Google It!

When the word Googled was placed in the Oxford Dictionary it became a reminder how Google has completely infiltrated our lives.  Many people are worried that Google will become the next “big brother” as they continue to collect information about us and sell that information to advertisers and the like.  While this may be something that needs to be monitored it does seem like it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore Google as both individuals and educators.

Google has recently stepped into the world of education with a host of resources to help teachers with classroom instruction.  This seems like a direct attack on Apple’s control of the education market.  Why should be care?  Because as teachers it makes a huge difference what platform we choose to incorporate in our classroom setting.  We know that we don’t have the choice and Hamilton has chosen gmail for our own e-mail accounts and have turned down iOS as an option.  It looks like Google is here to stay.  So how do we start?

Well we, as educators each have our own Google Account.  These Google Account give us access to a host of Google Applications that you should be familiar with and can really help us organize our teaching materials.  An application is a program that runs much like a webpage.   Google has online “cloud” versions of Microsoft Word and Excel.  That work very similar but have the advantage of accessibility.  There are some limitations but you can access them from any device as long as you have an internet connection.  You can also share them with others and allow others to edit and work on the same document, which is great for any collaborative work.  There are TONS of other applications and the list continues to grow.

Additionally, there is an advantage to using Google Chrome as your browser.  Most people use Internet Explorer or Safari as alternatives.  Google Applications work better and are easier to integrate in Chrome.  Additionally, Chrome offers a host of extensions that increase the tools that you can use for personal or professional use.  These tools include calculators, times, translators, e-readers, spell checkers and many more that make the experience of “surfing” the internet easier.

It is important that we begin to familiarize ourselves with these tools.  It is certain that they will become more and more part of the classroom experience.  Those who are early adopters will make the transition much easier on themselves.  It would be great to have all of our students create account for classroom use only as well.  There are numerous benefits for them to use these tools in order for them to organize their school work and to prepare them to be digitally literate citizens.

I have attached a host of resources, it may be too many for the novice, but you have to start somewhere.  Again, I am a resource if you would like some help.

Google Chrome Apps and Extensions

40 Ways to Use Google Apps in Education

20 Collaborative Google Apps Activities for Schools



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