Why are the Google Apps for Education so great? Here are three reasons you should start using Google in your classroom.
1. Store and access all your files in one place.
Have you ever gone to print something from your computer, only to find that your printer was not working? Instead of rummaging through your desk for a flashdrive in order to print from another printer, with Google Drive all of your files are in a single location, which can be accessed from anywhere. Have you ever tried to plan a lesson on your morning commute? With Google you can jot some quick notes down in Google Docs on your phone, and then pull them up on your computer when you get to work. Not only does Google Drive allow us to easily access our files, but it also allows us to share our files with others. With co-teaching and collaboration among teachers becoming more popular, it is important that we share resources with one another. With Google Drive, you can do just that. You can easily create a lesson and then share it with another teacher so they have access to edit the document as well. Google will automatically update the document and keep older versions just in case, so no matter who is working on the document, it will always be the latest version.
2. Differentiate lessons and quizzes
Differentiation. That seems to be the catch phrase these days. All of our lessons have to be differentiated. But how are we supposed to do that in a class of 30? Easy, Google. Have you ever created a review sheet or quiz and thought that it would be great if students could receive some “hints” in order to help them review the material? With Google Forms, if a student gets an answer wrong, you can automatically provide them with review information. However, using the exact same form, if a student gets the answer correct, they are simply taken to the next question. Differentiation at its finest; one assignment with extra supports for students when needed. Or let’s say we had several math problems on a spreadsheet, but only wanted to send certain questions to specific students in a class. With Google Sheets, you can choose which questions are sent to students, and an assignment will automatically be created for them.
3. Assessment, Feedback and Monitoring.
So now that we have created the differentiated quizzes, it is time to grade them. Every teacher’s favorite, grading. Well with Google even that has become an easy and quick task. With a few click you can grade multiple choice questions, and then automatically email the scores to students or parents. No longer are the days of sitting at your desk or your kitchen table for long nights staring at student work. Not only can you automatically grade assignments, but you can also provide feedback to students quickly and in real-time. Whether it is on the quiz they just submitted, or an essay they shared with you, you can easily write comments and feedback to the student in order to help them with their work. Have you ever been giving a presentation and are not sure if the students are paying attention? Why not have them participate in an online forum during class by asking or answering questions? If a student has a comment or question you would like to share, display it on the board in one click for everyone to see. This is a great way to keep students engaged and to check for understanding during a lesson.