I plan to force myself to learn and use a new shortcut each week!
One of the most useful of Google’s free “Apps” is Google Forms. They’re a great way to collect information – from the public – but also students, staff, and any stakeholder in between. This past year, Google has changed the way Forms works and looks, and this guide is an excellent resource if you’ve been intimidated by creating forms, or want good instructions on how to create forms using the new interface.
I’ve always believed that we can each lead through the choices we make. And those in leadership positions, whether they like it or not, are viewed especially by the choices they make. This came to light yesterday during a conversation during the audit of our Google Apps for Education Audit (GAFE).
The audit told us a lot about how we use Google Apps in our division. We learned who the biggest Google Docs user is (ahem, it was me), and who used up the most storage (hmm, Peter!). But that was really just trivia. We saw interesting things when you looked at things a different way. As it turns out, and our consultants echoed this for us, when building administrators embrace the tool and use it, teachers tend to follow.
It takes bravery to try and adopt a new tool. At first, I myself had a hard time launching a browser instead of a Word or Pages icon in the dock. But I’ve now been living so much in the “Google ecosystem” with cloud-based doc creation, that it simply has become habit. I know if I’m going to share something with someone, I now start “in the cloud.” And the think is, I like it now. I’ve always been in love with desktop applications — but I’ve come to realize the trade-offs are worth it, when you have the power of collaboration as the biggest feature. Part of this has been shown to me working through my doctoral program with colleagues from Henrico. Just last night we edited over 50 pages together in a Google Hangout using Google Drive. At one point I had to sit back and take stock, I could see and hear my colleagues in real time, and we were all editing the same documents simultaneously.
Our teachers in grades 3-5 at GES this year will be adopting new tools and pedagogies. I’m their biggest fans right now, and think they’re going to accomplish great things with our iPad initiative. I know Google Apps will be one of the tools they’ll come to rely upon. They’ll be leading with the choice of tools they adopt with kids.
I’d like to remind my colleagues wide, near, and far, that the simple choices you make can have an effect on what happens in a classroom. Things as simple as the choices of tools we use can inspire a teacher to use the same ones. And the effect can be a profound difference when it comes to the impact on instruction. Writing in Word and writing collaboratively in a Google Doc aren’t the same thing. It takes courage to make the change I am optimistic we can do it together.
This afternoon I’m leading a session on using Google Earth with kids–and making it interactive! We’ll look at building content within Google Earth, Google Lit Trips as one example, and even brainstorm more.
The file available for download is my Keynote presentation and a PDF version all zipped into one. Links are embedded in both for exploring even more resources online.
We have two Google Earth classes this winter/spring and I’m always amazed to learn more teachers aren’t using this tool!
It’s great for:
- hands-on map skills,
- elementary social studies standards (latitude, longitude, continents, bodies of water, regions, etc.),
- distance, units, measurement,
- history (historical maps, placeholders),
- place and location in literature (Google Lit Trips),
- change over time (satellite history),
- solar system (moon, mars, etc.),
- weather systems,
- all the third-party content (photos, articles, embedded videos, etc.),
- science (environment, oceans, research)
I’ve made a 11-ish minute video on just getting your feet wet with Google Earth. I hope if you have never tried it, it won’t scare you away. For me personally, Google Earth is a lot of fun to play with and to explore our planet with, and I think it would be that way for any curious student!
So where to begin after you start to play? We’ve compiled a great list of online resources both for learning what more you can do with Google Earth, and how you can use it at a variety of grade levels and in a variety of subject areas.
I hope you’ll join us at one of our sessions soon – on January 31, 2013 at GES with Krystle Demas and on March 13th with me, location TBD!
Looking for a way to keep track of teacher blogs more easily?
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