|Posted on 7 October, 2015 at 20:05|
Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is one of the more popular platforms that schools are integrating as part of their digital curriculum. Ensuring teachers are aware of all of the tool available and have sufficient professional development to be able to use them with their students to enhance their teaching and learning opportunities. GAFE is a cloud based computing option that is inexpensive for schools to implement. More importantly, it can be used on any type of device that has Google Chrome installed on it thus supporting the technological hardware platform of the school.
In order to maximise use by these apps by both the educators and students in your school, it is recommended that an Intranet page is created and used on all school and student devices as their designated home page. This will not only encourage all stakeholders to use the apps, but to make it much easier to access them regularly in class.
It is recommended that for complete success, the implementation of Google Apps For Education is a whole school initiative and is used by all teachers in every KLA. The school technology support officer will be required to work with the Head of Technology for streamlined integration.
What are the main apps that are used?
Google Classroom is the online space for students to access and submit their classwork. Google Classroom now allows multiple teachers to team teach and add announcements and assignments (with due dates) for their students to view and download. More importantly, teachers can upload worksheets for their students to complete and Google Classrooms has the ability to create a file for each student. Each student receives their own worksheet that is automatically saved to their Google Drive. Google Classroom also allows students to post comments and communicate with their teacher about any work that is posted. Additionally, students can submit their work by using the ‘turn in’ function which allows their teacher to mark and grade the work and provide the student with immediate feedback.
Google Drive is online storage. All teachers and students save their work here and are able to share their work with one another (pending they use a school based email account). This is an alternative to using Google Classroom to share work. However, encouraging students to use Google Drive to create new files (docs, sheets and forms) will streamline how students create and complete their work in every lesson.
Google Sites is a great tool that can be used as an alternative or as a compliment to Google Classroom. This online website creation tool gives teachers the flexibility to generate their own digital resources for a particular lesson or for an entire course. With the correct teacher management software, Google Sites can also be used as an eFolio as it permits students to embed Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and Forms. It must be noted that in NSW DET, only students in years 9-12 are able to create a Google Site from scratch (all other students can only add to a website once a template is created by their teacher).
Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and Forms
Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Forms are available to all school stakeholders. Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are the Office alternatives for Word, Powerpoint and Excel. These online documents contain almost all of the functionality as their alternatives. Add-ons for each of these tools can be downloaded via the Chrome Store. The best part of these tools is that they connect to one another allowing the student to link and embed their work together forming a larger scale piece of work.
GAFE is renowned for increasing productivity as teachers and their students can collaborate in real time and are able take the initiative to self-direct their own work and by taking ownership of their work. Educators who use GAFE report that their students now enter class and without any prompting from the teacher automatically turn their devices on and access their work via Google Classroom. Others are using GAFE to support their Flipped Classrooms and project Based Learning activities. Ultimately, teachers are encouraging their own students to create more of their own work as opposed to simply complete worksheets and the tasks that are set by teachers.
If you are interested in using GAFE at your school, there are many sources that you can contact for assistance, case studies and training. GAFE also offer an online community that helps you stay connected with the latest developments of their tools and the latest resources created by teachers that you can use. There is also a Peer Community connecting educators with one another.