Monday, March 22, 2010

Willard East Intro to Google Apps for Education

(Cross posted on my staff memo.)

Some of you might wonder when I am going to share the incredible amount of information I gained at Google Teacher Academy for Administrators. Well here is a brief intro:)

FREE Webinar Wed. March 24th 1:00 PM – You must register to attend but you are welcome to register immediately preceding the event I am sure. This particular webinar is supposed to be different. Past webinars have been about the “free” and how to get it. Well Willard already has it! The focus of this webinar is how HS teachers in one Chicago area school are using the Apps tools in innovative ways.

Google Apps is something that will be very beneficial to our school and students. The Teaching Specialists have a workshop planned for this AFTER school is out for the year. You are welcome to request an access password from Matt R. if you would like to start looking around now. Here are my thoughts about this process:

  • This process could involve students. Not sure the students need to go through training with the teachers but the students would benefit from ownership of these tools. (Janetta added some really cool extra Apps!)
  • Cloud computing – Saving all your work online (in a virtual cloud) so you can have it anytime, anywhere there is Internet access. Students can log in from home and work on projects. Teachers can work on documents from home and school without trying to remember which flash drive they save work on and where that flash drive is:)Get Your Google On - _Google Docs_
  • Calendar - I have been using Google calendar for 4 years, I think. How has that worked for you? Has that been beneficial? There have been some glitches and your principal forgets to put things on the calendar but other than that, what would happen if I deleted our Google calendars? Yikes! Maybe we could have used Google calendar for the Math Diary mapping? Just a thought. Could you embed calendars on your class website of things going on specifically within your classroom and/or grade level?
  • Google Docs – This includes Presentations, Spreadsheets, Forms, and Docs. If you click on each of those you will see how we have already used those tools at Willard East. How can you or your students use these tools in innovative ways? These tools can make your work life more efficient but can also give students a chance to “log in” at home. SOME students would take advantage of that.
  • Sites - Sites has been challenging for me. Matt has worked with Lisa and Andrea on sites and they might have a little more understanding than I do. I have abandon sites 3-4 times now.:) You can click on my “sample site” but Matt has done most of the work. I “shared” it with him as a collaborator so he can help me out. Somewhere out there is a Google site created by students for Readers’ Workshop. It is “private” within another school’s district domain so I am not able to share a link. I believe it was created by 4th graders. My absolute favorite “site” is “Living on a Cloud.” It is set up like a book with the chapters as links in the sidebar. VERY COOL!

Again, think of this as my brief introduction to Google Apps. There is so much more to tell you but this can at least get the creative juices flowing around our building. One or more of you may decide to dive right in due to the possibilities you see. Don’t wait for me! Lots of schools are eagerly awaiting elementary school ideas they can share with their teachers. Matt is an excellent resource when it comes to transferring the use of the tool to innovative teaching strategies so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with him when he is our building.

Welcome to the future! I hope you are enjoying your Spring Break. It looks like the weather is going to get better after all:)

Melinda