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Scribd - Trip Adler , Jared Friedman, Tikhon Bernstam

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This online file storage and sharing space allows you to upload Word documents, Excel files, pdfs, PowerPoint files, and other formats and keep them in a place where others (or ...more
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This online file storage and sharing space allows you to upload Word documents, Excel files, pdfs, PowerPoint files, and other formats and keep them in a place where others (or just you) can access them. Scribed provides tools to convert between file types, for example to make a Word document into a pdf (readable in Acrobat Reader on most computers) or even to convert it into a SOUND file (MP3). The sound conversion apparently takes some time, as our editors found when uploading a sample. The default set-up makes files public when you upload, so you are , in effect, "publishing" them to the web, but you also have options to make them "private," i.e. limited access via a private URL for that document, or to make them only available to a certain "group." You can create or join groups, as well. Our editors made a sample that is "private," but available via this link. The site uses FLASH, so be sure you have the plug-in.

tag(s): conversions (18)

In the Classroom

Determine whether you have the copyright to the file(s) you wish to upload. You may ONLY upload files to which you hold the rights. Locate files on your computer and upload them. (Read FAQ for file types that are permissible). Choose options for that file: tags, private/public, etc. Create groups, such as for your class or group projects. Determine rights of the groups---who uploads? Who administers the group? You can also bulk upload. There is also a "collections" feature within your account, possible for different types of work, different student authors, etc. If you have a class log, click "more options" at the left of a document display to copy code and embed the actual Scribd file in your blog---a SAFE way to share it without sending students to Scribd.

How would you use this? As a productivity tool for yourself, you can make all your own files available from any computer, so you will never say, "I left it on my desktop at home." This is handy for itinerant teachers or forgetful students. Having pdf versions of handouts available with a few clicks makes it easy to share them with students via email or links on your teacher web page.

As an instructional tool, you will first need to manage some safety issues. Scribd is a site for the general public, also the texts available can have objectionable subject matter. "Browsing" Scribd is not an option for the classroom unless they launch a Squeaky-clean education version. If more mature students want to maintain (and even share) a writing portfolio to accompany college applications or simply document their growth as a writer over time, this tool is great, It will even save "versions" of documents to show writing process. There are some other ideas in our sample document. For safety reasons, we recommend a written Scibd policy for your classroom requiring parent permission for using the site, maintaining limited access for class members of selected "collaborators," such as a partner class from another school, and strict NO BROWSING, NO COMMENTING , NO JOINING GROUPS unless they are known to the teacher. The simplest way to control this is to have all students use ONE account (that you can monitor) and create individual collections or "tag" their work with their initials or some other unique identifier. This would allow everyone to "keep" work there, so you can open drafts on a whiteboard, access writings from a few months ago for comparison side-by-side, etc.

A "possible uses" list: Share handouts or study guides (yours or student-made) Share permission forms, lab report formats, assignments, calendars, project rubrics and details, science fair documents, collaborative writing or group projects. Create an online literary magazine "dropbox." Encourage student responsibility by suggesting they maintain their own file repository on Scribd so they ALWAYS have their homework. Help students "hear" their own drafts read aloud (if the audio conversion works quickly enough). Share all lab data from a science experiment so students have a large data set to analyze. Then share their lab reports. Have students "turn in" any assignment to your group (if you and their parents think they are trustworthy on the site alone). The list goes on and on...

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