It seems like Day 227 of forever of home learning and you and your children are at a loss – of education-related things to do, learning anything new and exciting, and the motivation to look for fresh ideas. Unlike many families you know, you don’t have the means – or desire – to purchase the latest and greatest in gaming consoles (so no one is creating a virtual school in Minecraft). There are game apps you and your children play on their devices, but not too many support learning in your view. So now what? How about adding a twist to games you already play? Or better yet, creating an original game? Before we start sharing a few ideas, let’s review why games are valuable for learning.
In 2011, Steve Jobs described Apple products as the intersection of technology and liberal arts—this is part of why the original Apple line (iPod, iPad, and then iPhone) all fascinated us. These were products that did something different with technology that we had never experienced before. We now listened to music, played games, created music, and even designed and painted in a different and new way. Jobs believed the future of technology would become “post-PC” and we would interact with technology in a whole new way.
The G Suite (or Google Suite) is ever evolving. Just over the past few months, users have noticed changes to the login screen, Google Sheets has had some cool upgrades, and there are a few new ways to share and collaborate on Team Drives. Because of this, the Google Apps can be hard to keep up with—they are numerous and some are easier to use than others.
Google Keep is one of the many apps in the G Suite, but it isn’t one that pops up on the default screen, so it may not be known as well. It may take a little digging in order find all the bells and whistles to it, but I have found that it is a really useful tool.
One of the best parts of the Google platform is that it is constantly improving and changing. I guess that is probably an opinion statement, as sometimes these changes can be frustrating—for example, when buttons move or formatting options come and go. This can be a headache, but overall, I feel the Google Suite options are much more robust than they were when I first started using them six year ago.
For me, the really amazing part is that Google actually takes feedback, listens to it, and acts on it to improve the product. Not that novel of an idea, I know, but the speed at which they can move in doing so sets them apart from others in the tech world. I’m not a Google salesperson—it does have its limitations and faults—but as a lifelong learner, I love the challenge of always having to keep up to date on the latest format.
From Flash Cards to Book Clubs, Google Apps Are a
Great Asset for Classrooms
There is no doubt that Google Apps is revolutionizing classrooms. This centralized platform of creation and collaboration makes group projects and teacher feedback easier. It also streamlines parent-teacher communication, making it easier to keep busy parents informed of their child's progress. Perhaps you have already integrated Google Docs and need ideas, or maybe it’s time to make use of this extraordinary tool. No matter where you are with the totally integrated paperless classroom, here are 25 hacks to start you off on your Google Apps journey.
If we could offer teachers something that would save them time, save the school money, communicate better with students and parents, help struggling learners, and impact the learning environment for students...would they consider using it? I’m guessing they would.
Our school district recently moved to the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) platform. Because I previously used GAFE, I knew the potential for improvement that this would bring to our school and our students.
GAFE Is Great
If you’ve been been using Google Classroom for the last few years, you’re probably already “sold” on why it’s a good thing to use. But if it’s new to you, you probably want to know the reasons why this change is a good thing for students. Here are some things to consider:
When it comes to working with student data, most tech-savvy educators know how powerful spreadsheets can be. A basic knowledge of formulas and functions makes it possible for a teacher to generate quality information, reports, and charts. But the typical teacher grade book doesn’t allow for much data manipulation. Student scores on particular assignments in a grade book don’t necessarily show teachers whether students have mastered the material.
While grade books are probably here to stay, there is an additional tool that can help teachers gather more information from their students’ grades, including student mastery and testing information. It’s the Conditional Formatting function in Google Sheets.
Tablets and Smartphones and Laptops – Oh, My!
There are so many devices to choose from for your classrooms. Sometimes it is really hard to know what makes one a better choice than others. And by “better,” I mean a better fit for your educators’ and students’ needs, because that’s really what will determine what is the right device for you. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring the top reasons why you might want to choose one type of device over another. In this post we’ll focus on Chromebooks.
These days, everyone in education tech is talking about Chromebooks. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re really just inexpensive laptops running a Chrome OS. These devices are designed to be used primarily when connected to the Internet, though they have some functionality even offline. If you’re wondering whether you should buy them for your school, here’s a breakdown of the top pros and cons so you can better understand what these devices do or don’t offer.