What are other teachers doing with technology in the classroom?
- My teaching partner uses Google Drawings to make manipulatives and sorting activities for her students.
- The eighth-grade English teachers are all using Google Docs to give students formative feedback on their writing BEFORE the students have to turn it in.
- A colleague of mine has students plot their learning about Ancient Egypt on a Google Map instead of using paper and colored pencils.
- I’ve seen a jigsaw activity where students were responsible for different parts of a chapter, and recorded the main points in a shared Google Slides presentation.
Get Familiar with Google Tools for the Digital Classroom
You’re probably already familiar with Google Search, but did you know that Google offers many other tools that are useful in the classroom?
G Suite for Education is a suite of tools that can help you increase opportunities for critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, all while supporting the learning objectives that you have for your students. These tools are free, ad-free, reliable, and secure. They are already used by millions of students in schools around the world. Of course, free is great, but the best thing is that these tools are relevant to students, easy to use, and open doors to many new ways to learn.
Let’s take a look at the G Suite for Education suite now, starting with the tool purpose-built for schools – Google Classroom.
Google Classroom is a collaboration tool for teachers and students that helps organize and streamline the classroom experience. With just a few clicks, you can create a class, add your students, and create assignments or announcements. You’ll be able to see who’s completed an assignment, who’s still working on it, and assign grades when it’s finished. You can also instantly offer feedback to students, and see their questions or comments on their assignments.
Google Drive is like an online hard drive where you can store all your files – stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos – anything! As part of G Suite for Education, Drive has unlimited storage, so you and your students don’t have to worry about full disks, deleting old files, or losing anything when a computer crashes. You can access your files from any device, and, best of all, you never have to save: Drive automatically saves every time you make an edit!
G Suite for Education also includes a number of Google products that promote collaboration among students and with their teachers. Students can work together, in class or at home, to complete assignments and group projects. All of their work is auto-saved, and they can even edit without WiFi.
- Google Docs: documents come to life with smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs. Choose from thousands of fonts, plus add links, images, drawings, and tables
- Google Sheets: spreadsheets for analyzing, visualizing, and charting data
- Google Forms: quick & easy surveys to gather information
- Google Slides: a presentation tool that makes it easy to tell stories
- Google Drawings: Graphics and flowchart creation with shapes, text, and images
Additionally, G Suite for Education includes tools that can be used to save you time and increase student engagement. These include:
- Gmail: Email, contacts, tasks, and communications
- Google Calendar: Scheduling, calendars, and appointments
- Google Hangouts: Live video conferencing and messaging
- Google Sites: Webpage creation and publishing
- Google Groups: Group communication and web forums
Finally, Google has other tools outside of G Suite for Education that can be used in the classroom, which you may be able to access with your same username and password. We will discuss these at times throughout the course, but remember that these are consumer products and are not covered by the G Suite for Education Terms of Service. They include:
- Chrome: Internet browsing
- Google+: Online communities and social networking
- YouTube: Online video hosting and sharing
- Google Maps/Earth: Interactive maps and satellite imagery
- Blogger: Publishing blogs
It may seem hard to know where to start. That’s the purpose of work with us – we let you know what is available so you can consider how you might use each tool in your class and how they can enrich the experience of your students. This is just an introduction – we will go into detail about how you can use these tools in the classroom.