Sharing documents

Our computer network allows us to share documents more easily than ever before. This is because of innovations on the web and also the way that documents are created using applications such as Word. If you are interested in creating documents for sharing, consider the information below.

What type of document are you creating?

When communicating, we can currently choose from a range of presentation types from written text to video. The decision about which one will be the most appropriate comes down to the nature of the information and the size of the document you want to create.

Sizewise, the continuum goes from all text being the smallest, then text with some pictures, then mainly pictures, then audio and the biggest by far is video.This is an important consideration when creating documents as small documents can easily be shared over the web while larger ones may not even fit on a memory stick.

As a result, use a less is more approach. Think about what you really have to say and then decide the bast way to communicate it. If you have a lot to say, write it. If writing doesn’t suit your purpose you might need to make a series of short audio or video ‘episodes’ to convey your message as these can be more easily transferred from place to place.

While all of these documents can be shared using eWorkspace, you can also consider the following sites to share documents with your students or colleagues.

Sharing text or text + images

Text documents and PowerPoint presentations can be shared using the Publications Area of eWorkSpace. For more information on how to put stuff there, check out this post.

Google Docs allows you to import or create documents to share on the web. This means that they can be accessed by anyone (that you give access to the document), anywhere (that there is an internet connection) at anytime (ummm…yeah).

Google Docs has a Word type word processor and a PowerPoint type presentation maker but both of these have reduced functionality when compared to the MS versions. This impacts what they can do when you create the document in Google Docs and also which functions (templates, themes) they support when you import documents. What your documents may lack in pretty, however, they make up in accessibility.

Google Docs docs can be shared via a URL or embedded into many other types of web2 tools such as blogs and wikis by using the Share drop down menu at the top right-hand side of the screen. Say goodbye to memory sticks, not having the file to print, fax machines…

For some examples of documents that I have created or added to Google Docs, click here, here and here.

This will be much easier once we all have accounts through Google for our email but to use Google Docs, simply follow this link and create an account. The rest is pretty straightforward. Once you have created documents, you can determine who can see and edit them using the share button but remember, we should not be sharing publicly anything that identifies our students by name or any images of them (unless we have adequate consent.

Sharing images

Images can be shared through the Gallery section of eWorkSpace (I haven’t done a post on that yet). If you are looking for another avenue to share images, see below.

In order to share an individual image, just upload it to any number of sites custom-made for doing just that. You could create an account on flickr for example or, if you have a Twitter account, you could put it up on yfrog (pronounced like y’mum I guess…).

If you want to share a series of images, you could put them into a PowerPoint Presentation and share it through the Publications Area of eWorkSpace or create one using Google Docs

Sharing Audio

eWorkSpace has a function that plays mp3s using a quicktime player automatically. Students can listen to and/or download audio files depending on how you share them.

If you put it in the Media Gallery section, the students will be able to listen to it in the player that opens when they click the file’s icon (not link) but, when you use this feature, there is no opportunity for the student to download the file.

If you put it in the publications area, on the other hand, they can listen to it by clicking the file name (there is no icon) and download it by checking the box and clicking the Download Checked Files link. This will download it as a zip file so they will have to unzip it before they can put it onto their music playing device (iPod).

You can also post it elsewhere online and put a link to it from eWS (in a blog post for example). I have used posterous (although podomatic are pretty big too) for this and it seems pretty usable. For details about this and getting the recorder and downloading the necessary software, see this post: https://timthelibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/podcasting/

Sharing Video

Sharing video using eWS is much the same as audio (see above). Both using the Publication Area and the Media Gallery will launch a player that plays your video but only the Publication Area will allow you to download the video (as a zip file). I do warn you, though, that it is a bit crashy so make sure that you save anything you have open before you attempt this and give it a couple of goes as it may not work the first time.

NB: I have only tried this with .avi format video recorded from the Canon Digital camera from the library and edited using Movie Maker.

If you would rather share videos online, see this post: https://timthelibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/uploading-videos-to-youtube-etc/

The salient points

Text is small, images are bigger, audio is large and video is massive so if you want to share these over the network or internet, consider how the size of your document will affect its sharability.

…and…

We do not have permission to publish information about our students or images of them online.

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About timthelibrarian

Tim Harwood is a Teacher Librarian and eLearning enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Audio, eWorkspace, Google Docs, Images, Media Gallery, Publication Area, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

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