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Brenda's Blog


Google Goes to School:
Google Tools for Educators

Like many educators new to the use of technology in the classroom, using Google as a search tool quickly became a staple in my classroom. Over the past year, Google has stretched their search capabilities to include an abundance of open source web applications tailor-made for teachers. In fact, theyve called this new suite of tools Google for Educators.

The web application found within Google for Educators allow teachers and students to:

  • collaborate with their colleagues;
  • monitor and participate in discussions;
  • publish videos;
  • create PowerPoint presentation and web sites;
  • manage photos; and
  • monitor online data.

    Google has gone the extra mile by providing teachers guides and exciting examples of classroom teachers using Google Tools to support the use of technology as a mindtool. Those best practices demonstrate how Google applications, when are used alongside meaningful classroom instruction, can literally change the face of classroom instruction.

    Note: In order to access Google tools, you will need to register for a Google account.


    Google Docs
    This application allows two or more users to work collaboratively on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that have been uploaded to their Google work space. Invite someone to edit or contribute your document -- multiple people can join in and makes changes with revisions showing exactly who made the changes and when. An onscreen chat window allows users to discuss the additions and changes they are making. Google docs also has a spreadsheet survey feature that is very easy to use.

    About the Author

    Brenda Dyck is a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). In addition to teaching preservice teachers, Brenda is the moderator of MiddleTalk, a listserve sponsored by the National Middle School Association (NMSA). Her "HotLinks" column is a regular feature in NMSA's magazine, Middle Ground. Brenda also is a teacher-editor for MidLink magazine.
    Google Earth
    Geographical thinking has literally come alive for students though the use of Google Earth. Using a 3D model of the world, students can grab, spin and zoom down into any place on Earth," and by combining the Google search with satellite imagery, maps, and terrain, students and teachers have the opportunity to travel the real earth of explorations, migrations, heroes, and history and share new instruction growing on the planet itself. (Hall Davidson, Director, Discovery Educator Network)
  • Google News in the Classroom
    Staying abreast of current events is an important part of being a well-informed global citizen. Students can use Google News to scope out the top news stories of the day by bringing together a plethora of news sources from around the world. Especially useful is the alert feature that will send customized news alerts to your e-mail.

    Blogging has never been so easy. Google Tools provide a user-friendly space for you and your students to journal and a place to post important information about your class assignments and upcoming tests.

    With images playing a bigger role in teaching and learning, this application from Google helps users locate, organize, edit, and share photos. Used in connection with Flickr, Picassa arms students with the ability to create innovative mindmaps that will deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts.

    Imagine having your students create 3-D models of buildings or specific environments? The SketchUp Crib Sheet helps students create 3-D buildings, visualize mathematical concepts, and bring to life scientific principles. Want to know more? Check out the video podcast from MacBreak.

    Also check out these Examples of other Google Tools for Educators.


    A Place in Time With Google Tools
    Explore with your students the power of images and their impact on history as they research, select, and evaluate photographs in an interactive and collaborative lesson."
    ~ Google for Educators Classroom Activities

    Google Lit Trips
    Explore literature through Google Earth, flying between places mentioned in the books."
    ~ Jerome Burg, Teacher

    Charting with Google Spreadsheets
    Incorporate the interactivity of Google Spreadsheets into your classroomThis sample lesson demonstrates how World History or Contemporary Issues classes can benefit from this tool."
    ~ Google for Educators Classroom Activities

    Its very apparent that Goggle still has a number of application ideas on the drawing board. Their Google Labs site showcases ideas that are still in the planning stages and invites users to play with these prototypes and send your comments directly to the Googlers who developed them."

    Doodle for Google

    Author: Brenda Dyck
    Education World®
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