Google Apps is the epitome of efficient. As an educator, I could use it to streamline all of my student contact information. By requiring students to create a G-mail account using a specific file-naming convention, I could quickly contact any one of them. Additionally, Google Talk and G-chat sync with my Google contacts and would allow students to call or video message me or other students for immediate homework help, direction clarification, or potential technical difficulties. Setting the students up on Google Drive would forever eliminate the concern of lost or deleted documents and again, specific file-naming conventions would keep all work organized. Google Drive’s revision history allows me as the teacher to see time-stamped edits and the collaborative aspect enables all students to potentially collaborate. Google Sites are simple to make while allowing for student freedom, choice, and creativity. This is a good place for students to demonstrate their own learning (ala an electronic portfolio).
Google Apps eliminates space between a teacher and a student. Whether the student is in the same room working simultaneously on a document or at home absent from schoolteachers, parents, and fellow students can see real-time color-coded edits taking place. It also holds the students accountable for their every mark. Parents can be granted permanent access to their children’s work so they too could simultaneously view teacher comments. While I have been incorporating Google Apps for a few years now, I am just now beginning to see the power of implementation for the masses. I have always been an avid Google user, but with the onset of the Apps for Education, I now have proof in the product. It has been interesting over the years to watch Google tweak, revise, update, and add to their available options. It makes me look forward to the future. In fact, on my wish list for Google Apps is they will incorporate some kind of a Password Keeper possibly through G-mail. Thus far, one of the most frustrating challenges working with my high school students is the process I go through to set them all up on all of these beneficial websites for free and they end up forgetting passwords and having to continually recreate accounts thus loosing track of work and making it difficult for me to keep track of who is who online.