Thursday, February 3, 2011

From your mouth to God's ear

Yesterday I shared the new Google Art Project with our teachers.  It's an amazing project that came about as a result of Google giving 20% time to its employees to innovate and develop.  As we have no specialist art teachers in our primary school, it falls upon the homeroom teachers to teach and integrate art into their curriculum.  Some teachers do this through parent helpers who are themselves artists or photographers, others are able to do it through the How We Express Ourselves units of inquiry.  In any case I thought this was a great site to share with our teachers, especially as you can find amazing super high resolution images of famous works of art such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus or Starry Night by Van Gogh - the resolution is so high that you can even see and explore the individual brush strokes.  As well as this there are virtual tours around 17 of the world's most acclaimed art museums.

As it happens one of my colleagues is married to someone who works for Google .... tonight she introduced me to him.  He was very pleased that I have been promoting Google Apps for Education this year with our students and teachers and was keen to be of more help to us.  Therefore I took this opportunity to mention a "wish list" of some features and apps I would love Google to introduce at some point soon as part of their Google Apps for Education.

For example I'd love an app that would allow us to comment using video, audio or typing text on photos - something similar to VoiceThread, for example, which I have used with every grade in the school.  And I'd love a Google app that allows easy animation such as DoInk or Xtranormal.  How about a timeline app such as TimeToast or Xtimeline, or a presentation tool like Prezi Meeting, or an organiser like Spicy Nodes.  And I'd love a comic maker like Bitstrips or an app that can make interactive posters like Glogster.

But what I'd like most of all is to be able to create Blogger accounts for all my students without needing to have a mobile phone to verify the account.  Our primary students just don't have mobile phones with them in school (and I have already used up the entire quota allowed on my cell phone number).

Come on Google developers - teachers would love you to use your 20% time to develop some apps aimed specifically at our students!

Photo Credit:  Maybe it will help by Hans van Rijnberk


  1. Have you considered using to host the blogs?

  2. Hi Sacha, I have considered Wordpress but initially wanted to have the students use Blogger with their GAfE log in. However because of the cell phone issue I have only managed to get one class set up with blogs using Blogger (using my phone for verification) and the rest are using Posterous which doesn't require the cell phone verification.

  3. I second that wishlist! Would be wonderful to have the added functionality right in Google Apps and especially useful to make them friendly enough for use in schools (i.e. no phone numbers required!). is another GREAT timeline creator!

  4. I had another wish today too - to be able to try out the one of the new Chrome laptops. However I'm not sure there are any in Europe right now.