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Google Apps for Education

July 7, 2012

http://www.flickr.com/photos/warrantedarrest/74688743/

I remember Google first becoming known in schools when I was a Senior in high school. I have always been interested in the way that this company has grown and expanded. One sector they are currently developing is their Apps for Education. These tools make it easy for teachers to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and students. They  can be used with nearly every computer, smart phone, or other browsing-supported device. They work most effectively if all faculty and students are users. It is also more effective to use all the apps together, as they all work together.

For example, Google Groups would be the app that teachers would want to start with. They can link colleagues in one group, parents in another, and have a group for each of their classes. These groups will be accessible from all the other apps.

Google Mail, or Gmail, allows teachers to send emails like any other similar service. It’s appeal is that it works with the other apps. Teachers can sync their email and calendar so that important dates can easily be transferred. They can easily create and share calendars with individuals or with their different groups.

Google Docs offers amazing collaboration options. This is useful for giving feedback to students that they can access instantaneously. It also allows students to work together on a project from their homes. It is also useful for collaborating with colleagues on projects and team teaching.

One of the newest apps, Google Drive, works as an online storage space. Users get 5GB of space for free, and can upgrade to 20GB for only $4 a month. All the documents that are stored can easily be shared with individuals or with different groups of people.This can be used as a place for students to upload work to be graded, for documents and videos related to the class to be shared with students, or much more.

These apps have been beneficial to me as a student, and I know they will continue to be as an educator. A typical experience with these apps might go like this:

A student is working on an essay Google Docs when they realize they have a question for their teacher. Using Gmail, they send a message with their question. The teacher is alerted on their smart phone that they have a new email. They pull up the students essay and write some guiding comments. They then respond to the email that they have left comments in Docs, and offer a face to face conference during their free period the next day. The student is notified right away of the email and responds right away that the meeting works for them – it’s added to both of their calendars. This whole interaction could occur in as little as 5 minutes.

 

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