I had my doubts. I thought we'd peaked when it came to collaborative word processing tools.
But then I watched the 1 minute video demo for TextFlow by Nordic River (would have embedded it in this blog post, but they don't offer it as one yet - hint, hint Nordic River marketing guys). My mouth dropped upon its finish. Okay, so I'm adding "parallel word processing" into my Web 2.0 lexicon. I think that, yes, we can collaborate in a similar way with Google Docs, but the fact that there is no learning curve for those you invite to collaborate, makes this a winner. You can play with a sandbox version at their site, or try out their beta which is built upon Adobe AIR. If you've taken it for a spin, what are your thoughts? A keeper in the competitive arena of webware and all things Web 2.0?
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
One of my aspirations this semester is to have students use Google Docs more so that they become comfortable with its many features. Because a large portion of my Web 2.0 class revolves around blogging, having them use GDocs to blog would seem like the most logical thing to do --if it were only capable. Gloriously, it is IF you know about a certain feature under the "Share" tab!
By choosing "Publish as web page" a person can send newly created GDoc content, pictures, hyperlinks, tables and more directly up to his/her blog. For the longest time I dismissed using this feature because my students don't use Blogger; for some reason I felt this option would only work with Google's affiliated platform. But just recently I did some testing and found that I could use this feature equally well with WordPress blogs (hosted by WordPress.com or "self-rolled, self-hosted" versions).
First, you must set up your WordPress blog so that it can engage in "remote publishing". In WordPress, go to "settings", then "Writing". Under the section titled "Remote Publishing" make sure you have turned on the check mark next to "XML-RPC". That's all you have to do to enable the blog to receive updates from a remote client, like Google Docs. Save your setting changes if need be. (Please click on each screenshot below to view in full size)
Next, Go to GDocs and create your blog post. To a user's benefit, auto save is always at work. Even the best of us are sometimes negligent in executing the famous axiom of save early, save often. Additionally, GDoc's "Check Spelling" option is pretty powerful and easy to use. Also worth mentioning are the other options under "Tools". Students can highlight a word, look for its definition or a more appropriate synonym, as well as search for images and other web articles related to the highlighted word (I've highlighted the word "updates" in the screenshots below). Perhaps you want students to substantially revise before posting. Have them print proof of their revision history to show that they've gone this extra mile and really worked hard to make their writing clearer.
When the post is really ready to make its Internet debut, click on the "Share" tab, then "Publish as web page".
Next, at the bottom of this window you'll find an option to publish your GDoc to your blog. BUT FIRST, you'll need to establish your blog settings before pushing the "post to blog" button. Click on "change your blog site settings" near the bottom.
You will now see a dialogue box called "Blog Site Settings", Select your appropriate blogging service. If you're using your own server/host with WordPress, the Blogger API works nicely. Next, you'll need to tell GDocs where the blog's xmlrpc.php file is. A helpful example can be found under the URL box (Like http://YOURSITE/PATH/TO/xmlrpc.php). Insert your User Name and Password, then test. You'll get a notification if it's connected properly or not. Click OK if successful - troubleshoot if not.
With the blog settings established, you will be back at the "Publish this document" dialogue box. Go to the bottom and now click the "Post to blog" button. You should then see a message that the document has been posted successfully to your blog (pictures, tables and all)!
Posted by JBlack at 7:43 AM