Digital Documents, Part 1

For me publishing my documents (tutorials, rubrics, study sheets, etc.) on the Internet solves many problems.  It saves paper, saves time (no more class time to hand out), allows me to easily share the documents with students and teachers (even if they are 1,000 miles away from me!), it gives me a place to store and organize my files where I can access them anywhere/anytime (such a bonus) and it doesn't require a user to download the file, they can view it right from their browser.   There are quite a few places online you can go to create and share your documents.  I spent some time playing around with three FREE popular possibilities and compared them for you.  So, take a look and try them out, getting your "stuff" online has never been easier.

Below is a quick summary of the pros/cons of each and my personal verdict :-)  If you want to see my more "in-depth" info, check this out or this one.

Examples of what documents look like "embedded" are here.

scribd (
Pros: easy upload, intuitive - big buttons, great organization features, can download, unique URL for sharing all documents (mine).
Cons: ads, can't upload images (unless they are in a document)
Verdict: I really like this one.  Fast and easy to use.  Embed is simple and functional.

issuu (
Pros: no ads, can download, very visual, simple URL for sharing all documents (see mine)
Cons: no excel, no images (except in document), navigation is a bit clumsy until you get used to it, more required fields on upload.
Verdict: I like the visual aspects of issuu, but I wish it were a bit simpler.

Google Docs (
Pros: allows you to create & edit documents, RSS feed available on documents, users can collaborate on documents
Cons: only presentations can be embedded, sharing is complicated
Verdict: Not really a document sharing application, more of a replacement for MS Word. It rocks but not so much for this...

We need to share what we create, these applications make this easy and a "no-brainer"... share with students, colleagues, parents, whomever, it will help you reach your teaching objectives.

Don't forget... students can get their own accounts (ask your parents first, kids) and then they can share their work with teachers and other students... dare I say build an online portfolio... :-)

One final thought, a Fujitsu ScanSnap (I've got the S510... new version is S1500) will allow you to quickly get your non-digital documents (i.e. paper) converted to PDF and capable of being uploaded and shared.  Additionally, with a scanner like this you can put all your hand drawn scribbles online too.