#18 Take a look at some online productivity (wordprocessing, spreadsheet) tools

Last week we saw how we could collaborate with others on web pages using wikis. This week we will learn how to collaborate to create text documents using the web-based applications Google Docs and Zoho Writer. Word processing applications are just one of the free applications included in Google Docs and Zoho.

If you’ve used Microsoft Office applications, you’ll find that the core features you see in Google Docs and Zoho match up surprisingly well. And, as with the other tools you’ve learned about from your Vermont’s 23 Things adventures, all you need is a web browser and an internet connection.

Using these tools and the others in this program are examples of cloud computing, a term that has recently become a media buzzword. In his “Cloud Computing for the Masses” article, Greg Cruey provides this definition: “The concept of cloud computing is one of a user sitting at a terminal taking advantage of services, storage space, and resources provided somewhere else – on another computer, through an Internet connection.”

The availability and use of free web-based online productivity applications (word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, presentations, project management, and web conferencing) has provided users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need to install applications on their computers. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death of Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree: web-based applications have their place.

One large benefit to web-based applications is that they eliminate the need to worry about different applications or software versions different people have on their local computers. Other bonuses are that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file using the “share” feature, the ability to roll back to a previous version, and they provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including .doc, .pdf and .html). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other Web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based applications so appealing.

Resources:

Exercises:

  1. Take a look at the resources listed above. Play around with several of the web-based applications. Compare features and usability.
  2. Create a free account for yourself in either Zoho Writer or Google Docs.
  3. Explore the word processing application and its features by creating a few test documents.
  4. Create a blog post about your discoveries: How does the application you chose compare to word processing software you’re familiar with? What features did you like/dislike the most? Can you think of any ways the application you chose would be useful to you?

Optional: If you’re up for the challenge, try writing your blog entry in Zoho Writer or Google Docs and then using the “publish” feature to post it to your blog. If you’re up for more challenges, try creating documents using the other applications (spreadsheets, presentations, calendars, etc…)

googledocs

OPTIONAL: If you have an e-mail address for someone else participating in Vermont’s 23 Things, invite them to read and edit your document. You do this by clicking on the Share tab.

ZOHO:

  • Watch the Zoho Tutorial
  • Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer.
  • Explore the site and create a test document or two.

OPTIONAL: If you have an e-mail address for someone else participating in Vermont’s 23 Things, invite them to read and edit your document. You do this by clicking on the Share tab.

Using these tools and the others in this program are examples of cloud computing, a term that has recently become a media buzzword. In his “Cloud Computing for the Masses” article, Greg Cruey provides this definition: “The concept of cloud computing is one of a user sitting at a terminal taking advantage of services, storage space, and resources provided somewhere else – on another computer, through an Internet connection.”
Advertisements

4 responses to “

  1. montgomerylibrary

    I could not ge the slideshow from SlideShare to run. Maybe my problem, maybe??

  2. I CANNOT GET THE GOOGLE DOC TO MY BLOG…IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?

  3. Pingback: Lesson 9: Wikis and Online Productivity Tools « Vermont’s 23 Things

  4. I found this a little tricky and yet I realize I need to learn more, probably from my cohort. We’re going to be using Google Docs in our project to establish some library curricula in our district. I had trouble with the initial writing – when I wanted to use different fonts or even different alignments, I couldn’t make those changes that you’d easily do on word processing. And yet, when I shared it with myself at my work email and edited the list, I had no problem doing it! i also wanted to try one of their templates, but couldn’t make it work. And then, as mentioned in the post below (you have to read the comments I added) I didn’t fully post it on my blog – you still have to copy and paste it to view it. Did I publish it to the world?? The help area wasn’t helpful on these basic issues. I need my support group!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s