (when they commence and when they’re expected to be handed in). This can be done at the start of the year or as it comes.

Manage, invite and remind
Calendars for the entire school or class can be managed by teachers. You can set event reminders for homework (how many times has your child failed to tell you about deadlines?) and emails can be sent from the calendar as reminders. Invitations can also be added, for example, to the school play etc. In one simple act we could revolutionise communication between teachers, students and parents.

What to do?
Get the school to set up a general calendar visible to all on the outside. The get the teachers to set up a calendar – this could be done for them in one batch. Then set one up for every pupil.

Then there's the whole Moodle+Google thing - that's another post!


Anonymous said...

Hi Donald,

Yes - it makes total sense. John Pederson took another approach, using Google Docs to support curriculum planning.

You can see why Google are pushing their "educators" programme:

I'm just a little anxious about putting semi-critical data on a free service that has no accountability to me... Yes, happy to use it for stuff that isn't so important, or for trying out ideas, but if it gets to a point where I'd be stuck without my data I'd want some sort of legal contract.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would agree, why not develop a open source solution for students to use, this would mean that critical/private data would be availiable to the student for no cost, however not avaliable to the 'google' community, perhaps some thought about open source communities would be prevailiant?

Anonymous said...

Agreed, privacy is an issue for individual information, but what about community calendars for groups?

I too am hesitant about not wholly owning my own information, yet there is a benefit to merging some public calendars. For example, I have an open calendar with "Elearning Events" that merges much of the trade show and conference information.

Folks seem to find value in it, as long as it doesn't become uselessly cluttered, overly biased or commercialized.

Anonymous said...

Oops, URL reference for the Elearning Events Calendar got cut-off in the previous comment, here is an equivalent TinyURL-