Saturday, August 2, 2014

Google Apps for Education (GAFE)

This is an exciting time to be a teacher, especially when you are a teacher in a district that utilizes Google Apps for Education! There are so many apps that help us get organized, communicate, and collaborate. Lyn Hilt,  friend and fellow instructional coach from Pennsylvania, created and shared a document called Ideas for Using Google Apps recently. This documents has nearly 130 ideas for ways to use a variety of Google Apps.

I hope that as we begin this new school year you will find your own creative and unique ways to incorporate Google Apps into your repertoire. Here are some of my favorite uses for Google Apps.

Google Forms (Note that information collected in a form typically is collected in a sheet.)
  • Have students fill out a "Getting to Know You" form. This allows you to collect lots of information about your students so you can begin getting to know them. 
  • Use a form to collect links to digital content that students create such as their blogs or Sites. This is so much easier and efficient than having them email it! 
Google Sheets
  • Keep track of books and other materials that students borrow. 
  • Keep a log of correspondence that you have with parents. This is an efficient way to keep all of this sort of documentation in one place. 
Google Calendar
  • Add your lesson plans to a calendar and embed the calendar on a class website. This way students and parents can keep track of what is happening in class. 
  • Create a resource calendar to streamline the reservation process for equipment and room reservations. This makes reserving things such as laptop carts, tablets, and computer labs pretty simple. 
Google Sites and Blogger
  • Create a web presence for your class using either Google Sites or Blogger. Here at Gering we have decided to use Sites for the actual classroom website, but it would be fabulous if each teacher maintained a blog as well! Blogs are a great alternative to (or supplement) to newsletters. 
Google Chat and Hangout 
  • Google chat is available when you open your Gmail. It is located on the left side by default, but there is a lab you can enable that will move it to the right side of the screen. Chats are a fast way to communicate with people. I will always have my chat on in case you need to get in touch with me ASAP. Chat is also a great way to communicate with students because it allows them to ask for help privately. 
Google Voice
  • Google Voice allows you to sign up (for free!) for a phone number that you can direct toward any phone that you wish. For example, I have my Google Voice number ring on my cell phone, but I could also have it ring on my office phone as well. The great thing about Google Voice is that you can give your number to parents and students without them knowing your cell number. In fact, you don't even need to associate your Google Voice number with a phone. You can place and accept calls and texts from your computer. Voicemails and transcribed and are sent to your email. 
  • Google Voice is used by some language teachers as a form of assessment. They have their students call their number and leave a message where they answer a prompt. Since all of these messages can be accessed easily at this makes it very convenient to listen to them. 
These are just a few of the ways Google Apps can be used in the classroom. What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate GAFE? 

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