Google has basically transformed the modern world we live in today in terms of the internet, communication and collaboration. Yes, I too am a Google fanboy. What’s not to love? They’re providing services that are second to none, and everything they touch makes my life better.
Anyway fanboying aside, they’ve made huge strides in education. Not only have they invested billions into the Edtech, but they’ve even dethroned the likes of Microsoft and Apple. Here are some of the reasons why:
Google Classroom is without a doubt a one of the Google essentials in educating. It allows one to organise their classes, post announcements, assignments, questions and even reuse posts if you teach the same thing to different classes! This program allows you to stay at the top of your game because it makes it so easy to distribute resources to the class. It’s also a great way to track what your students have learned so far, and the work they have done. Because you can assign assignments and ask them to return it back digitally, you have access to a folder that opens in their drive containing all of their work! Even when asking students to submit formal assessment tasks, we’re able to mark it, give them a grade and give it back to them with only a few clicks. If your school have this yet… things need to change.
Google Docs and Slides
Google Docs and Google Slides is for me, the quintessential google apps. It’s what I use day to day to write and create resources for school. Here are some benefits:
- Create documents from scratch or use templates.
- No subscription fee to use.
- Collaborative functions (sharing in real time, or link sharing).
- Compatible with Google Classroom and anything Google.
- Responsive to PC, tablets or mobile.
- Autosave feature and doc history that allows a record for users and work.
- Much, much more.
Google form is a great platform for surveys and other test style functions. It boasts great features when building a survey, especially when using it for education. I’ve personally used Google form for pre-testing and post-testing my students on our topics because it provides me with such a wealth of data! One of the most impressive features of this application is that it collates data into a spreadsheet, and then creates easy to read graphs based on results that you can eventually send back to the participants.
When creating one, you have the option of multiple choice, check-boxes, short/long answer and more in response to questions. What I love about this is that you can actually automate learning and feedback by choosing the correct answer and responses, making it a ‘quiz’ and then letting the magic happen. When the learners finish the quiz, they will get immediate feedback of whether they got the answers right or wrong… like a test! That is minimum teacher input and maximum learning output. It is just too easy to use.
Hangouts is another great Google function because it allows students and teachers to communicate. Students have the option of communicating with each other, with a teacher or even a mentor that they have met before! For teachers, it is largely the same, hangouts is an easy way to connect because it is fully integrated with Gmail too. Very helpful especially when you have the ability to video or phone call your contacts!
Drive is like dropbox on steroids. I like to see Google Drive as your own personal library of everything you have done. Why a library? Because you get a free 15GB of data storage online when you sign up for free. When you are using it to store word docs, slides and even video, it can seem to go on forever.
Drive is the ultimate tool in organisation. You can easily create files, folders and documents using the side bar, and navigate easily using the pathway links underneath the search bar. I myself know of hundreds of high schools that organise every resource and file that they have using Google drive for a few reasons:
- Stores massive amounts of information and organises resources and work.
- Locate files much quicker with search feature. Easily narrow down searches with filters.
- From drive, one can create new documents straight into a folder that will continually update.
- Lastly, EVERYTHING is shareable.
Yes, you heard me (or read me?). Anyway, yes. Everything is shareable, even files and folders. If you have a tonne of resources that another student or another teacher could use, just share it with a person, or an entire email list. Don’t have everyone’s email? Just share using the shareable link that they can provide. You can even change the access they get – edit or view. It’s just remarkable.
And finally, my personal scheduler, Calendar. I’ll keep this one short because I’m assuming you know how a calendar works. I can schedule everything I want, change the colours of events to colour coordinate the type of events, set alerts and yes, sync with everything!
If you don’t use these apps daily… what is wrong with you?
Ask yourself if this is the person you want to be.
Without these apps, your precious life is unorganised and dismayed.
All jokes aside, these apps are the reason I can be ultra productive at work, and at home. I suggest that if you haven’t signed up with Google yet, do it immediately. If you haven’t used any of these apps, give it a try and comment below on how it went!