This Page Edited By: Amanda Harle, Sarah Quade, Rachelle Cook
What are the uses of Thinkfree? What does it do? Who uses Thinkfree?">What are the uses of Thinkfree? What does it do? Who uses Thinkfree?
Technology is growing, changing, improving, and mutating exponentially. Every year, newer, faster, more convenient versions of programs and not-so-efficient new and exciting programs emerge on the scene. Most of the technology we see go to market, especially in the Web 2.0 realm, is geared toward social interaction, online, and long-distance communication (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Millennials or digital natives (the current generation) get their hands on this technology and learn to use it with furor and frenzy. Thus the question is raised, "Is it possible to format and use such technologies as a means to an educational end?" The answer, as research has shown is, "yes!"
Thinkfree is one of these technologies with outstanding educational possibilities. With a social connectivity component as well as an online office component, Thinkfree holds great promise and opportunity for the educational community. It would allow both teachers and students to form a global community in which they can collaborate with one another as we have in this project, share ideas, lesson plans, advice, complete projects of various types, all the while learning in the process.
Thinkfree is a program that was created to make it easy to create and share word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and reviews. Its main goal is to provide service that can only be described as both limitless and safe. The program connects both online and offline endeavors and keeps everything organized with a separate work space and office space. It aims to provide users with access from anywhere a stable and helpful connection with others around the world.
Thinkfree is a FREE online program, created in March of 1998, currently headed by Su-Jim Kim, that allows users to create new word documents in their word processor, Write, presentations in Show, spreadsheets in Calc, and write reviews/blogs using Note, that can be shared with anyone who has internet access and a Thinkfree account. Via email, creators of such documents have presently been able to share, but Thinkfree expedites the process, making it more efficient, by cutting out the middle man. No longer is there need to attach the document and send it through email, risking that the person chosen to give feedback will not be able to view the document due to operating system incompatibility or the incompatibility of the particular version of the program they will be using, such as Microsoft 2007 and Microsoft 2010. Users of Thinkfree, once they've created their contact list, can share their document/presentation with more ease and efficiency. All they have to do is select the members with whom they would like to share, and with one more click their contacts are notified and documents are ready to be viewed.
Established on : 3/27/98
CEO: Su-Jin Kim
Korea Office: 8th, Prime center, Guui-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Korea
US Office: 5201 Great America Parkway Suite 320 Santa Clara, CA 95054²
I. History">I. History
I.1 Development">I.1 Development
I.2 How Does Thinkfree Work?">I.2 How Does Thinkfree Work?
Thinkfree allows other users to provide feedback on/edit shared work. The viewers chosen to view the created documents are notified by Thinkfree that the document has been shared with them and then are given the opportunity to add to, subtract from, and comment on the work. All changes made are kept track of and the creator of the document then has the choice of whether or not to keep the changes. All the documents that have been created and shared are located on the individual's Thinkfree homepage which includes a "Workspace" that holds all of the ongoing projects, and a "My Office Space" for all of the finished and stored files. All of the stored files are protected behind the Thinkfree firewall at all times, making this online office suite one safe place. Another exciting feature is the "Dashboard" within the Workspace that allows users to plan out and detail the tasks and process of the projects being created. Students and teachers can do all of their pre-planning right on Thinkfree and easily move between the planning and the project/lesson plan they are creating. With all of these unique features and the extensive compatibility Thinkfree shares with the Microsoft Office Suite and virtually any operating system, Thinkfree offers endless possibilities for use in the educational realm.
I.3 Getting More out of the Application">I.3 Getting More out of the Application
There is also a program in Thinkfree called "Note" that allows you to make notes in a blank document form as well as offers formats for reviewing books, movies, etc. This could be a huge tool for teachers to allow their parents to be more easily involved in their student's educational lives from anywhere. If both the teacher and the parents of the student have access and are users of Thinkfree, teachers could easily give parents reviews, summaries, etc. on books to be read or films to be watched in class. This would allow parents and students to have a better and more open path of communication. Instead of the parent asking the child what they did in school and how it went, inevitably to hear the response, "fine." Parents would know exactly what was discussed in class and have a better opportunity to ask more specific questions, which would hopefully be answered more specifically.
II. How Thinkfree Relates to Other Applications">II. How Thinkfree Relates to Other Applications
II.1 How to Join">II.1 How to Join
Thinkfree is a new Web 2.0 technology that offers possibilities that a teacher would definitely want to put to use in my classroom. This section will walk you through how it works and where to get started. Thinkfree, simply put, is at its base an online Microsoft Office that teachers, students, or anyone can use to share ideas and questions.
To get started,http://www.thinkfree.com/
This is where users can create an account. After the account is created, an email is sent to the users email account to confirm the membership. Once the membership is validated through an email, users can log in. After the user has logged in with the username and password, the user is asked whether or not to download the desk-top version of Thinkfree. In order for the user to download the desk-top version, the user must be an administrator on the account. This would be a problem for teachers who want to use the program at school or their students who wish to use it in a computer lab. So, conveniently, the user is given the second choice of working on the web, the user would then choose to work on the web and will be taken to the workspace. From here, users can locate fellow users, say in the educational community (whether their own school corporation, around the state, country, or even around the world), create documents, and share them with other users. In order to locate, invite friends to use Thinkfree, or locate and "friend" other users, Thinkfree connects with the users email account formulates a contact list that is located conveniently on the users' Workspace.
-To watch a video about the basics of Thinkfree visit:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFvyuPan6Yhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFvyuPan6Y
-To watch a video about messaging collaborators on Thinkfree My Office visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeCePEgr428
-To watch a video about the Thinkfree Worspace visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBolnDku7Dw
To use one of the programs, users must merely click on whichever program they wish to use. The word processor Write, looks so much like Microsoft Word in formatting, color, and organization that avid Word users will have little trouble adjusting. This also goes for the presentation program, Show, and the spreadsheet program, Calc. After clicking on the program, using the program functions so much like the Microsoft Office Suite it hardly warrants explanation. Write contains all of the trappings of Word, including clip art, word art, the ability to insert tables, and all of those other details that make Word so creativity-friendly and fun to use. The same goes for Calc and Show. In Calc, users can manipulate data exactly in the same way they manipulate data in Excel. They can create graphs and charts in exactly the same way. In Show, users can create presentations just like in PowerPoint and can even include sounds and videos.
After the document, spreadsheet, or presentation is created, all the user has to do is click the little disk to save it. The document will then be saved into the WebTop folder and the user will have access from anywhere he/she is able to get internet access! Even more excitingly, not only will the user have access to the document, but so will anyone and everyone he/shechoosesto have access to it! Thinkfree also contains a function that allows users to export files to pdf as well as publish them to the open and public web.
If for some reason the user does not have access to the web but does have access to the Microsoft Office Suite, he/she can create the desired document and then easily upload the file to his/her workspace by using the "Upload" feature found there. Another unique feature of Thinkfree, is that it allows the user's "friends" to view the progress on his/her project. By using the Workspace "Dashboard" feature, users are able to describe the project, the tasks to be completed during the project, progress made so far, issues with the project, etc.
After the user has created the document and is ready to share it, all that needs to be done is to select those contacts with which the user would like to share the document and invite them to view it. From there, those viewers who were invited will be notified by email that they've been invited to use the document. When they open the document, they are able to read and edit the text. The creator of the document will then be made aware of the changes. This is perfect for sharing lesson plan suggestions and collaborating with teachers to adapt lesson plans.
- To watch a video on how to share a document visit: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7no-kdJBwqg|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7no-kdJBwqg]
Step-by-Step Instructions For Getting Started -
This is a link to another page that contains condensed step-by-step instructions that will help you to begin and employ use of the program with both speed and ease.
II.2 Comparison to Competitors">II.2 Comparison to Competitors
Supported Operating Systems
Write, Calc, Show
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, Ubuntu
Thinkfree Mobile Office
Write, Calc, Show
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X
Thinkfree Office Server Standard
Write, Calc, Show
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, Mac OS
Thinkfree Conversion Server
Write, Calc, Show
Thinkfree is part of a variety of programs that all basically compete with Microsoft and utilize unique features or build upon what has been proven to work efficiently. There are three types of office software; offline (ex. Microsoft Office), hybrid (ex. Microsoft Office Live), and online (Thinkfree, Google Docs). Thinkfree attempts to make itself a hybrid, though, since it can be downloaded for use offline. The attempt to make office software on par with Microsoft available everywhere is the main goal of Thinkfree. It should not be thought that usage is strictly kept in the U.S, in fact, Thinkfree is probably more popular outside of the U.S. 6
II.3 Unique Uses">II.3 Unique Uses
Thinkfree can be accessed from ANYwhere. This was one of the main reasons that motivated the creation the program.
Yes, Thinkfree can be accessed from anywhere. Such as your a computer, laptop, cell phone or any other mobile device. Thinkfree is now available for the iPhone so that users can access their documents, presentations, and/or spreadsheets while on the go. 4
One of the many unique attributes of Thinkfree is that it encourages its users to collaborate with one another. This is an awesome advantage, offering a plethora of possibilities for its use in the classroom. Thinkfree users can post a document, spreadsheet, or presentation on Thinkfree and other Thinkfree users can suggest, comment on, and/or edit their work. This offers incredible advantages to teachers who would like feedback on their lesson plans as well as teachers who are seeking advice on the myriad challenges that occur in the class room. For example, say a first grade teacher from Indiana posts a lesson plan on Thinkfree in order to share it with the educational community. Now let's say one of her friends from college who is another first grade teacher from California, or any other state for that matter, is looking for something new to incorporate in their classroom. If the Californian is chosen to view documents posted by the teacher in Indiana, the Thinkfree user from California can get brand new ideas for his or her classroom from the Thinkfree user from Indiana. Not only can teachers share lesson plans and instructional ideas, but they can discuss classroom issues that no one in their corporation has been exposed to with teachers who have. For example, if a teacher in an extremely rural school and community doesn't have much experience with physically or learning disabled children and has a student who is print disabled for the first time this year, the instructor is able to, through, Thinkfree talk with other teachers he/she has made contact with on Thinkfree to get advice on how he/she can improve and adapt the learning environment to make this student's learning experience the best that it can be.
Thinkfree also has multi-language support meaning that international communication and use is made easier and more accessible. Thinkfree Office is an economical alternate to Microsoft Office, and as we've discussed previously, compatible with several different operating systems including Mac and Linux. Thinkfree Office is created to look, feel, and operate just like Microsoft Office making the transition in use quite simple and anxiety free. Users aren't required to learn how to navigate or operate Write, Show, Calc, and Note because the function just like their counterparts in the Office Suite. 5
III. Real World Application">III. Real World Application
">1. Educational Lesson Plans
Description: This is a lesson plan for the subject area of Science, it will focus on learning about Photosynthesis.
Objective: The objective is the students will learn to work together and to use technology as a way to get their ideas across.
Description: This lesson plan is for an elementary music class using the Thinkfree application.
Objective: To get students understanding emotions through music, using specific applications to optimize learning.
DOCX: Inspirational Music.docx
Description: This is a lesson plan for the course, Orientation to Life and Careers.
Objective: The students will be able to discuss stereotypes and biases after watching a video on gender equity.
">2. Mobile Applications
ThinkFree offers mobile applications for iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile phones.
The iPhone application is free and be downloaded in the App Store. It allows you to view the documents you have stored in your "My Office" from your iPhone. To see how to use this application on your iPhone, follow this link: http://member.thinkfree.com/member/goAboutService.action?page=iphone
The Android application is also free is able to be downloaded in the Market. It is called ThinkFree Office. It provides a great smartphone office environment. You can view and manage your documents in "My Office." You can share your documents with others from your Android phone. You can upload documents created on your Android phone to your "My Office." And you can manage all of your documents in Google Docs also. To see how to use this application on your Android phone, follow this link: http://member.thinkfree.com/member/goAboutService.action?page=iphone
The Windows Mobile application is a client software. It is a free download also. You can view and manage your documents in "My Office." You can share your documents with others from your Windows phone. You can upload documents created on your Windows phone to your "My Office." And you read the documents saved in "My Office" just as the original through image conversion. To see how to use this application on your Windows phone, follow this link: http://member.thinkfree.com/member/goAboutService.action?
ThinkFree offers a Twitter and Facebook page to follow them on.ThinkFree's Twitter page talks about all of their updates, and everything going on with ThinkFree. To follow ThinkFree on Twitter, follow this link: [\*http://twitter.com/#\!/thinkfree*\ (http://twitter.com/#!/thinkfreeThinkFree's)]
ThinkFree's Facebook page gives their company information. It says when it was founded, and what is about. It also gives you the option to buy other versions of ThinkFree. Their Facebook has pictures to demonstrate how ThinkFree is used too. It also gives all the links to their YouTube videos with demonstrations for ThinkFree. This is a very handy tool! Follow this link to go to ThinkFree's Facebook page: [http://www.facebook.com/thinkfree (http://www.facebook.com/thinkfree?sk=wall<font color=)]
IV. Demonstration of Educational Value\\">IV. Demonstration of Educational Value
As has been discussed, Thinkfree is extremely compatible with Microsoft Office and pretty much any operating system currently known to man. This makes it extremely easy for Thinkfree to function in the way that all of the Office programs work. Audio and video can be used in the presentation software, just like PowerPoint, all of the editing done in Word can be done through Thinkfree, and data can be easily manipulated and formed into graphs and other presentable and visually pleasing and quantifiable ways using its companion to Microsoft Excel. We're still not sure if/how video conferences would work or if they're even possible, which would be something to find out, but we do know that Thinkfree can be accessed from anywhere you have internet, this includes your smartphone. This is perfect for people who are on the go, constantly busy, and who often work in different environments (like teachers!). This section will provide some insights on how to integrate Thinkfree into the class room and provide some examples of lesson plans for each grade-level that have been adapted to make use of this exciting new technology. Attached to this page are four examples of how Thinkfree can be integrated into virtually any lesson plan for any grade level. There is a lesson plan for elementary education, secondary education (high school and middle school), post-secondary education, and post-baccalaureate education. Each of these lesson plans have been adapted to use Thinkfree and can easily be adapted for other grade levels as well.
It's hard for me to imagine kindergarten to second grade elementary students technologically advanced enough to use this technology, but with more and more advances in technology and kids' exposure to it at younger ages all of the time, I suppose it's not completely unfeasible. I can certainly see how awesome it could be for teachers to be able to share their lesson plans and give each other advice in a fast and convenient form. However, I can also see third through fifth grade elementary students working on a text book chapter of their own on such topics as "Animals at the Zoo" or "Birds of the Air," with the help of the teacher. Also, in the process of discovering their own surroundings and thinking about their own communities, the opportunity exists for their exposure to other cultures and histories.
One of the hugethings Thinkfree opens up is the path of communication by way of the internet. This is huge for high schools and middle schools, whether in foreign language classes, chemistry labs, biology labs, language arts classes, history classes, you name it, the possibilities are immense.
If a chemistry class wanted to perform a certain lab to determine what a carbon footprint is like in different areas or water purity or air purity, etc., the classes could pair and collaborate with chemistry classes around the world. Each class could collect their own data and use Thinkfree to manipulate it and report their results. They each then could upload their data the same way, and all of a sudden, without having to go there and take the data themselves, the class has results for several different areas and not just their own.
If a biology class wanted to study an animal that isn't native to their particular part of the world, the same could be done, video could be uploaded into the presentation portion of the program along with pictures, the sound the animal makes, pictures and detailings of its habitat, etc. No corner of the world would be inaccessible as long as there was an internet connection.
Foreign language classes (including ASL) could practice their writing, grammar, speaking, knowledge of the culture by communicating with native speakers of the specific language they were studying using Thinkfree and the different programs available. Videos, audio, word documents, all of these could greatly increase the students' knowledge of the culture and the language they had been studying.
English and History classes could do the same. Digital collaboration could occur with other students living in the area where that particular historical event occurred, the author lived, where the book is set, where it was written and published, etc.
As far as we can see, the sky is the limit here.
College or Post-Secondary">College or Post-Secondary
It is easy to see how Thinkfree could be used to do group assignments, especially in the realm of busy college schedules. Thinkfree is an awesome forum for group collaboration in the midst of everyday life, and one can certainly imagine how even this group project could be completed in Thinkfree instead of Confluence. If there is no time for students to get together outside of classes, whether it is a group paper, lab report, or presentation, each student would have access to the project through the web with Thinkfree. An outline could be created in a Microsoft Word compatible format which could also be used for any group paper, there is data manipulation possibilities that are compatible with Microsoft Excel, and presentation possibilities compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint. Everything would be available right there on the internet which students have access to virtually anywhere! Each student could complete their portion of the project and share it with the other members of their group so they could add their portions and so on.
Distance education has become a huge asset to those who have already completed their college career, have entered the work force and gotten their "real" career underway, but have decided to go back for more education in their field. Thinkfree seems to me to be hugely comparable to spaces like BlackBoard that are already used in this format. Students undertaking this type of distance education would have access to other students like themselves in classes similar to theirs (not only through their certain school, college, or university, but all over the world). Thinkfree would again be able to create an digital campus community through which students could submit their assignments, perform interviews for necessary assignments with students all over the world, and be able to submit their work on a user-friendly easily accessible web platform.
As we've all noticed from the research that has been done, Thinkfree is extremely compatible with Microsoft Office and pretty much any operating system currently known to man. This makes it extremely easy for it to function in the way that all of the Office programs work. Audio and video can be used in the presentation software, just like PowerPoint, all of the editing done in Word can be done through Thinkfree, and data can be easily manipulated and formed into graphs and other presentable, visually pleasing, and quantifiable ways using its companion to Microsoft Word. An added feature Thinkfree contains, is the ability to save documents in .pdf format, a fairly useful addition.
V. How Thinkfree is Used Internationally">V. How Thinkfree is Used Internationally
Thinkfree is a great program for international and global communication. First of all, Thinkfree has multi-language support, allowing communication and use of the program to be as easy and efficient for both sides as possible. Now, you may want to know how Thinkfree can be used internationally and within the lines of education. Well let's start out with a simple high school Spanish class. The Spanish teacher wants to give the students a cultural lesson in the near future. With Thinkfree she can put together a simple Spanish cultural lesson plan. Now, in Mexico, a native Spanish-speaking English teacher, who is also a Thinkfree user, happens to notice the high school teacher's lesson plan and has some ideas, pictures and even a few basic lesson plan ideas for the teacher. Through Thinkfree, the teacher in Mexico can communicate, suggest, and even assist the high school teacher from America.
The possibilities don't stop here. With the presentation software, Show, Thinkfree users can upload videos. In the example of the collaborative Spanish and English teachers, each class could make a video about the differences and similarities of their two cultures. In each case, the class would be practicing the use of their non-native language, simultaneously learning more about the intricacies of their own culture, the other culture, and the difficulties and rewards of cross-cultural communication.
VI. Potential Issues With Thinkfree">VI. Potential Issues With Thinkfree
While Thinkfree has been shown throughout this chapter to be a boon to the educational community and process, there are, as with all technology, potential problems and draw backs. Thinkfree is Java run and operated, and while it still holds that its compatibility with Microsoft Word and multiple operating systems makes it extremely easy to use, some users might have problems with its efficiency. Because it is run by Java, Thinkfree often seems slower than its desktop counterparts. It is not so slow that one feels they are using dial up; however, it is a bit slower than the instant loading and fast working internet to which we have all become accustom. Certainly as it is changed and more updates and changes are made to the program, it will undoubtedly become faster and faster, but for now, it runs just a bit slow. While some might find this frustrating, I think that it is evidence of how technologically accustom we have all grown to faster than fast service, and am undoubtedly sure that its speed will improve, like everything else, over time.
VII. References">VII. References
1.) Thinkfree, Corp. (2008). Retrieved October 30, 2008, from http://www.thinkfree.com/
2.) Thinkfree, Corp. (2008). Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://company.thinkfree.com/views/jsp/user/company/partners.jsp
3.) Thinkfree, Corp. (2008). Retrieved November 2, 2008, from http://www.thinkfree.com/
4.) Thinkfree, Corp. (2008). Retrieved October 30, 2008, from http://product.thinkfree.com/mobile
5.) Thinkfree, Corp. (2008). Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://showfx1.thinkfreedocs.com:8080/ShowFX/sfx.jsp?url=http://docs.thinkfree.com/tools/doc_location.php?dsn=844827
6.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://macworld.com/article/49095/2006/01/thinkfreeoffice30.html
7.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://member.thinkfree.com/member/sign_in.action
8.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Retrieved November 6, 2008, from http://showfx1.thinkfreedocs.com:8080/ShowFX/sfx.jsp?url=http://docs.thinkfree.com/tools/doc_location.php?dsn=844827
9.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Retrieved October 30, 2008, from http://www.thinkfree.com/
10.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Retrieved November 2, 2008, from http://member.thinkfree.com/member/goMyHome.action
11.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://product.thinkfree.com/mobile/mid
12.) Thinkfree, Corp (2008). Write [computer software]. Available from http://www.thinkfree.com/
13.) Silvestri, Christine. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.lessonplanspage.com/
14.) Anderson, John. Retrived November 3, 2008, from http://www.lessonplanspage.com/
15.) Baur-Zingg, S. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.lessonplanspage.com/
16.) TeacherVision. Excerpted from English Teacher's Great Books Activities Kit. Retrieved October 30, 2008, from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/reading/lesson-plan/5173.html?detoured=1
For more information on what you've just read in this chapter, you can visit:
- http://www.thinkfree.com/and examine any of the informational links they provide on the web site
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFvyuPan6Y a video about Thinkfree's basics
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv8WdKeYdDg how to use "My Tags"
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GQnwqdVeyU how to publish a document using Thinkfree
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7no-kdJBwqg how to share a document using Thinkfree