Author Topic: How We can Collaborate Together in Education Using Google Apps?  (Read 1553 times)


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We are living in the 21st century where collaboration is considered as one of the most required skills no matter what profession you belong to. Companies, organizations and institutions are striving to get effective collaborators as their employees as in today’s world where everything is becoming open and worldwide, it is impossible to sustain without collaboration. At the same time educational institutions are looking for ways to implant this required skill among the students as the success of those students highly depend on it. Google Apps can play a vital role in influencing collaboration among students. There are of course other ways depending on the preference and perspective of the educational institutions and teachers but Google Apps are being used worldwide as an effective way out to promote collaboration among students and good news is it’s all within zero currency rate.

Let us forget about the price for a while and put priority in the bigger question first: why Google Apps? The answer is not just simple but also visible. Google Apps, specifically, Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Sites and Drawing are all shareable. Imagine if the whole class is in the same page and everyone is giving their inputs in the document in real time…the joy you will see in each student to be able to join in actively with the rest of the class is simply wonderful. It provides them an opportunity to contribute, learn from each other, share personal insights, opportunity to correct mistakes, think critically and creatively and above all ensures that they get real life experience of collaboration. Teachers can use Google Docs to teach students writing documents, creating group stories and poems, solving problems together, researching together, taking class notes together, Google Slides to teach group presentation, making interactive stories with alternative endings, gathering and present collective ideas, Google Forms to teach taking surveys, gathering data, Google Sheets to teach organizing, managing and analyzing data together, Google Sites to teach making e-portfolios, reflecting class learning and outcomes, doing and managing class projects, Google Drawings to teach playing with diagrams and shapes, making class comics, making mind maps together, making and presenting a timeline of historical events and so on. Teachers can also collaborate with students in various real life projects using Google Apps.

Working in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets are very similar to working in Office Word, PowerPoint, Excel but with the power to share and collaborate in real time. Documents can be shared through links or simply can invite to edit, comment or view through email. Teachers and students can also see who did what on a document through revision history which makes it easier to identify the contribution by each students. This can be useful for teachers to guide students individually and provide custom solutions for their learning.

With Google Apps the possibility to collaborate is endless. With the all new Google Classroom application for educational institutions, sharing files and contents among students and collaborating through Google Apps have become much more organized and easier. With these many collaborative options at teacher’s hands, Google Apps undoubtedly claim the position as one of the best solutions to teach students collaboration skill.

Now let us come back to the price…well Google Apps cost no money. In fact, Google is offering their services to teachers, students and institutions free of charge with extra benefits like unlimited cloud storage capacity, security and exclusive applications like Google Classroom through Google Apps for Education (GAFE) package. Questions may arise regarding the infrastructure that is required to ensure the use of Google apps in classroom but that is not a serious issue anymore as Google Apps like Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drive are all available for smart phones which presently most of the students have or can get access to easily. Educational institutions may also arrange smart phones for classes with very low budget to ensure the facility for their students. Also let’s not forget the release of Android One by Google which also is a prospect for educational institutions to form smart, engaging and collaborative classes for the students with very low budget.
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Monirul Islam

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Re: How We can Collaborate Together in Education Using Google Apps?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 03:00:21 PM »
Using Google apps in schools

You may have seen adverts for the cloud already. You may have heard it mentioned at meetings and wondered what it was all about. In a nutshell, it is about having tools – such as spreadsheets, word processing documents and website design applications – available to you wherever you are, providing you’re connected to the internet. This could be in your office, at home or on your phone while on the bus. Now, many people are not ready to move everything to the cloud just yet, but the tools are there to help increase productivity and enhance collaboration between staff and students.

Google produce tools such as Calendar, Docs and Sites that allow users to create content online and then share it with others. The term ‘Google Apps’ simply refers to all of these tools when packaged together under one roof. Schools can sign-up for Google Apps and be upgraded to the education account for free. This means all pupils can create websites, email each other and organise their diaries if they so wish. The school can decide which tools are turned on for different groups of users too; so, for example, Y2 might not have email available to them, but email is activated when the children have been taught how to use it sensibly in Y3.

One thing to be aware of is that Google Apps is not aimed at children, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Our children prefer to use a ‘grownup’ solution and they manage to find their way around quite quickly and easily. So what are the main tools that are part of Google Apps?

DOCS This can be used to create documents, spreadsheets or presentations online. These can then be shared with other users within the school to make them collaborative. Imagine having a group of children designing a presentation together, all editing and accessing the same document at the same time, which can then be published on their website.

SITES The children can create their own websites for a topic, or as part of a portfolio of learning. These sites can be viewed privately by the children and their teacher or they can be shared with the whole school or the world, the choice is there. This gives children a great way of writing for an audience.

CALENDAR Calendars can be shared with many users to publish diary dates and events. This could be for school events, staff meetings or upcoming homework reminders. These calendars can also be published elsewhere, such as the school website.

MAIL The ability to have a full email service provided by Gmail. Each user gets 25GB of storage (which is a lot). The administrator can also choose to let users have full email access or just allow messages to be sent across the domain to other school users, rather than out to the public. Using Mail also provides many opportunities to discuss children’s online footprint and digital safety.

There are many other tools that can be used, such as Google Maps or Picasa, but the core tools are enough to get started with.

Using Docs in the classroom
These can be used as an alternative to other software, but the ability to use Docs online and collaborate with others can open up many possibilities. The documents can also be published on the internet or embedded within a website or a blog to share with a much wider audience.

1 Peer assessment
As documents are collaborative, children could share their writing with another child who can either edit in a different colour or use the ‘comment’ feature to review the content. They could highlight good vocabulary or interesting sentence starters.

2 Collaborative stories
Create a document that is shared between two children so they can collaborate on a story. They could sit next to each other and discuss their story as they go along, or use the built-in chat feature to collaborate online. As this is internet-based, they could continue their story at home if they wished.

3 Spreadsheets for science
When collecting data, such as pulse rate, spreadsheets are a great way of working together. Create a sheet and share it with the class. As different groups of children finish collecting their results, they simply add their data to the sheet and the results will be updated, live, for the whole class. The children can then create a copy of this document and add their own graphs and analysis without having 30 graphs cluttering the main document.

4 Data-handling
Google Forms are a great way of writing simple surveys. The data from these can be accessed quickly and then children can present this information however they need to. Forms can also be embedded into blogs or websites to make it easier for others to find and complete the questions.

5 Templates
Documents or writing frames can be saved into the Template Gallery for others to access later without overwriting the original. This becomes useful for when the children have to do a similar task regularly, such as writing a book review.

There are lots of different ways in which Google Docs can be used. Many of these won’t be far removed from how you are alreay using office-based software in the classroom, but there are a few distinct differences to keep in mind.
First, the ability to collaborate is very powerful and you will find that children enjoy sharing their work with others. Also, the ability to create and access their work online means pupils can produce more at home.

So why not give it a go? It costs just a few pounds to get started and there are huge benefits in terms of productivity for staff, through to enjoyment and collaboration for pupils.