knoope_LT8_Activity 1 and 3_Blogging about Google Apps and Google Apps Matrix

When asked to open up yet one more web account for this class, I did cringe a bit.  Classroom 2.0 was a new site for me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have a wikipage, a WordPress page, an edublog, an Edmodo account, and countless emails, so tracking one more page with my name on it left me a little weary. 

After playing with the site and creating my page, however, I was ready to share my latest creation with everyone in class and the Internet. Page creation was reasonably easy to complete and navigate, so I was a bit put off when my page had to be approved before I was allowed to take my blog live.  Like Victor Frankenstein, the toiling, tinkering, and tweaking I put into this page deserved to be shared with everyone; having to wait to bring my creation to life was an unexpected delay.  This clue led me to believe I had officially moved into the “Digital Native-hood” because I wanted to see the immediacy of my creation on the World Wide Web. However, after digging into Digital Citizenship more carefully and learning about Acceptable Use Policies, the delay made sense and the reasonable adult in me returned home. I have a better appreciation for the stark responsibilities that come with virtual collaboration and communication.  

First, I am happy to know there is a safe community for educators like me who want to exchange ideas and reflections and receive some feedback from like-minded colleagues. Classroom 2.0 suits this need perfectly. I am excited to know that I can post research driven ideas here and colleagues will respond in kind, steer me down the correct path, or enhance my original ideas.  I like the simplicity of the site and the intuitive nature it offers users. It’s not so complicated that I wouldn’t continue using it beyond this course. Of course, this course has offered me a variety of tools and training that I needed like the suite of Google Apps.

All of our students have Google accounts set up by the district, so they can use Google apps on our computer systems. However, very few teachers utilize Google apps. I was happy for the training offered on the site because I can now offer an intelligent perspective on why and when we might use Google apps in our classes. I recently asked my PLC why our students don’t use their Google accounts to keep their work, and my question silenced the room for a moment.  Using Google Drive to write their essays, journals, research papers, and etc., would minimize the risk of students losing any of their work. The auto save feature alone is worth the shift.

I think the hesitation from my PLC stems from not knowing enough about the applications Google offers. I understand their hesitance – learning something new is scary, but when the tool can save us money, time, and effort, it cannot be ignored and must be explored.  I would like for my students to begin writing with Google docs so they have the opportunity to peer edit before submitting their papers to me for a final score. The collaborative feature is gold! Students need to learn how to trust each other and this is a great tool to use to have them being honing this skill. Students and parents can review the work completed in class and can open a dialogue on the subject matter and ask questions as they review together. This would be a great opportunity to take the teaching portion of my class home to parents. It would create a stronger partnership for learning – one that could enhance the technology shift in the culture at our school.  Alas, the 90 papers in my bag will have to be scored “old school” style.

Finally, I learned so much this week, but the lessons on Google were among the most effective.  My first Regis class introduced me to Google Drive and some of the associated applications, so I was familiar with these. As I moved into other classes, I picked up Google Hangouts – one of my favorite applications on Google, and now I know how to use Chat. I practiced the Chat feature with my student assistant this week, and it was pure pleasure to watch her glee. Most of my students have some technology tools at their disposal – a few have computers at home, but nearly all have cell phones that are smarter than the computers we have in our school.  Why not leverage those in our classes with the applications offered by Google?  A rhetorical question, at best, but one I must pose to my school administrators because the array of applications our students can use without having a traditional computer before them is immense. This would serve our entire community well.  I am excited to continue exploring the other Google tools I learned about this week – Sketch up and Draw are two that top my list. And so the learning continues.

 

Google Feature

Notes

Classroom Integration Ideas

Email

  • Offline support – can access without Internet connections
  • 10GB of file space
  • Filters/labels make finding messages quickly;
  • Text, voice, video calls (hangouts)
  • Chats are able to be saved/recorded for later use – important for parent conferences, staffings, and notes to students
  • (Great way to document communications for CYA.)

 

 

 

 

 

  • Emailing files for projects, papers, and presentations (esp. larger ones)
  • Hangouts for collaboration or study groups
  • Email, text, or voice for feedback – on and offline
  • Limit access/monitor student use
  • Create contact lists of parents/students for specific communication
  • Create to-do lists with filters/labels – increase time management
  • Use chat to conference one-on-one with students  and/or parents
  • Use chat to monitor students working in the lab – to keep them on task
  • Use chat to send notes/reminders to students at home in OSS (Out of School Suspension) or in ISD (In School Detention)  - might be a good point to advocate for the use of cell phones in school

Calendar

  • Can save and share multiple calendars
  • Reminds me of Outlook calendar – used it to schedule conference rooms and set up meeting invites and reminders
  • Can attach documents for meetings directly to calendar
  • (We don’t use Outlook here, so we have to log in every time we need to check email – our system times us out.)
  • Publish calendar on a Google Site for all to reference/review

 

  • Computer lab availability – it would be great if the library used this tool for us to sign up our classes for the lab or other technology tools: COWs, TVs, DVD players, etc.
  • Schedule conferences with students/parents for one-on-one chats or hangouts
  • Students can use to schedule chats/hangouts for peer reviews, group work, study sessions

 

Talk – now “Hangouts”

  • Up to 10 participants at a time
  • Can include emojis J
  • Create specific groups for specific discussions
  • Can be used on a variety of platforms – mobile phones, computers, laptops, iPads, and etc.
  • Keeps track of conversations – text
  • Include and share docs, forms, photos, and etc.
  • Synced communications –
  • Text and Video available

 

  • Study partners/group work
  • Small focused discussion groups – Socratic Seminars
  • Review sessions
  • Conferences – with parents and students
  • Blended or flipped opportunities
  • PLC planning – over the summer, breaks, and etc.

Docs/Drive

  • Alternative to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all in one place – no extra bundles to buy
  • Love the idea that this is used in college classes and the corporate world so students know it is not just a thing they did in “high school” never to be done/used again
  • Storage in the Cloud!!!!! Yay!
  • Love that edits and saves are completed every few minutes – students (and some adults) are terrible when it comes to saving early – saving often – this feature takes out the guess work. 
  • Drive: 30GB of storage – can increase for a fee
  • Docs are compatible with MS Office
  • Are available offline as well
  • Saves paper!!!! I wonder what the budget is for the cost of paper here?
  • Students can view any kind of file - video, PDFs, Photoshop, and etc.  (Wonder if any of these would be filtered/restricted by the school filters.)

 

 

 

 

  • Students can create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets without having to worry about not having the MS Office suite – same products/results all in one place – lots of flexibility especially in our school where not all computers have the same version of Word installed. This narrows the “have-have not” technology gap for access because everyone has the same tools.
  • Can share documents/files for peer edits –students can add comments in a real-world application – saves comments
  • Use forms to collect data – was thinking of creating a self-evaluation/checklist form for my 10 grade research papers for students to complete prior to resubmitting their final copy
  • Drawing tool can be used to create mind maps for brainstorming sessions; would be great as a non-linguistic for those students needing additional support/modifications
  • Use drawing  tool to create Graphic Organizers
  • No need to print – can post electronic docs, forms, etc.
  • Use as a department – for PLC information, files, etc. We currently have files stored on the school drive and it is not accessible from home. Grrrrr….this would make life so much easier when planning lessons. 
  • All our students have Google accounts – need to start using them so the tools can become second nature and the skills will be transferable beyond these HS walls – Just Do It!

Sites

  • No HTML code needed to create websites!!! Yay! Students will love this. Easy and intuitive to use, navigate, add content, videos, and more.
  • 10GB + 500KB of space and calendars and videos do not count toward this.
  • Sites can be shared with collaborators
  • Administrators/Teachers can monitor and revoke access as needed
  • Built-in Search

 

  • Hello – Easy-to-use/create Electronic Portfolios, Projects, and Discussion Boards
  • Use to record lessons and house podcasts for students who are absent, traveling, or otherwise out of the building.
  • Use as a vehicle for blended/flipped classroom – for materials, videos, labs, forms, responses, comments, to take in student work.

 

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