It's Elementary, My Dear Watson: Effective Ways to Engage Younger Students Using Google Apps

Editor's note: Today's blog post is a guest article from +Nick Rojas, a journalist from Los Angeles, CA. Here he illustrates simple yet engaging ways to use Google Apps in the classroom.

(Image courtesy of Flickr)
It’s no secret that recent technological changes have altered the face of childhood education. Walk into a classroom these days and you will see laptops, tablets, and even smart phones in addition to the workbooks and classical teaching tools. Computer literacy has become the norm even among very young students, and it is imperative that teachers keep up. To help with this, here are some simple yet engaging ways to use Google Apps for Education in the classroom.

Google Docs

Google Docs is perhaps the easiest of the Education Apps to implement into the classroom. Essentially, it functions as a web-based word processor, allowing users to create, edit, and collaborate with each other in an online setting.

Google Docs is the perfect tool for collaborative writing and peer editing. Students can post a piece of their own writing and then other students can respond to constructive criticism as well as positive feedback. The teacher can track the comments, and can interject if necessary when criticism is too harsh, or the comments seem misdirected.

Google Docs can also be used to implement direct teacher-to-student commentary and editing. Teachers can directly edit posts from students through Google Docs, and then the student can make the changes immediately. Using this feature effectively keeps students engaged and excited about their own work because they can receive input almost immediately, and projects are less likely to feel stale. In addition, the revision history option in Docs helps busy teachers hold every student accountable for their own work.

Perhaps one of the most engaging features in Google Docs is the publishing capability. Students are able to publish and share their own writing with a wide audience, so there is an added incentive for children to take pride in their work.

Google Docs can be used to contact parents as well. Keeping parents directly connected to their child’s school work is extremely important. When the parents are involved, children tend to succeed in the classroom. With Google Docs, parents can see comments from the teacher, and are also able to experience their child’s individual learning process as the post develops.

Teachers can also use Google Docs to compose letters to parents, mitigating the risk of something important getting misplaced between school and the home. The translate tool in Docs can even be used to compose letters or quick comments in different languages, assisting parents who may not speak English or may speak it as their second language, and allowing them to participate in their children’s education, which will benefit everyone involved.

(image courtesy of Flickr)
Google Forms:

Google Forms, which is a part of the Google Docs Suite, is another particularly effective classroom tool. Forms is a very efficient tool when teaching the scientific method. With Forms, children can create and send out a questionnaire or survey, and the data is collected into a Google Docs spreadsheet. Have students prepare a survey question, and come up with a relevant hypothesis. Students then send out their surveys and Forms collects all the data. Students can then easily access and interpret the data, create related tables and graphs, and come to their conclusion. Although students should certainly be taught data collection methods, Google Forms allows teachers to expedites the data-collection process for later experiments and projects, giving students more time to actually analyze their data and come to logical conclusions about their question and hypothesis.

Students can also use Forms to be active leaders in planning school activities and projects. Forms can be used to gather information and preferences about an event. Put students in charge of something fun and exciting, for example a birthday celebration or a field trip. Let them create surveys with possible options, and gather the class options. Then assist them through fully planning and hosting the event. Students will feel engaged and excited because they get to be a part of the decision making process, while also developing important planning and administrative skills they can use in the future.

At the End of the Day:

There’s no denying it, learning new classroom tools can be scary. However, teachers should embrace bringing innovative technology into the classroom. The trick is to remain open minded and creative, and always keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with learning alongside your students, as long as everyone benefits in the end.

About the Guest Author:

Nick Rojas is a journalist from Los Angeles, California. His work often covers technology, social media, and small business strategies.
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Appsevents Announce Electronic Badges for Summit Speakers and Host Schools

Have you spoken or are speaking at a 2014 summit? We are delighted to announce our 'Summit Speaker' electronic badges that speakers can add to their blog, sites, presentations, email signatures etc.

From now on, these will be emailed to all speakers before each summit, including instructions on how to use them. Interested in presenting? Submit your proposals!


As for schools that have hosted an AppsEvents Summit, a Google Apps EDU Certification Preparation Bootcamp or a Google Cloud Camp, we will also be emailing the ‘AppsEvents Host School’ electronic badge.

Contact us if you'd like to host a summit, certification bootcamp or customized Professional Development Workshop. We offer several options for your school, college, or organization to host an event. Check out your options here.
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Google Classroom: FAQ

by +Sarah Woods

This is another in our series of posts about Google Classroom! See links to complete series at the end of this post.

We're starting this FAQ with the questions we had, but please add your questions in the comments and we'll try to answer them! Also, please keep in mind that we're looking at the preview of Google classroom, so hopefully the answers to some of these questions will change!



Can teachers add other things to comments or just text?

Comments are text only. Hopefully this will be expanded later!


Is there some kind of gradebook when there is more than one assignment?

There doesn't seem to be a gradebook at all. We're hoping this will come with the full release. Right now, you have to go back to each assignment to review grades, which would be a real pain a few months down the road! This is another thing we're hoping to see extended with the full release!

Do you get an email when a grade is returned from the teacher?

Yes, you do! Teachers decide when to release grades (called "return") and students get a nifty email with a link to their work!

Do assignments show up on your calendar?

They don't. We're hoping this will come with the full release!

Can you turn things in past the due date?

Yes, but they show as overdue to the student in their stream (with a RED triangle!) and for the teacher the submission date and time show with the turned in assignments so there's no question if they're late. However, there doesn't seem to be a way to stop or start submissions, so once you make an assignment, it's on and available. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably a good thing - we need to move away from control in the direction of open learning!

Can you have more than one teacher in a class?

There's no administration preview, so we don't really know what the end plan for this is. Looking at Google Classroom right now, a teacher can't add another teacher.

See more:

UPDATE:

Lots of interesting changes to Google Classroom recently. Make sure to check out our comprehensive online course on Google Classroom by Google in Education guru Allison Mollica. The course will help you get up to speed with ‘Google Classroom’ and features video lessons with an online quiz after each video chapter to test your knowledge. The course is being updated regularly to reflect the most recent changes. Get access here: http://goo.gl/ddspKc

All our upcoming summits will have a dedicated session about Google Classroom. If you want to learn best practices from Google Certified Teachers and Google Certified Trainers, register for a Google in Education Summit in your area! We will also be running Classroom Workshops soon. Use the sign up form below to get exclusive updates from us.
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5 Problems Google Classroom Solves Right Now

- by +Sarah Woods 

This is another post in our series previewing Google Classroom!


5 Problems Google Classroom Solves Right Now

1
It creates one central place where you can post resources, assignments, and other class information.
2
Feedback on announcements and assignments - student can comment on your posts and help each other understand if an assignment doesn’t make sense.
3
You don’t have to create folders and deal with permissions for assignments in Google drive.
4
You can have discussions in context of a topic without separate accounts for clunky message boards.
5
Teachers can see right away who has turned in an assignment and who hasn’t - and can email them right away!

See more:


UPDATE:
Lots of interesting changes to Google Classroom recently. Make sure to check out our comprehensive online course on Google Classroom by Google in Education guru Allison Mollica. The course will help you get up to speed with ‘Google Classroom’ and features video lessons with an online quiz after each video chapter to test your knowledge. The course is being updated regularly to reflect the most recent changes. Get access here: http://goo.gl/ddspKc

All our upcoming summits will have a dedicated session about Google Classroom. If you want to learn best practices from Google Certified Teachers and Google Certified Trainers, register for a Google in Education Summit in your area! We will also be running Classroom Workshops soon. Use the sign up form below to get exclusive updates from us.
Read more ...

4 Ways to Impact Your Students’ Learning Experiences Using Google Classroom

-by +Sarah Woods

This is another in our series of posts previewing Google Classroom!


4 Ways to Impact Your Students’ Learning Experiences Using Google Classroom

1
Language classes can have discussions in the class language! Imagine getting your students discussion topics and assignments amongsth themselves in the language they are learning!
2
Students know what’s going on! You have one place where students need to look to stay on top of their classwork. Sentences that will become a thing of the past:  “The dog ate my homework” “I lost my USB drive” "I couldn't figure out how to share it"
3
Students aren’t held back by the device they’re using! Any device that has internet access can use Google Classroom - PC, MAC, Linux, Chromebook, Smartphones...anything goes!
4
Differentiation by media! You can give all your assignments media aspects for those students who learn best with sounds and images. Link to Khan Academy, Youtube, or make your own and share away with your students to enrich their learning experiences without messing links, folders, lost files and  sharing permissions confusion.

See more:


UPDATE:
Lots of interesting changes to Google Classroom recently. Make sure to check out our comprehensive online course on Google Classroom by Google in Education guru Allison Mollica. The course will help you get up to speed with ‘Google Classroom’ and features video lessons with an online quiz after each video chapter to test your knowledge. The course is being updated regularly to reflect the most recent changes. Get access here: http://goo.gl/ddspKc

All our upcoming summits will have a dedicated session about Google Classroom. If you want to learn best practices from Google Certified Teachers and Google Certified Trainers, register for a Google in Education Summit in your area! We will also be running Classroom Workshops soon. Use the sign up form below to get exclusive updates from us.
Read more ...

6 Things You Can’t Do with Google Classroom...Yet

- by +Sarah Woods 

This is another in our series of Google Classroom preview posts!


6 Things You Can’t Do with Google Classroom...Yet

1
You can’t add people from outside the domain
2
You can’t grade by rubric or multiple criteria, which really limits grading. You can change the number value by clicking on the “point value” 100 and typing the number you want.
3
You can’t automatically comment on the submitted documents (they are shared with the teacher view only by default).
4
So far, there’s no gradebook. Keeping track of student grades outside of assignments isn’t going to be easy. You’ll have to look at each assignment and look at the grades. (But since there’s no rubric/multiple criteria option, this may not be an issue for most teachers because they won’t use the grading.)
5
You can’t have multiple teachers for a class - you can only add students. There doesn’t seem to be an administrative option, so you can’t add classes other than your own. Actually, you can even add another class for yourself. Hopefully this will be resolved with the full release.
6
Assignments don’t show up in students’ Google calendars.

See more:


UPDATE:
Lots of interesting changes to Google Classroom recently. Make sure to check out our comprehensive online course on Google Classroom by Google in Education guru Allison Mollica. The course will help you get up to speed with ‘Google Classroom’ and features video lessons with an online quiz after each video chapter to test your knowledge. The course is being updated regularly to reflect the most recent changes. Get access here: http://goo.gl/ddspKc

All our upcoming summits will have a dedicated session about Google Classroom. If you want to learn best practices from Google Certified Teachers and Google Certified Trainers, register for a Google in Education Summit in your area! We will also be running Classroom Workshops soon. Use the sign up form below to get exclusive updates from us.
Read more ...

Google Classroom: From the Student's Perspective

-by +Sarah Woods

This is the second of a series of blog posts based on a first look at Google Classroom (for part 1 click here). We know we're looking at a sneak peek, so it may not have all the features Google intends, but we still thought you'd like to see what there is!


Google Classroom: From the Student's Perspective


Seeing their classmates

If they click on Students at the top of the page, they can see a list of their classmates.


Looking at Assignments

Assignments show up in the students’ stream looking like this:


They can comment on the assignment, view all the files, and if they click open, they can submit their assignments.

Submitting Assignments

When they’re ready to get started on an assignment, they can click on Add to add an existing Google Drive file, Link, or Upload a file.


They can click Create to make a new Google Doc, Presentation, Spreadsheet or Drawing that will automatically be in the right folder with permissions for their teacher to View it.


Once they’re ready to turn in their assignment, they click on turn in and have the option to add a comment to the assignment before they turn it in.


Once it’s turned in, they can’t make changes to the assignment.

Participating in Discussions

Students can comment on everything in their stream - Announcements and Assignments - and can edit and delete their own comments.

See more:


UPDATE:
Lots of interesting changes to Google Classroom recently. Make sure to check out our comprehensive online course on Google Classroom by Google in Education guru Allison Mollica. The course will help you get up to speed with ‘Google Classroom’ and features video lessons with an online quiz after each video chapter to test your knowledge. The course is being updated regularly to reflect the most recent changes. Get access here: http://goo.gl/ddspKc

All our upcoming summits will have a dedicated session about Google Classroom. If you want to learn best practices from Google Certified Teachers and Google Certified Trainers, register for a Google in Education Summit in your area! We will also be running Classroom Workshops soon. Use the sign up form below to get exclusive updates from us.
Read more ...

Google Classroom: From the Teacher's Perspective

by +Sarah Woods

This is the first of a series of blog posts based on a first look at Google Classroom. We know we're looking at a sneak peek, so it may not have all the features Google intends, but we still thought you'd like to see what there is!


Google Classroom: From the Teacher's Perspective

Announcements and Assignments: the flow of your stream

Google Classroom is set up as a “stream” much like we see on Google plus. The teacher adds both “Announcements” and “Assignments” as posts and then students can comment on both types of posts.

Announcements look like this:


The purpose of an announcement is to add something to the stream that your class can look at and comment on. For example, if you wanted your students to watch a Youtube video of a cat playing piano and then to give their review of its musical skill.

Teachers can add files, drive files, Youtube videos, and web links.

Students can comment on Announcements, creating a discussion amongst themselves about a post.

Assignments look like this:


The purpose of an assignment is to add something that everyone in the class needs to submit something to. This is a “do” kind of post where you can give a task and each student needs to respond to the task.

Teachers can add files, drive files, Youtube videos and links and students can submit existing drive docs, links, and upload files as well as creating new docs, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings.

Students can comment on Assignments, creating a discussion amongst themselves about a post.

Assignments: delving into the work

When a teacher creates an assignment, it looks like this:


Multiple attachments can be added to one assignment.

The teacher can edit or delete the assignment by clicking here on the three dots to the right of the due date in the right hand corner of the assignment.


All assignments are on a specific points system (you can find this by clicking on “edit assignment”

Once an assignment is posted, it looks like this:


If you click on the title of the assignment (to show all students), the number turned in (to show only students who have turned in the assignment) or the number not turned in (to show students who have NOT turned in the assignment), it takes you to the “Student Submissions page” which looks like this, showing the status of their assignments:


If you select certain students and click “email”, you can email those students. If you click “folder”, it takes you to the Google Drive folder where the files are located. If you click download, you can download all the assignments.

Click on a student to view their assignment and to add a grade and a comment:


To give the student a grade, just click under grade and start typing. Once you are ready to send grades to students, check the boxes next to all of the students that you want to notify and click the blue “return” button at the top of the page.


They will get an email with a link to the assignment.


See more:


UPDATE:
Lots of interesting changes to Google Classroom recently. Make sure to check out our comprehensive online course on Google Classroom by Google in Education guru Allison Mollica. The course will help you get up to speed with ‘Google Classroom’ and features video lessons with an online quiz after each video chapter to test your knowledge. The course is being updated regularly to reflect the most recent changes. Get access here: http://goo.gl/ddspKc

All our upcoming summits will have a dedicated session about Google Classroom. If you want to learn best practices from Google Certified Teachers and Google Certified Trainers, register for a Google in Education Summit in your area! We will also be running Classroom Workshops soon. Use the sign up form below to get exclusive updates from us.
Read more ...

Introducing AppsEvents Global Summit Partner 'Hapara'

We are delighted to have had Hapara as a great supporter of our summits and the Google in Education Community in general since our first ever summit in Prague 2012, and have had fun hanging out with the Hapara team literally across the world at our summits in Asia, Europe and the US.


Hapara is best known for their ground breaking TeacherDashboard which makes student learning visible for Google Apps using schools. The platform structures Google Apps around classes and students, creating a digital teaching and learning environment that fits the needs of each individual school. The dashboards give teachers the power to track student engagement and monitor student progress.

The video below gives an overview of Hapara's Teacher Dashboard.


With Hapara's tools, Google Apps becomes both easier to use and more effective. Teachers get the visibility they need to improve student outcomes in the moment, and students get the full benefits of a safe, collaborative, digital learning environment. With customers in 30+ countries, Hapara is the management platform of choice for Google Apps for Education.

You can meet with Hapara at our upcoming New Hampshire Summit. See the full list.
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Google Demo Slams Live-on-Air with Lee Webster

Slam demo.png
If you are constantly looking for fresh ideas on how to use Google products more efficiently in the classroom or new Google tricks to improve work productivity, tune-in to the Google Slam community by +Lee Webster.

The Google Slam community is a once a month live on air show where a group of educators from around the world get together and compete against each other by doing a demo slam on any Google Product via Hangouts. Each person has a 3 minute time limit after which the viewers vote to pick their favourite. It's a fun and interesting way of learning and the coolest part is you too can join!

If you want to take a peek at what happens during a Slam, you can check out Lee's YouTube channel and don't forget to subscribe too!

Lee Webster is a Google Certified Teacher and a core team member of AppsEvents. He is passionate about learning new tools that enhance learning and pushing the boundaries of education. He will be joining us on all three Asian summits this year (Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Vietnam summits) and has prepared exciting sessions about photo and video editing in Chrome, Google Maps Engine Lite, and more.


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Guest Blog Post: Lesser-Known Google Search Tips and Tricks for Students and Teachers

Editor’s note: Today’s article is a guest blog post from +Andrew Broadbent, Director of Search Marketing at Vab Media and one of our volunteers during the Connecticut Summit last June. His passion for “search” inspired him to create this blog post to help students and teachers be more effective in doing web research by harnessing the power of Google.



Google Certified teacher Carol Larow, conducted a presentation a few weeks ago at the Google For Education Summit held at Greenwich Country Day School. I am writing this post to give teachers and students a comprehensive overview on Google’s advanced web search features at the same time to make this article a reference. This post takes a lot from her presentation and from my own experience as a search marketer.

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Google Apps for Education 'Optimisation Audit' Process [Infographic]

We posted previously about our Google Apps for Education Optimization Audit where we analyze the Google Apps set-up for schools and recommend modifications based on analysis of the current set-up and incorporation of best practice from leading schools. We thought we would show our audit process here as it may be useful for schools who would like to develop a process to perform their own Google Apps 'audit' internally.


Click image for a larger view
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