Zoho Writer Adds New Features That Educators Need

It’s no big secret that I have a lot of love for Zoho. Someday I would like to do a run down of all the tools that Zoho offers. That would be a huge post, or even a series of posts. Today I want to point out some new features of Zoho Writer that make it a great tool for educators – online and off-line.

The coolest news is that Zoho Writer now lets users edit documents off-line. This addresses the biggest draw back for people that weren’t sure about switching from Microsoft to any online document editor: how do you edit documents when you don’t have an Internet connection? Zoho Writer uses Google Gears to store copies of your documents on your local computer. The nice feature is that you can edit those documents and then sync them with your online documents once you go back online.

I tried this out today, and it works really nice. You edit the documents in your browser, even when off-line. Just click a link to switch from online to off-line. The only downside is that not all features are available off-line (like inserting web links or spell check). But a very nice start.

The great thing about this is that teachers wouldn’t have to worry about lost assignments. Work on papers off-line in class, sync with an online account, and students can work on them at home.

Zoho Writer has also taken online document editing to the next level by being the first to allow headers and footers in documents. This combined with a new “Page View” function (lets you see the print layout) now gives me just about every tool I ever used in MS Word.

But let’s not forget that this is all for free online. I am still pulling for someone to create a Moodle integration API.

Also, if you are interested, Zoho explained why they use AJAX instead of Flash for their applications. Good points.

Matt Crosslin

Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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