Prior to the start of this school year, teachers in my district participated in two days of professional development. On the second day, I was supposed to co-present on unique ways in which Google tools can be used in the classroom. Unfortunately, other segments of the professional development ran longer than expected, and my presentation did not take place. (Nonetheless, there was time for me to show Tony Wagner’s TEDx Talk from last April.) Throughout the course of the year, I hope to present the Google information across various faculty meetings. Here is a quick snapshot of the material.
- Digital Literacy Tour: Google has recently teamed up with iKeepSafe in order to produce three digital literacy workshops. Each workshop comes with video, an instructor’s guidebook, student handouts, and a presentation. Educators can use all of these resources in order to “teach what it means to be a responsible online citizen.”
- Flubaroo: This free tool transforms Google Forms into self-grading quizzes! A teacher fills out the form and sets her responses as the answer key, and then all student answers are automatically graded accordingly. Scores can be emailed to a designated email address.
- Google Earth Narrated Tour: Using Google Earth, students can create narrated tours in which the map “jumps” from location to location. Throughout the animation, students add their own narration (and possibly their own photographs and text at each destination). This is a great way to use Google Earth as part of the digital storytelling process.
- Google Lit Trips: “Google Lit Trips are free downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey there are placemarks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, thought provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about ‘real world’ references made in that particular portion of the story.”
- Picasa Web Albums: By combining this tool with one of many Android or iOS apps, teachers can take photographs on their phone and then easily upload them to a web album for all to see. (A teacher’s website can contain the link to the web album in order to make is easily accessible.) This is a fantastic way for students to share their work, and for parents to stay involved in what is taking place at school.
- Search Education: This website contains lesson plans, activities, and trainings, which can be used to help teachers and students use Google Search more effectively. It would also be beneficial for teachers and students to become familiar with certain features of Advanced Search, such as searching by reading level or file type.
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