Friday, December 19, 2014

Tutorial - Improve Your Data Sharing Skill: Technology In Classrooms and/or Offices

Tutorial - Improve Your Data Sharing Skill: Technology In Classrooms and/or Offices
Data sharing is becoming an important life skill. In education, in business, in public projects, and in private projects allowing others to see, collaborate, and share your data is important for a host of reasons. This post will focus on free or inexpensive tools that allow for one form of data sharing or another.

Free Tool

Google Docs is a free Web-based application in which documents and spreadsheets can be created, edited and stored online. Files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a full-featured web browser.

Google Docs allows you to edit or share existing Microsoft Word or Excel files and Open Office files too.

To use Google Docs just login using your gmail account.  Select what type of fie you want to use by selecting the menu icon.

In the screen shot below you see a blank spreadsheet. The "title" field is in the top left corner. You can only see part of it here, but just click it to modify it.

 If you have an existing spreadsheet you want to use, click the "File" menu in top left corner and then select "Import." On the new screen that is displayed choose "upload" and a new window is displayed -  just drag your existing file onto that window.

There is no "Save" in Google Docs. When you close the window or log out your file is automatically saved.

Share your document or spreadsheet

There are three steps to sharing your document.

#1. Share your file with no ability to edit the content.
To do this click the blue "Share" button in the top right corner of the screen shot above. This will enabling sharing and provide a link to your file. Just send that link to anyone you ant to share the data with.

#2. Publish your file content to the web.
If you want to publish the content of a file to a web page or blog then this step is for you. First complete #1 above. Then, click the "File" menu and select the "Publish to the web" option that will display the screen below.

The next step is dictated by your project: how you plan to publish your file(s). For example, I recently completed publishing the inventory of a local bookstore to their web site. I am using Google Spreadsheets and you can read about it here. Your web site software or blog page will tell you the parameters. For example, if you were using a blog and wanted to embed the data of your file then in the screen above you would select "Embed" that gives you a code to place in your blog page.  Once you have selected the link or the embed option, then click the blue "Publish" button.

#3. Share your file with one or more people so then can edit and collaborate with you.

Click the "File" menu and select the "Email collaborators..." option which displays the screen below.

First you have to click the "Get sharable link" in the upper right corner. Then choose the right option of the ones displayed in "link Sharing." Under "people" on that same screen, enter email addresses of people who you want to have the access you defined above.

If you have any complex issue, use my google+ profile to send me an email. I will help you figure it out.

TWO FREE Resources: Storing/Sharing Files

One great resources that is free for 2GB of storage is SpiderOak. You install this on your computer and then the files you choose are stored on SpiderOak servers. Only you have the password and all your data is encrypted. No one will be able to hack your account unless you give them your password.

To send someone files that won't fit in gmail or yahoo, use DropBox. They have a free account and a paid account. Once you upload your file(s) to share then you are given a link to send, or DropBox will send a link when you put in the email address(es).

This post is designed as a simple tutorial on using Google Docs to create and share files. There are also two other free resources for storing/sharing files. Hopefully, this post has improved your data sharing skill. If so, consider sharing it with your colleagues and friends.

Steu Mann

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