Today I ran the FIRST lot of Google Apps training for Gilroy staff, the training was run in period sessions in small faculty groups. The Google apps are run through our new landing page CLASSM8 - it was a busy day exploring the apps we have available to us and an exciting start to our Google journey.
The key focus of today was to: demonstrate the TOOLS and APPS that GOOGLE host that could enrich our resources, add to our teacher tool kits and to find ways to make us more efficient!
Each faculty had a session that was tailored to them based on their curriculum and existing levels of technology implementation. Some highlights from todays sessions were:
- Using Google Drive INSTEAD of Edmodo library!
Edmodo is a common LMS for us at Gilroy, however, its file storage system does not suit all staff. SO – I demonstrated how ALL of the files required for a unit could be stored in ONE resource folder in a Google drive. Then the LINK for that folder could be shared on Edmodo with students! This means that ALL file types can be supported regardless of file size (PDF, docs and videos) AND if the file link is shared with teachers they can ALL add in cool resources that students either use in class or as extra material to study/revise.
- Using Google Calendar to manage faculty events
Faculties such as PDHPE and CAPA run many activities over and above their class load – I demonstrated how Google calendar could be used to manage faculty events such as rehearsals, try-outs, training, games and performances. They key idea behind using Google Calendar in a faculty is that MANY staff could edit/admin the calendar and MANY students could subscribe on their devices and be reminded of events they are involved in!
- Using Blogger with class groups
Blogging is an excellent way of getting students to write and digitally author their work, blogs can have a public audience or they can be used as a means to check and practice responses. We found lots of purposes for blogging today – responding to articles with an argument, analysing artworks, journaling a process, documenting a PIP, collating a digital portfolio and general online “showing off” ! - we used theYear 7 Blog as an example of how students LIKE to write online and compared the features of both KidBlog and Blogger.
- Using Google Groups to communicate across campuses!
I demonstrated how Google Groups would be a perfect tool to start a cross-campus dialogue between students. For example Groups could be used in a Visual Arts classroom to discuss artworks by students across different schools- WHY? to encourage a dialogue that expresses a written opinion and to also listen to others (outside their class-group), and to independently talk about something that could be topical or subjective (ie: tackling something difficult WITHOUT teacher prompting). It would also practice safe digital communication (still easily moderated by a teacher administrator) and encourage collaboration.
Other google tools beyond apps that were shared today:
- Using Google Maps for historical imagery: http://www.google.com.au/earth/explore/showcase/historical.ht
- Taking a tour of world heritage sites, artworks and historical moments with the Google Cultural Institute: http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/project/art-project
- Using Google News tailored to stream only certain sections/relevant topics of interest: https://news.google.com.au/news
- Google Scholar as an online reference tool – http://scholar.google.com.au/
- Google Science Fair for lesson ideas and resources: https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/2013/
What do YOU use Google for in your classroom??