During the summer break I had the opportunity to teach a bunch of young people about becoming a webmaster and its basic skills of html and design concepts. The venue was new ex youth centre building that had an IT lab with a mix of mac’s and Windows laptops. There was wi-fi and excellent internet connection to all computer systems so that was not the problem.
“Panic or maybe not…”
There were number of things that made me nervous there was no room to project inside the IT lab, no web design software on any of the computers for me to use so it helps them in the process. I decided to see if i could use the web (cloud power) as my huge software bank to do everything online without installing or downloading anything to reduce the hassle of students finding it difficult move from one system to another.
I must say my first full experience of Mac that i had to use throughout the day to work on… whilst also using my windows laptop made it first frustrating but slowly got the hang of it to the point when end of the two-weeks I was going to missing doing things differently like on Mac’s taking screenshot of the screen – it saved automatically onto the desktop straight away without extra work as a jpg. (nudge-nudge:windows should have that as a feature in-built).
I used the following tools…
Projector – Cloud based Screen sharing service: join.me
To help save time, effort (to many things to mange when tutoring for the first time) and reduce the heat in the IT lab I decided to go against a projector set up inside, instead i used join.me to project aka share my presentation on the Mac’s and Windows notebooks, desktops and devices with ease though don’t show a video it won’t good as a projector. Though demonstration of steps while allowing them to do it on their individual systems made the whole process a bliss.
Painting/Photography editing tool – Cloud based paint application that did not require registration and was fully featured.
I wanted to give all my students all the tools they could have at hand with ease without the need of it being inconsistent due to the platforms or devices being different so I choose to use Sumo Paint equivalent to Photoshop/paint etc. for all the image editing needs or creation.
Storage solution – Cloud based storage system that was backup of my USB memory stick come the worst when a USB port not working or forgotten.
I stored all my files on a combination never all on one solution – a mix of Dropbox, Box, and Windows Live SkyDrive due to my WP7 Phone. All of them provide a free offering and easy to register and get going.
Plain Text HTML editor – Cloud based version of simple Dreamweaver or Notepad to write HTML.
This was for me the most important as after teaching the student basic principles and foundations of web development and gave them a taste of using ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) platform like Google Sites it was important they got the raw coding skills done with ease like they did when using Google Sites Platform without coding involved so they are not put off by it.
I choose to use webs.com as it was where I first started my first website creation using a template and tweaking it but I knew that can downgrade the account to HTML only bypassing the templates. It did have some limitation as new account user when first sign up with them for few days to stop in-proper use but it did the job allowing the student build hand coded sites from scratch.
There are lots of tools out there and I am sure there are specialist cloud based tools/services. Especially useful for university assignment is Harvard Referencing . Did you find a cloud based tool/service that we have not mention on here, that you think is worthy to be mentioned than comment below.