Did you know over 40 million teachers, students and administrators in the education network are now using Google’s suite of apps, Apps for Education? That’s a remarkable shift from previous years, and the numbers are only continuing to grow. The question now is what exactly are Google’s Apps for Education and how can you utilize these free apps in your classroom to take your curriculum to the next level?
Google Apps for Educations consist of 8 core online applications that can be used anywhere, anytime and from multiple different types of devices; all apps work together on a secure, spam filtering server with over 30GB of storage per user. These applications include Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites and Vaults.
Let’s take a look at each one:
Gmail is not only a simple emailing system, but a full connection tool. You can use Gmail to send full emails, send instant messages, and text, voice or video chat. But do not worry, if you do not want your students sending instant messages during class or students video chatting you on the weekend, you can disable any of those capabilities as the administrator!
Want to make sure your lessons are staying on track? Use the calendar to not only manage meetings, but curriculum details as well. The best part is that you can view calendars from all over you school. Want to make sure you are not scheduling a test during a school assembly? Just import and view the school’s calendar. Student will also be able to keep track of your lesson plan and see what they missed on a sick day!
Google Drive is a secure database to save all of your new Google App files. You can locate these documents from any electronic device, including Mac, Android and iOS, and then share single files or entire folders with any of your contacts. Did one of your students lose homework that is due tomorrow? No problem, they can access your drive from their home computer and have access to any of the files they need!
The Doc, Slide and Sheet apps can be used not only to create word documents, presentations and spreadsheets, but to encourage complete collaboration from your students without the hassle of emailing documents back and forth. Any number of students can view and edit a document all at the same time; and with all of these documents on the Google Drive, there is no easier way to collaborate from home!
Looking for a new and exciting way to integrate technology into the curriculum? How about having your students create their own websites. Google Sites works across all computer systems without having to download any software. The best part? Your students will not have to write any complex code; with hundreds of templates to choose from you or the students can create websites with ease.
With all of the new application you integrate, it will be important to keep your online work space organized. Using the Google Vault you can archive old documents, but keep them as reference as later by using the archiving date feature on them. Search tools in the vault are also easy to use to find any document, whenever you need. And like all other Google Apps, you can access your vault from any computer!
Now, how can your bring it all together? Updating your curriculum to enhance your student’s success is often intimidating and complex; however, using these applications you can completely revitalize your original lesson plans.
Imagine your current geography or history curriculum; it probably includes readings, lectures, essays, and projects. Now, think about how valuable a virtual field trip to the area you are studying would be. While your students are on this “trip” they can also use their devices in a Google Hangout to collaborate and discuss what is going on at the same time. If that is only using two of the possible applications, imagine the ease and ability it will be to revitalize your entire curriculum!
Interested in learning more or taking the next step with Google Apps for Education? Contact Forward Edge, we can connect you with a Google Certified Expert able to answer and all questions you may have.
Data extracted from Google.com and Edtechmagazine.com