Looking for ways to integrate technology into your classroom to deepen the learning and engagement level without having to alter the pedagogy and philosophy from which you teach? You may not have to go any further than Google! 🙂 Of course there are many other web tools that are extremely valuable. However, in this post, I will share how I make use of Google Apps for Education in our math class.
I plan to blog about most of the individual tools within the next few weeks, so be sure and follow my blog posts for more in depth ways to Googlize your classroom. Without further adieu, below are the top 10 ways that our class utilizes Google as a means for taking learning beyond just our own classroom.
1) Google Document – It is all about the collaboration in the classroom. Students can easily group up on a problem solving task and brainstorm their ideas, write down notes, post links from web research, and then work together to provide their final answer. We are not 1:1 with technology yet, but some schools use these Word Docs as the starting place for most all student written work. This allows them to continue it anywhere (even offline).
2) Google Spreadsheet – For math tasks, a spreadsheet is often easier to layout questions and problems while providing succinct space for inputting answers. Here is a math warm-up example, the day after looking at percents. As class began, student groups split up the 20 questions by copy-pasting their name next to the ones they wanted to complete. Then, after about 2-3 minutes, they clicked on the TAB at the bottom that corresponded to their group. The entire time, the spreadsheet was also projected on the SMART Board, where I was able to control it from my iPad. I could glance at either to check group progress while still checking in with individuals at the beginning of class.
3) Google Forms – Besides surveys (teachers, take this one please), we have used these for graphing data, check in/out procedures, a contact me form, exit tickets, submitting and getting instant feedback on answers, grading presentations, and student self-reflections and goal setting. Did you know that you can use Google Forms to automatically differentiate a lesson, assignment, or practice questions for groups of students? Based on student response to a question or set of questions, they will be taken to separate pages, of your choosing, on the form. I am just beginning to play with this feature, and the options and ideas are limitless!
4) Google Drive – Access files from school, home, mobile device, etc. Plus, you can work on files offline and have them sync the next time you have internet access. Not yet used in math class, but there is an option to either create a drawing or presentation, as well. Could work great if you are having students work on a group presentation. Share student work with parents.
5) Google Sites – The home of our class website! Leave it static with general information about your class, use it as a class file storage system for public access, or insert a feed and provide daily updates on classwork and assignments.
6) Google Calendar – I used this for long term lesson planning, so I opened it up for the public to view as well. Students and parents can stay on top of upcoming events, projects, tests, and due dates. This next year, our sixth grade team will look to collaborate on one group calendar where we post all major due dates, quizzes, and tests. This will provide a glimpse of what student workloads look like each week. “Oh, there are four tests for 6th graders scheduled on Thursday! Who can move theirs?”…
7) Google Blogger – Create your own class blog, professional blog, or have student blogs. I personally use the Edublogs platform, due to the ability to control student accounts. This will be our first year of having student blogs in math class, as their online digital portfolio.
8) Google Reader – Increase your PLN network and subscribe to other amazing teachers to gain insight, ideas, and effective teaching practices in classrooms outside your district. Place a feed on your class website of blogs you want your students to follow. Or, as in our class, subscribe to all your student blogs to know when updates are made.
9) Goo.gl – The Google short URL and QR code generator. I love using this in conjunction with Google Sites. I upload any document to Google Sites and create a QR code for that link. I can then update and/or change the document and re-upload as many times as I want without having to create/print a new QR code. The original still works!! Perfect for daily math warm-ups. As students come to class each day, they scan the same QR code before the bell rings, yet have a different warm problem from the previous day.
10) Google Earth – I have just started playing with this for use in my ratios and proportions unit, in conjunction with area problem solving tasks. The Measure Map app allows you to quickly select any piece of land, building, object and find the dimensions. Check them out, and please pass on additional ideas!
11) Chrome Web Browser – Yes, this is #11, but I wanted to share one more tip. Chrome, besides being the best, has the option for synced accounts. Students can bookmark links at school or home and instantly have them available on the other end. One frustrating aspect of students learning to navigate the web for information can be losing the information they found. Bookmark it, and then access it from anywhere.
There is more out there. Have you used Google Groups, Sketch Up, or Picasa in your classroom? Please share with Technology Integration for Math Engagement readers. How about Google Books? And even Google Play; you can provide links to free educational (math) games that can be added to their androids. They love this!