August 07, 2014
5 Ways Google Tools Can Empower Teachers
There are about a million different ways to use all the great Google tools available for free in your classroom. Whether you’re bringing your classroom into the 21st century by making it paperless or AppSmashing, even the simplest of Google tools offers you a wide array of ways to use it.
The Google suite of tools can be useful when you’re working with your students but also in more of a behind the scenes sort of way. We’ve put together a short list of some of our favorite ways these tools support teachers. If we’ve forgotten one of your favorites, let us know! Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.
Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate
When it comes to classroom materials, it is unlikely that you’re going to be the only person in your school to ever need similar materials. Work with other teachers in your grade or subject level to develop great materials together, and use the sharing features to see what each person has added/commented, etc. It’s like playing a scramble in golf – you get to pick the best of the best out of what everyone on the team has to offer.
Don’t Forget To Share What You Already Have
Even if you’re not working collaboratively to create classroom materials with other teachers in your school, that doesn’t mean you can’t share what you’ve made on your own. Do you ever save your classroom materials from class to class, year to year, so that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you teach a unit on “X”? Do you pull them out to refresh them when you need to use them again? If you create a shared repository, all teachers can have access to great materials to use and amend as they need.
Tracking and Sharing
You’ll notice a theme here – the super easy sharing features throughout Google’s tools are one of their biggest assets, particularly for teachers. Use Forms and Sheets to track attendance, grades, homework, and anything else pertinent to your students, and share with the students, other teachers, parents, and when appropriate, administrators. Everyone is in the loop.
You probably already know that you can assess your students using a variety of online tools (both assessing their work, and polling for their opinions, stories, etc). While that’s a great use of the tools, don’t stop there – you can use Forms and Sheets to do peer and administrative assessments for teachers, too. Feedback is important for teachers, too. This can be a great way to track your own goals and progress, as well.
Being a teacher often means juggling. Whether you have a number of different classes with different students, or just one, there are a ton of due dates, events, and other classroom happenings. Using a shared calendar can help everyone keep on top of the goings-on. You can choose to do this in a number of ways, but we’d recommend having a calendar for each class, that you share with just that class. You can show and hide any of the class calendars you create from your own Google calendar. This is generally a better option than using color coding, which can get pretty messy in a hurry.