As with many people of my generation, I’m generally self- taught when it comes to the latest and greatest technologies and innovations. I try to keep up with what my students are already using and I try to discover technologies to enhance my teaching or save me time. There are so many options out there for us to grab hold of and use that when we find something that works, is simple and can slide into our work lives easily, we tend to just go with it without thinking too much about if there is a ‘bigger picture’ to consider.
Well, this was the case when I discovered (much later than the rest of the world, I know!) Google Chrome. I just love it! Google Docs, Google Drive, the web store and all of the web apps- it has really simplified some of my most time consuming tasks. For example, I team teach a class of Year 5 students. My teaching partner and I often use common documents to record data that previously we had just emailed back and forth (from home at midnight, slaving away over an overworked laptop…). Now, we simultaneously work on the same document from our separate homes while it saves and updates in real time.
These multi-user capabilities hold huge potential for collaborations between students within classrooms all over the world. Imagine a project partner that lives in a different country! The power of the internet really is fabulous. While I’m here, let me say that I’m a huge fan of OneNote and Skydrive, which have similar capabilities, however for ease of simplicity when I’m on the net, Google’s products win out when I’m in a hurry- which is almost always.
So, when I was shown the ‘Hungry Beast- Google’ clip (attached) at a recent conference, I was forced to stop and think. What am I risking by using this product? Am I tech savvy enough to protect myself? I hope no one actually puts this to the test! Am I just falling for a big joke formulated by a ginormous corporation that really just wants to own me?
I don’t know!
When we’re sifting through all of the amazing technologies available to us, we are generally pulling them from one of the big boys- Apple, Microsoft or Google. The question I’m now asking is, when I use something of theirs, what are they taking of mine?