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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Using the Collaborative Power of Google Calendars

I finally got my students to begin making use of their Google Calendars this month. We set up the lesson timetables, added interesting calendars, created birthday, friend and team calendars and of course made it all look pretty with cute backgrounds. Animated backgrounds soon became the rage once we discovered we could use GIFs.

All of this was pretty powerful in itself, but then we took things a step further. We created calendars in which to place the different cultural events happening around the country, during September, El Salvador's month of Independence celebrations. The kids invited their classmates to collaborate on their calendars with them and very quickly it became clear that they would be able to get the task done with little hassle, learn about the various events happening around the country and be able to share me into their calendars so I could then print them off  and post them all over the Learning Resources Centre. I was intending to post them all over the school, but dissuaded myself from it due to point number 2 below.

There are two things that would have made this an even more powerful experience:
  1. The cool backgrounds don't transfer across, which I understand as they would overwrite the backgrounds of those who are shared in. There could however be an option to choose between backgrounds for different calendar views and printing.
  2. It would be awesome if we could print off descriptions in month mode or week mode, brief as they may be, so that people would have a better idea of what the events entail. I couldn't find a way to do this, so ours are very basic print outs.
All in all, Google Calendar is a great tool and kids as well as teachers should be encouraged to make better use of it.

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