Although there are many formatting glitches that often deter me from using Google Apps, I am confident that they can be used to make me a more efficient educator. Spending time this week exploring the apps has restored my enthusiasm for Google as an educational tool. Let’s explore some of the tools and how I’d like to incorporate them in my class.
It’s simple to add dates to the Google Calendar. I especially like how you can overlay calendars when trying to schedule meetings. My students always invite me to cheer them on at their extracurricular activities. When I receive paper schedules, it can get overwhelming trying to coordinate best times to see their events. I would love to have students add events to the general calendar so I am aware of times, but also to encourage classmates to support each other.
I also see how Google Hang Outs could be incorporated into education. My students and I do a lot of traveling over the holidays. It would be amazing to set up times to connect with classmates during these trips so we can share about what we’re learning in new places and give students a chance to see other places. I am a huge fan of Skype, but I can see that Google Hang Outs would allow up to 15 people to video conference at one time. That’s a lot of people connecting to share learning!
Google Apps can enhance collaboration between parents, students, and me. Specifically, having one place to upload documents and share information makes life easier. Our district provides students with accounts so I don’t have to worry about signing students up for many different hosts. Being able to quickly create a form and add it to a Google site means parents get access almost immediately. In today’s world, physical paperwork and announcements often get thrown away without being looked out. Paper is inconvenient and clutters students’ backpacks. However, online announcements and updates can be accessed from anywhere on mobile devices. This seems to be the most convenient way to connect with parents.
I had never inserted a Google Calendar into a site. It was easy to use and easy to insert onto the Google Sites page. After using Google Sites, I think that it is a better alternative to Share Point, the website currently being used at my school. I’ve used Google Hang Outs in a previous course through Regis; however, I had forgotten about the potential to use it in with my students. Moreover, I never realized there was an App called Google Education. Being able to assign groups and projects online would help me realize my goal of creating online novel groups. I have used wikis and many other forums to help students collaborate and been happy with the results. However, the potential to have a website, collaborative documents, calendars, and interactive assignments all in one place would simplify my role as an educator.