Just this year our district started using Google Apps for Education and it has changed the way I teach.  While I have used many other tools to collaborate and share information with my students such as Edmodo, Schoology, Microsoft Office Suite and other Web 2.0 tools, Google Apps for Education combines so many of these tools into one area plus much more.  These tools have made me a more efficient educator giving me to ability to easily collaborate with fellow staff, parents, and students.

            The ability to easily share documents with fellow colleagues and administration has made some processes that were often very time consuming and tedious much easier to complete.  One instance were this became very handy was when scheduling conferences this past fall.  Our principal created shared spreadsheets that had the times for the conferences split out into appropriate conference segments.  We were then allowed to call parents we’d like to schedule an appointment with and update the schedule ourselves.  This way we could see what was available and leave comments and messages so everyone was on the same page.  During conference night if we were unable to attend a conference we could leave a message for the team listing concerns we had in our class.

            Another feature of Google Apps for Education is Forms.  Forms allow for the creation of quizzes, surveys and questionnaires.  This tool is a great way to gather information from parents about contact information and other any other information you may need to know.  All information is easily accessed in spreadsheet form and can be manipulated any way needed.  This tool can also be used with students to create quizzes to assess their understanding or poll them on activities they’d like to complete. 

            One of the things I struggled with was providing feedback in a timely manner using technology and rubrics.  While Edmodo allowed me to provided grades and feedback within their setting, it did not allow me to attach a rubric.  I was using paper rubrics to grade my assignments.  With the use of a script called Goobric, I am now able to create and attach a rubric quickly and easily to each student’s assignment.  Even if I need to create a document that just has the rubric attached, like when I’m grading student’s programming, I can easily send them a digital copy of their grades providing instant, detailed feedback.  The Goobric script also sends the student an email with their rubric attached for easy access. 

            There are other scripts that also make communicating and sharing information with students so easy.  The use of GClassFolders and Doctopus has all but eliminated my need to print anything in my class.  I have created shared folders using GClassFolders that keep all my classes and student documents organized for easy access.  The Doctopus script allows me to send out documents to each student’s folders with whatever setting are needed for that project.  Students then have access to this document in the shared folder that GClassFolders created.  Now that I have used these scripts I can’t image going back to the old way.

            All these tools have changed the way I teach and communicate with the education community.  From sending out a from to collect information from parents, to using Goobric to attach a rubric for grading, to shared documents that staff can collaborate on quickly and easily.  Using theses tools has made me much more efficient at my job of educator.

Google Feature:

Notes:

Classroom Integration Ideas:

Email

 

 

  • Online access to all your emails from any computer easily.
  • Ability to retrieve other email into Gmail
  • Has filters and labels to help organize your emails.
  • The use of threads to organize your emails.  This allows all emails and replies in a thread to be stored together for easy access to the entire conversation. (Organized by conversations)
  • Has a powerful search engine within gmail.
  • Signature Tweeks – keeps your signature right below the message you type.
  • Chat feature

 

 

Students can use email to communicate with teachers.  I send emails to my students that are absent (especially for a long period of time) sending them homework and just communicating what is happening in class.  I also receive emails from students asking questions about assignments or things they are stuck on.  We use emails to ask questions of other students, staff, or professionals.

Calendar

 

  • Easy to use.
  • All planning can be in one place.
  • Multiple calendars can be combined into one easy to read calendar.
  • Easy to copy an event.
  • Google Calendars can be embedded to your Google Sites or other websites and then any updates made to the calendar automatically show up on your website also.
  • Can schedule Meeting for multiple people and sends them an email to let them know about the scheduled meeting.
  • You can also share your calendar with your co-workers giving them permissions to your calendar.

 

 

Students could create a calendar for school that would include the schedule and assignments for each of their classes.  They would learn how to add my Computer Calendar to their personal calendar to see all the upcoming events and homework due dates.  They could also add any sports calendars that they are participating in so they know what day they practices and games.

Talk

Hangout

  • Hangout is a great way to communicate to others face-to-face but from a distance.
  • Screen sharing capabilities allows you to share what you are working on with the other person.
  • Can use this feature anywhere you have internet connection.

 

Google Hangouts can be used to connect students to experts in the field of study that they are studying.  They can also use hangouts to collaborate on projects together.

Docs

 

  • Secure place on the web to create and share your documents.  Eliminates the need to attach a document to an email, which makes a copy of the document.
  • You have the ability to have multiple people working on the same document at the same time from anywhere that you have internet access.
  • Can control the level of access to your shared documents. (edit, view, owner)
  • Everything happens in real time.
  • Has a chat feature that can be used to communicate while working on a document.
  • Also has a comment feature to leave comments about a particular part of the document.
  • Has an option to review revisions.  You can also compare them to earlier versions.  You can also revert to an earlier version if needed.
  • Can import and export files using Google Docs
  • You can work offline by downloading Google Gears.
  • Can also do spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings.

 

 

Students can collaborate on documents together using sharing.  One of my student's favorite things to so is create a story together with another classmate using Google docs.  They will take turns writing every other sentence.  I also only allow them to use the chat feature to discuss the story.  Another project we just finished included students creating a Science Quiz on their unit of study using Forms.  They then sent the quiz to themselves and took it giving the correct answers.  Afterward they sent the quiz to five other classmates and received five quizzes.  They each took the quizzes and today we graded them using conditional formatting and arrays.  This was a great way for them to study their science information.

Sites

 

  • Can create your own websites that can be shared with others.
  • Can embed other content (documents, calendars, picasa slideshows, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and google or youtube videos.)
  • Has an intuitive editor that makes it easy to create your site.
  • Template Gallery to choose from many pre-built templates
  • Lots of storage

 

 

I’ve used Sites to have students create a website to market their inventions they create.  They are required to think of an invention that would make their lives or the lives of others better.  They answer several questions about their invention including the materials they need to build it and the cost.  They then draw their invention using the Pixlr app in Google Drive.  They take all this information and use it to create a website for their invention.  The kids love it.

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