Grateful for Google

Posted by Tracy Poelzer on November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized |

I have been participating in and presenting a lot of workshops on different Google apps and tools lately.  They are certainly things that I, myself, find useful in both personal and educational settings, and I’m really excited to be sharing them with other interested educators in our school district.  I also love that they’re FREE!!! After reading Jeff Utecht’s blog post about how Google is taking over his life (in a good way), I was inspired to do a post about some of my favourite Google tools as well.

Last week I presented to some videoconferencing and rural teachers about  using Google docs in the classroom.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Google docs, and am very excited about the possibilities of using them with students and teachers in useful, collaborative ways.   Due to the fact that multiple people can collaborate on a Google doc, in real time and at the same time, it makes it a wonderful tool for connecting students, classrooms, and teachers to work together on projects.  This can be done on a local or even global scale because Google apps are hosted on the “cloud”.  This means that you can access your account and shared documents from pretty much any computer (including tablets, smart phones and other devices) with Internet access and a web browser – regardless of your location in the world.

I have been using Google forms on a regular basis.  Forms are part of the Google docs suite, and can be used to make questionnaires or quizzes.  The link to the quiz can be shared with others, and once they fill out their information and click “submit”, Google puts that information into a nicely organized spreadsheet for you to view.  Entries are date/time stamped.  I find this an extremely useful tool for accepting registrations for workshops and pro-d events, and I think they’d be awesome for quick quizzes and other snapshot assessments to inform and guide instruction in a classroom setting as well.

I love Alan November’s model of a classroom community and can see how Google docs and other Google tools could contribute to terrific learning environments that follow this structure.  Have students take turns at different roles during class. Make them contributors to a classroom community.  Teach them to integrate 21st Century Skills effectively!  Here are some of my ideas for how they could be used:


Classroom Role Tool to Use
Note-taker / Scribe Google Docs
Key terms recorder Google Docs
Quiz / Review constructor Google Docs (Forms)
Class Calendar Updater Google Calendar
Resource Finder/Researcher           Google Search /Google Custom Search Engine
Class Website Updater Google Sites or Blogger
Collaboration Coordinators Google Talk or Google Groups
Map Maker Google Maps / Google Earth
Tutorial Designer Post to class YouTube Channel – Search on Google Videos or post to class blog/website
Model Maker Google SketchUp


Are there ways that you are using Google tools effectively in your classroom?  Would you like to learn more about them?  SD73 teachers: please contact me at the HGEC for more information. I’m happy to help!

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  • Hilary Villeneuve says:

    Tracy, I have used google docs, presentation and wiki sites with Grade 4 and 5 classes and found them very useful for many different projects. I have a gmail account that I use only for google activities with my students and they all sign in as me. I have had no problem with them all using my account and all signing in as me. The students have had no problem with them either and find all the tools quite easy to use.

  • Tracy Poelzer says:

    Hilary, that’s terrific!! I’d love to see our district work on making Google Apps for Education (hint hint to anyone in the IT Dept. that may read this) available in our schools. Then each student could have their own account that could be used for projects, and the teacher would have some control over some aspects of those accounts for security.

    Your students are lucky that you are embracing new tools and bringing them into your classroom in useful, relevant ways. Thank you for sharing your success story!

  • Christine Miller says:

    Tracy- have you tried the google hangout yet? It’s great for webconferencing groups and you don’t get the junk mail that Skype sends you.

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