Reading, Teaching, Learning

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DigitLit Sunday - Google


      I love that Margaret Simon has started a Sunday Link Up for posts about digital literacy at her blog to challenge us to share our technology journeys.  
 
     I spent my second week of summer break going to my district's Google training.  We laughed about now easy it is to sign up for something like that in April and it hit you like a brick in June.  However, our in-house trainers were great.  They made it easy, fun, and taught us a ton about how to use Google effectively in our classrooms.
 
     Our district went to Google about a year ago and started investing in Chromebooks.  They are organized in carts and can be checked out through Google calendars.  We are fortunate that new Chromebook carts are being purchased frequently, so though we are not a 1 to 1 school, we have many computers available to our students.  Each student and teacher was given a Gmail address, and we went from Outlook to Gmail for our e-mail correspondence.   As more and more teachers take the Google training, the more they realize how much they like it. 
 
     The first day we started with the basics involving Gmail and calendars.  We moved on to how to make forms, quizzes, and documents.  I was familiar with Google Docs since my writing partner, Megan, and I use them to work on our potential book.  We love how we can collaborate on one document and use the chat feature while we work in our separate houses.  David Etkin and I used Google Video Chat to plan our #ReadWalkWater project with several other teachers.  I also used Docs this past school year for writing and reading workshop and loved that my students could share their writing with me and each other, and we could comment, edit, and revise together.  I'm a big fan of how it reduced lugging around notebooks and papers.   In training, I learned a great new feature - the research option in which students can pull up research beside their documents, include it in their work, and  cite it instantly.  How exciting!  It is also fun to explore add-ons.  I'll be looking throughout the summer into which ones would be helpful in my literacy classroom.
 
     The last day was my favorite because one of the things that bothered me about students sharing their documents with me is the mess it created in my drive.  Hundreds of shared documents started "piling" up.  You can sort them into folders, but that is somewhat time consuming.  I loved learning about Doctopus. a Google add-on that helps you create a template for your assignment, sent it to students (we learned how to instantly gather e-mail addresses through a form at the beginning of the year), and then when they share them, they are instantly gathered in a folder.  You can include Goobrics, differentiate easily and privately, and more.  Yay!
 
     I'm excited to apply what I learned in the fall with my students.  I know I have a lot more to learn - Google is constantly updating and adding new features, but I know enough to know it will continue to be a great tool in our classrooms.  Tara Smith at Two Writing Teachers wrote a terrific blog post about using Google Docs in the writing workshop.  Please stop by and read it!
 
 

9 comments:

  1. Holly, Just wait for Google Classroom. I saw a presentation on it last week at a conference. It's AMAZING!!! It's free for schools and teachers and it will be available September (maybe earlier)!! Here's a link with a little preview: http://www.google.com/edu/classroom/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads-up on this! Looks exciting!

      Delete
  2. We're learning together. I had Chrome books in my room last year LOVED them! I am exploring Google but I never heard of these two add-ons. How exciting because those were the same problems I had. Thanks for posting - hopefully see you soon at CL retreat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so excited to be able to stay the whole time this year. :-)

      Delete
  3. After reading your post and Tara's, I feel our district is way behind the times on this. Do you have any idea of the expense to a district. Should I talk to someone about getting it? We do not have 1 to 1 computers, far from it. Right now we are just reeling from the governor's announcement that we will not be using Common Core which has been the plan for the last few years. Sorry, I digress. Looks like Google is making way into education in a positive way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think switching to Google is actually free, but Chromebooks are around $200 maybe? Cheaper than laptops or iPads. Don't you love how politicians just change their minds like that? Ugh.

      Delete
  4. I have loved using Google Apps for Education in my classroom too. It seems like I learn something new every time I turn around. :) I hadn't heard of those 2 add ons, so I'm excited to check them out. I'll see you later this week at the writing retreat. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent reflection on your tech and learning at your school. We are a GAFE school as well, although only the middle school language arts teacher takes advantage of it. It is so amazing. We use Teacher Dashboard by Hapara, and love it. It has some benefits that Google Classroom doesn't, but we do pay for it. It's worth it to monitor student work, glance at it quickly, and give feedback through its organization of student folders and work.

    ReplyDelete