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Google Apps for Education is more than just Google Classroom

Now that we’ve gotten a better handle on remote and online learning, let’s try to harness more of what the whole technology suite has to offer

For most teachers, it’s now been weeks of trial-and-error of distance learning. I’ve heard all sorts of stories. For teachers who already had students using Google classroom, the transition went more smoothly because at least students knew how to log on and submit assignments on the Classroom. For teachers who hadn’t used it, it came with some bumps along the way, with many relying on videos produced by their more technology savvy peers to help get their Classrooms up and running. And still there is the constant issue of access and equity. How many students can’t participate because of lack of devices or WiFi?

Then there is the question of whether to go synchronous (all students online at the same time as a class) or asynchronous (students log on to access the material whenever they are available). From what I’ve heard from teachers at the secondary level, asynchronous seems to be the smoother way to go. But this does mean teachers need to give clear explanation and discussion – likely in a video – to make sure students know what to do. Teachers and all they bring to the table are still the key to remote teaching success. The technology is just there to facilitate that instruction.

So teachers – you may not be able to affect everything – such as getting devices in the hands of students or turning on the Wifi, but you can take steps to expand the tools you are using.

In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at what you already have available to you via Google – beyond Google Classroom!

Hyperdocs created via Slides or Docs

Think streamlining your lesson into one document. You can create a slide presentation that includes an explanatory video, note slides, links to videos on YouTube, links to readings, etc. You can even link it to other interactive platforms, such as It’s all on one document. You could upload one hyperdoc per week. It’s all in one place. You can share it on the Classroom – or you could share it on a Google Site.

A sample hyperdoc I created for a group of teachers I have been working with.

You can add links to websites and videos, too.

Google Sites

Sites allows you to create your own webpage. This is great way to put all documents you need students to access in one place. You can add slide presentations, handouts, etc. This way students don’t have to search through the feed in Google classroom.

This is also a great place for students to share. You could have them create a digital portfolio of their writing and other projects using Sites.

This is a Google site I created for a recent online training. It helped participants have all the needed documents together since I could not pass out copies.

You can add text, links, and layout and theme options.

Google Hangouts or Google Meet

This is a great time to take advantage of conferencing opportunities! Have students schedule a time to meet with you on Google Hangouts or Google Meet to discuss their reading, writing, etc. This gives you that powerful face time we know is beneficial to students.

Other Apps of interest

Google Arts & Culture – Maybe you want students to write about a piece of art. Museums not open? No problem. Have students explore on Google Arts & Culture. They can find plenty of art or other locations to inspire them!

Google Earth – Students can explore street views of places across the globe! Have them create a story that takes place in that location.

Let’s use this opportunity to really explore all Google has to offer. With a lot up in the air about what school will look like next year, it will be beneficial to have a good handle on all the opportunities there are online. Stay tuned for more online teaching tools!

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