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!