When we first announced that our students and staff would have access to Google accounts this year many people asked me, “What can we do with Google?” The answer to that is varied. One of the things I like most about Google is its variety of tools and flexibility to meet many needs. So the question really becomes, “What are your learning objectives? And is there a way Google can help meet those needs?” As the semester progressed, the teachers and students of BurbankUSD found many interesting ways to put Google to use. Below are a few examples:
One of the least known tools within the Google Suite
is Google Draw. The applications in education are numerous. In one Kindergarten class, the teacher created a template,
which was shared with the students through Google Classroom. The students worked on both number identification and mouse skills as they manipulated the numbers into the correct order on the screen. Students were also excited when they learned how to change the color of those numbers.
A second grade class also explored the creative possibilities of Google Draw. After a short tutorial on some of the tools, students used the shapes to create animals and added text boxes to write about their work.
Another way Google Suite has been utilized is as a curation tool. A 3rd grade class has started developing a digital portfolio of their work utilizing Google Slides. Students imported a picture of a physical project they had completed in class. They typed a reflection about the project on the slide next to the picture. They will be adding slides to the portfolio as the year goes on. In the end they will have a nice way to demonstrate what they learned throughout the year. The teacher is planning to create QR codes so that she can easily share the digital work with parents at Open House.
Google Slides is also being used to aid in collaboration. A middle school Social Science class learned how to work in groups on a single slide show. One person created the slideshow in their Google account and then shared it with each member of their team. Each person was responsible for creating a slide with one section of information that they had studied the day before. In the end, each group had a slide show with all the information. Working like this required students to really communicate and work together so their finished project looked cohesive.
One of the benefits of Google tools is that teacher can now easily give “in the moment” feedback to students. Students at both the elementary and high school level are doing work in Google Docs which allows teachers to easily see and comment as the students are working. In the past, students would not receive this kind of feedback until the assignment or project was completed. However, the teacher can now easily scroll through the students’ work, even as they are sitting in class typing. In one high school classroom students are using Google Docs to do their daily agenda and warm up. In the past, the previous weeks’ warm- up was collected on Monday, reviewed by the teacher and returned. Now, the teacher is able to scan the students work throughout the week. This allows students to make corrections in the moment. Likewise, a 3rd grade class is using a table in Google Docs to organize their ideas as they research for their animal report. Having access to these documents as the students are working on them will allow the teacher to provide timely support, suggest edits and additional resources, as the students are working.
Teachers are also utilizing Google Forms on both the small and large scale. Several teachers have started giving quizzes and tests with Google Forms, either utilizing the self-grading feature within google forms or using the add-on Flubaroo. Google Forms was put to an even bigger test recently as Luther used the tool to collect votes for their Dancing with the Staff event. They collected 17,000 votes that night and used the results graph to determine the winner.
These are just a few of the ways teachers and students in Burbank are putting Google tools to work for them. Are you using Google tools in a really cool ways? Comment below and if you are a BUSD teacher, please invite me out to see what you and your students are up to!