Sunday, August 12, 2012

Google Tools For Educators--Bring 21st Century Technology Into Your Classroom For FREE!

This giant in technology has a seemingly infinite amount of resources for teachers so it is often no surprise that many teachers do not have enough time in their daily schedule to take advantage of many of the materials the site offers. 

Taking a "less is more approach," I have pulled out just one section dedicated to teachers and their students. 

One favorite is the teacher-generated custom search engine.  With this tool, the teacher selects the sites to be used in the index.  Searching only the sites you specify, your students bypass all the junk.  This takes time to develop, but it is well worth the effort since your students will be directed to approved sites with a lot less wasted time.  Think about how much such a tool would support an ELL in doing research in English in a content area subject.  Now, every site the student finds would be a legitimate one.

Google Earth is a geography teacher's dream come true.  With this tool, students are "transported" from their chairs to ANY point on earth with a few clicks of the keys.  Going to Egypt?  Care to see the Giza Pyramid?  Google earth will take them right to the spot.  Students can study the area from all angles just as a tourist would.  How about taking students back in time to London as it looked in 1580 A.D.?  You can do that here.  Google SKY is another feature.  With this, you can go planet hopping.  Mars is the most visited planet of late (Mars Curiosity).  Have students "walk" on other worlds. 

iGoogle allows teachers (and students) to gather great content in any subject area from all over the internet and store it in one place.  This type of customization personalizes internet content.  This is definite motivator for students to read more since they are collecting data of interest to them:)

Google Docs
Here students will have access to an online word processing program, power point editor, and a spreadsheet program for free.  They may work alone or collaboratively where each contributor/editor has a different color so that the original writer can keep track of who is involved in the revision process.  The best feature of all though is that everything is saved on an external server so that any of the writers can access the material from ANY computer ANYWHERE thanks to cloud computing.

GOOGLE FOR EDUCATORS APPS  Read more on all the goodies that Google has for teachers.   Explore them.  Play with them.   The more comfortable or confident a teacher feels with the tool, the more likely a teacher will use it in class:)

If you are still on vacation, try it out and have some fun with it.  Your students will love it I guarantee it!



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