How can you help your students prepare for the future?
By using the ‘G Suite‘ of apps, Google have estimated that teachers can save 52 hours a year through increased productivity!
From September 2016, I have undertaken just under 50 hours of training. I am now a certified Google for Education Educator Level 2. While this training is obviously more catered for our counterparts across the Atlantic, there are many positives to be taken from the experience. The training itself is free, however, you (or your employer) must pay to do the exams ($10/$25). I failed the first exam, so I had to wait two weeks to resit, and then a month later I was ready to complete the Level 2 exam.
The ‘G Suite for Education‘ is free for public schools, so these resources are readily available nationwide.
Top 10 Reasons For Incorporating ‘G Suite’
Available Across All Platforms
Whether your are using Apple, Android, Windows or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) the G Suite has you covered. It’s cross-platform availability allows for it to be used in any technology set-up. Whether you are starting a project from scratch, or adding to your toolkit of resources, there is something here for you.
Getting your students to work together has never been easier. Google Docs, Slides and Sheets all have collaboration features. Not only can up to 50 people edit a document at any one time, but you can also suggest edits. As a teacher this is very convenient, as you can explain why you think a change should be made, and the student has the option to accept or reject the changes, having made the critical choice themselves.
Google forms is a quick and easy assessment tool. You can create a ‘quiz’ or ask questions with many outcomes: long answer, short answer, multiple choice etc. Also you can add multimedia, so you can have students guided to watch a video and answer questions on what they have seen. One of the major benefits of Forms, is that the results are collated in a Sheet where you can apply Conditional formatting. You select the correct answers, and the whole class is ‘corrected’ automatically, intuitively giving you more time to give more detailed feedback where needed.
I cannot emphasise this enough – Google Expeditions will transform your classroom! Using VR, the teacher as the expedition leader guides students through a structured learning environment. Students obviously react well to being immersed in the content, while the educational value is optimised by the teacher having complete control over the simulation.
Drive and Calendar
Drive gives accessibility to cloud storage that is readily available from mobile, tablet or laptop. This allows complete freedom and connectivity; never again will you need to transfer a document to a memory stick. Once uploaded to the Drive your document will be accessible from anywhere and by anyone you deem necessary. The Drives connectivity with Calendar also simplifies meetings. While making your appointment, why not add the document to be discussed to allow all parties to prepare accordingly… cutting down on time in the actual meeting!
YouTube is a wonderful tool, however it can be quite daunting even to the most tech savvy of teachers. This training will show you how to compile playlists and edit videos with ‘announcements’. These are the little messages that sometimes ‘pop-up’ while you watch. Why not add in a question to assess understanding, or a ‘skip-to’ button to avoid boredom during a section which has already been covered.
Google for Research
If your using a laptop, you can use ‘Explore’ to bring Google directly into your workspace, there’s no need to flick apps. It’s all right there where you need it. If your working with older students, why not familiarise them with Google Scholar. Referencing has never been easier, you just choose the article you have used, and click ‘cite’, where you are given a range of referencing options to copy straight into your document.
You have probably already jumped to Google Maps with your class to show them a cool location or a geographic feature. Now you can go one step further and learn how to create and annotate whole maps. Bring students on a trip through the Sahara desert or the Amazon to reinforce learning with real life examples. To bring literature to life, why not got to Google Lit Trips where you can follow your class book through it’s specific geographic locations.. truly bring the experience to life.
Google state that if you ask a student to do work for you it will be ‘good enough’ but if the work is to be published it will be ‘good’. Instead of having a bunch of unconnected tasks through a unit, why not get students to create a website with Google Sites. You do not need to know how to code, these sites have many predetermined options and are full of features for personalisation. Obviously you can add in anything from the ‘G Suite’ meaning a single Site could include documents, multimedia, maps and quizzes!
This is the control centre for everything! Upload course content or a video related to a previous lesson. It has a very familiar ‘facebook’ feel where students can comment on tasks and each other’s opinions; creating a continuous conversation in a protected environment.
If you are in a 1:1 environment and constantly face a bombardment of ‘useful apps’ to use… look no further. The G Suite for Education has tools to enhance any learning environment, it can substitute previous tasks or redefine an entire unit by creating new learning outcomes previously impossible.
Have a look for yourself:
Gerard Greally writes for Teacher Toolkit