As I continue to watch the evolution of working in the cloud, I get really excited by both the possibilities for educators and students. The idea of the paperless classroom, while not a new concept, is certainly more appealing when you have an integrated creation and storage solution ala Google Drive. When everything is baked in, you no longer have to come up with workarounds to suit the needs of your students and/or colleagues.
As of this writing, there are two mathematics applications as add ons for Google Drive--Geogebra and Graphing Calculator by Desmos that allow students (and teachers) to both create and store their work online. The former has long been available as a desktop application and is used extensively in online courses and classrooms worldwide. Desmos is a more recent entry into the space having developed web applications and Chrome Apps over the past couple of years. Both are simply awesome when used through Google Drive.
Geogebra is dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that combines geometry, algebra, graphing, and calculus. The software is free and open source and has only recently been ported over to Chrome and Drive. While the Drive app doesn’t yet offer all of the functionality available in the desktop application, that’s no reason to ignore this diamond in the rough. The authoring tool also allows users to create and share interactive online learning materials through the GeogebraTube repository. Having students develop their own learning materials and contributing to the repository would certainly be a great way to develop higher order thinking skills.
GRAPHING CALCULATOR BY DESMOS
The Graphing Calculator Drive App is a boon for both students and teachers. While also not entirely new, this application started out as a website, then became a Chrome App, and is now a full fledged Drive App. This HTML5 app is slick, fast, and powerful--just what the students need to replace their expensive TI graphing calculators.
Creating, graphing, and sharing student work with this app is incredibly quick and easy. Want to save it Google Drive? Check. Want to also post it to Twitter or Facebook? Check. Care to save the graph as an image for your Google Presentation? Check.
If you're interested in learning more about this application, I’d recommend Audrey Watters’ review of it over at Hack Education or the blog post over at Desmos. I think they're doing great things over at Desmos and I hope they are around for a long time to come.
BONUS MATH APP!
Bonus app for use with geometry students: Floor Planner
To learn more about Drive Apps, start here or join us for a Google Apps in Education Summit in your region. I'll be leading a Google Drive workshop at each event and hope to see you there!