The “X” files struck our school again. It is finals week here at TGHS, and many students, though reminded multiple times, continue to bring in .docx or .pptx files and our building has not yet made the jump to Office 2008 for Mac so the visits to the tech office for conversion assistance ensue. This epidemic has inspired reflection for me on which Office suite would best serve our students (and help with the school’s budget challenges, which everyone is facing right now, no?). Some companies are switching from MS Office to the Google docs suite (e.g. TMG) and OpenOffice is a great alternative to, Zoho would be another option, though Google may be a bit more user friendly. Do our students need all of MS Office’s capabilities or would Google docs or OpenOffice be sufficient?
These reflections lead to a plug for another tool which can be great in the classroom, with an interactive whiteboard, a computer lab, or cell phones (if your students can use them academically in your buildings), and that is Poll Everywhere. Yes, there are multiple options for online voting, but this one offers great flexibility for teachers. Students could vote on an interactive whiteboard by walking up and clicking their choice, they could vote on their computers, in school or from home, or they could text in their votes. The polls are able to be embedded (see below), there is some PowerPoint interaction possible and more coming soon (a little ironic with the opening of this post), free “goal polls” (with the thermometer), and is quite user-friendly. My students used polldaddy.com for the polls on their wikis, I think I will continue to use it with students, but I really like Poll Everywhere for teachers, especially.
With that, please click here to take a one-question poll on Office suites, I am interested to see the results, and I hope you are warmer than we are (-21 degrees here this morning!!!). Happy Friday!