Friday, August 15, 2014

6 Ready-to-Go Ideas for Using Google Apps Back to School this Fall

Guest Blogger Rolland Chidiac

With a new school year about to start I am filled with excitement about what is to come. As my students and I embarked on blending our learning and using Google Apps for Education to create content and collaborate, we discovered new and exciting ways to meet our learning goals and have fun at the same time.

My students were introduced to Google Apps for Education (GAFE) late in 2013 but that didn't stop them from learning the tools and using them innovatively.

They used Google Docs to write friendly letters (mostly to Santa). I was able to provide them with "real time" feedback and we were able to share their work with their parents instantly. It was a great way to get our feet wet with GAFE while working on components of the writing curriculum. 

They used Google Presentations to show their learning in Social Studies - each student got their own slide to invent their own holiday. Then we put the work into a single presentation and shared it with other students and teachers. You can see the entire presentation by clicking on the picture below.

We used Google Docs to work together on challenges in real time. We were able to collaborate and learn from each other by working in the same document to create 3D Geometry riddles. It allowed the opportunity to provide feedback to the students by leaving comments in the Doc that would assist them and that they could refer to at their leisure.

In Mathematics they created surveys and bar graphs as they applied what they were learning around Data Management. It was a great way for them to start learning how to use Forms and Spreadsheets to show their learning.

At the start of of exploration we were learning how to use the tools to benefit our learning in a linear fashion. After we had time and experience with a variety of apps we started to become more dynamic in our use of the technology. I blogged about this and called it Blended Learning via GAFE 2.0. We used our LMS site to incorporate a YouTube video, Google Form, and a link to a shared Google Doc where students would share their work so that their classmates could see what they were doing and provide them with helpful feedback. When I think back to that time I am pleased with how far my students and I had come - a nice indication of our advancement with respect to Blended Learning, the use of GAFE, and the use of our Chromebooks.

Aside from the great learning that was happening in the classroom, many of the students were supplementing their learning on their time at home. My students were so interested that they had empowered themselves to use GAFE at home because of its creative and collaborative nature. They would share their work with me and sometimes ask for feedback.

There are many more examples of the positive change that GAFE and blended learning has contributed to over the last school year. I have blogged about many of our experiences so please feel free to check the site out and let me know what you think.

The sky is the limit when students have tools to help them become more creative and innovative and I look forward to being part of the new learning journey my students and I will be on with the start of the new school year.


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