Google is King of Classroom

7 10 2009

For the first time ever, this school year I have a professional, well designed, fully functioning, multimedia, easy to manage, updated, student centered, classroom website.  I’m not a programmer, tech guru, or even all that savvy with website design or development.  In fact this is the first time I’ve moved to an on-line format to work with students.  High schoolers at Basalt High School are learning to organize, build, share, design, and communicate through their studies of history.  Adding a sense of community, expertise, and life skills allows students to become empowered.  The free and easy to use tool, I have to give credit for, is no other than the magnificent world of Google.

Never again will students have to carry an organized three-ring binder with all their notes and hand outs from my class.  Now students only have to carry their login and password to class.  With Gmail as my central command center, students are communicating with each other through cooperative learning communities both inside and outside the classroom.  I can send easy quick group messages to the entire cohort.  Students are able to IM with each other or myself for extra help from any online location in the world.  When a sick day becomes a reality, even absent students can stay up to date.  From the many benefits of email, Gmail, also provides students with the fastest growing and most versatile word processing program.

Google Docs is re-framing how students create and share their work.  Every assignment is being handed in via Google Docs.  This allows both the student and myself to stay organized.  I can see exact times and dates that work was turned in.  Never again can a kid make excuses about leaving their work at home on their home machine.  The amount of free storage space allows students to create and save everything online including documents, power points, and even spread sheets.  Never agin will a kid say, “I lost my flash drive.”  In the collaborative nature of school today a big focus is turning to peer editing.  Students are using peer editing to assist each other in cooperative learning communities.  As a teacher I can see who is editing and the types of comments that are being made.  These comments can provide me with an informal assessment.  In addition Google provides the platform for me to keep all my content in one easy to use website.

Google Sites provides a user friendly, template type, website for Google users.  With a little sense of exploration and willingness to take risks, novice web designers, like myself, can build and design a beautiful web site with endless possibilities.  I have links, embedded video footage, maps, quizzes, announcements, notes, study guides, and a slew of tools for my students to access.  I even have linked the textbook we use to an available source through my site.  Kids are able to access my site and see exactly what we did in class today.

For kids learning through a platform as strong and capable as Google Sites, Docs, or Gmail, student worries become hassle free.  Organization skills become as easy as accessing documents by subject or date.  Updated information and constant support is provided.  Increased connectivity is influencing student engagement and active learning.  As a teacher, I recommend that any teacher looking to create 21st Century learning environments being to take advantage of this free and simple Web 2.0 application.  If only I could get an app to put all this on my cell phone…. wait, I think they are advertising for that app on T.V. right now… What’s next?  Cell phones in the classroom?

Visit the home page of Seann Goodman and his students!

Picture 10

http://sites.google.com/site/seanngoodman/home

Advertisements