Yes, big brother may be watching you. But big brother is also incredibly clever and offers a lot of useful tools, all of them free. So I have given up and I’ve embraced my big brother….
- Here is a overview of all Google tools available for educators: http://electronicportfolios.com/google/
- And a Google for Educators page from Google itself: http://www.google.com/educators/tools.html
- I use it all the time: Google docs
- Google Data, incredible representations of data, very useful for students. Also see the guru of presenting data: Hans Rosling
- Google search insight, find out what, where and how the world is searching.
- Use Google Docs to create documents, spreadsheets, forms (polls/surveys) and presentations online.
- Ideal for students working together on presentations and assignments.
- Have the students share the document with their group members AND you, that way you can see who has edited what and you can keep tabs on how their group work is progressing.
- Existing documents can be uploaded and edited in Google Docs, including: DOC, XLS, PPT, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, etc.
- Students can work together on one document, at the same time.
- It automatically records who does what, so an excellent way to assess and monitor who does the work.
Note: to use Google Docs you need a Google account.
It is a good idea to have all students create a new account with their real names and their school email address, they don’t need to create a gmail address.
Set creating a username and password as homework, it may take students a while to get it all up and going.
Using Google Docs (Drive) in the classroom
- Google Drive has nearly all the features of Microsoft Word/Excel or PPT, but with an important added advantage: you can share their work easily, access your work from any computer and never lose your work again: everything is saved automatically.
- Students can collaborate on a variety of assignments easily, making for enthusiastic students and improved writing.
- To set up an account, go to docs.google.com. Instructions for setting it up are on the site.
- Students can either set up a Gmail email account or create a Google Account with their existing email address. For a Google Account, they just enter their present email address and select a password.
- Source: http://www.google.com/educators/learning_materials/WR_cribsheet.pdf
Quizzes and surveys (Forms) in Google Docs
Google Forms (part of Google Drive) works superbly well as a quick check-for-understanding tool or a way to gauge where they are at.
Here are some examples:
- 70 different ways of using Google Forms in the classroom
- Year 8 Computers: https://spreadsheets.google.com
- Student evaluation in Year 11 (Great thing to do just before report writing time)
- Make writing homeroom / ture reports easier; use a Google form to collect the students’ answers; they write much more online than they do on those paper versions.
- Have not tried this yet: Creating a self grading quiz with google docs