The Possibilities of Web 2.0 and Google Apps

The skeptical teacher often looks at Internet integration in his or her classroom as just another way for students to find information.  The teacher wonders what is the purpose of another research tool that provides students with content that is often misunderstood or misrepresented in the student’s work.  In fact, I have felt that way myself at times when I’ve had students complete research projects.  But one of the greatest innovations in technology-infused education has been the advent of Web 2.0 tools.  This line of Internet use means going beyond using the web as a tool to collect information, it means becoming a contributor to the Internet.  An interesting point has been made that students are becoming “read-only” Internet users: they take and take, but don’t give back.  As educators, we want students to “write” also.  Web 2.0 tools give students the opportunity to create on the Internet.

 

One of the absolute best Web 2.0 tools around today comes from Google (not a surprise, right?).  If your district has integrated Gmail for students and staff, access to a myriad of Google Apps is available.  These include some of the most useful, and easily integrated, tools that I have seen in education.  Some Google Apps include Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings), Google Sites, and Google Calendar -- See the table below for some details of each and ideas for their classroom integration.  All of these apps allow for the teacher to communicate easier with students and parents, promote collaboration among students, and easily integrate valuable media to any activity.  These will also eliminate the massive amounts of paperwork often seen on a teacher’s desk any day of the school year.  In order to make the strongest argument for the value of Google Apps, I will focus on one of the newest and most valuable out there.

 

Google Classroom is Google Apps version of a learning management system (LMS).  An LMS can often be daunting, or a foreign language, to teachers.  Many do not have the time to develop their own website, but are interested in working digitally in the classroom.  Google Classroom is the solution.  Using this app, the teacher provides an access code to students in the class, making this a private and secure website.  In this digital classroom, the teacher can post videos, links, and activities for the students to interact with or complete.  Students can then hold discussions about the content, while the teacher monitors and contributes feedback.  Also, any assignment posted on the site will automatically be created as a folder in each student’s Google Drive (a digital notebook) with needed assignment directions and due date.  Students and the teacher alike are now effortlessly organized, while assignment turn-in can be done with the click of a button.  The teacher can also quickly send needed feedback to the student for real-time assignment reflection (such an overlooked and often impossible prospect in the time-constrained classroom).  This is just a surface-level look at Google Classroom, but the possibilities are incredible and exciting.  Students can access this from anywhere on any device, while authentic learning, discussion, and collaboration can occur at anytime.

Google For Education

Google App                            Features                                                           Classroom Integration Ideas

 

Gmail

  • Saves time & paper

  • Used on any mobile or desktop device

  • Provides student privacy/protection

  • Organize messages

  • Use “Hangouts” to communicate with students and parents with a chat or video

  • Organize contacts

  • Provides Google Groups and Google Translate

  • Communicate with parents and students using contact groups

  • Students can collaborate using Google Groups

  • Students can translate information, if needed

  • Media-enriched communication can occur with “Hangouts”

 

Calendar

  • Share calendar of important events with others

  • Manage schedule for meetings with parents and students

  • Can be managed on multiple devices

  • Integrates with other Apps

  • Fully customizable

  • Notifications

  • Use multiple calendars

  • Lesson plan calendar

  • Share appointment slots with parents and students

  • Can embed on websites

  • Manage lesson plans and important events from any device

  • Allow parents and students to choose and book appointment slots, when shared

  • Share calendar with parents and students with reminders of important events and assignments

  • Share with school staff for resource checkouts (computer labs, etc.)

 

Classroom


Talk (no longer available)

  • Create, assign, collect homework and classwork

  • Integrate Docs, Drive, and Gmail for assignments

  • Send class announcements

  • When assignments are created, folders are created in each student’s Google Drive, with due dates provided

  • Assignments can be embedded with YouTube videos and links

  • Monitor student progress

  • Provide student feedback

  • Share a code with students for access

  • Manage classroom assignments paperlessly

  • Provide due dates for students

  • Provide directions for students and instantly place in student’s Google Drive

  • Embed media in assignments

  • Provide feedback instantly to students

  • Only those with code can access -- secure

 

Docs

  • Collaborate among students and teachers on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations

  • Provide templates for students to complete

  • Access with any device

  • Chat and comments features for feedback

  • Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings

  • Documents publishable to the web

  • Tools available for research

  • Use forms to collect assignments and data

  • No software installation required

  • Revision history is viewable

  • Students can collaborate on the same document

  • Teacher can provide feedback using comments on documents

  • Teacher can publish document to the web for massive access

  • Research is simpler for students with doc tool

  • Free and up-to-date replacement for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Paint

 

Sites

  • Create and customize a web page without HTML knowledge

  • No software needed

  • Use any device to upload media

  • Provide class announcements to students and parents

  • Create student portfolios

  • Can be styled to match existing school site

  • Contains a Search tool

  • Students build their own sites

  • Encrypted for security and privacy

  • Can collaborate on site editing

  • Layout customization

  • Embed YouTube video and other Google Apps

  • Each page can have different permission levels

  • Gadgets available for customization

  • Create a teacher webpage to share information and announcements with students

  • Students can create their own webpages

  • Students can create digital portfolios

  • Can be edited by multiple users for collaboration

 

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Tags: 2.0, apps, google, web

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