Connecting Learners with Google
Google’s answer to other social media platforms, Google+ provides many of the usual features, such as hashtags, the ability to tag users and a news stream. Where it is useful is the potential to organise information using Collections, as well as to foster collaborative spaces with Communities.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Google+ – This post from Ryan Lytle provides a step-by-step guide to support new users in getting started.
- How Google+ is Rethinking Social Media – Shay Meinecke provides an update on Google+ and introduces some of newer functions, such as Collections.
- Learning professionally with Google+ Communities – Camilla Elliott explains some of the benefits of Google+ Communities for sharing and collaborating. This is seen as an alternative to other spaces, such as Facebook Pages.
- Get Connected wtih Google+ – Heather Baille created a video that showcases some of the potential associated with Google+.
- 8 Ways Teachers and Students Can Use Google+ – This post provides a range of activities which clearly demonstrate the potential and possibility.
- How Mark Zuckerberg Led Facebook’s War to Crush Google Plus
Another possibility when it comes to the connected classroom is Google Classroom. It provides many of the same features as Google+, such as feed and topics. With the recent addition of Gmail accounts, it is possible to connect between schools, as well as bringing in experts. It needs to be noted that Classroom also provides a range of other features designed to support instruction in the classroom, such as setting assignments and doing quizzes.
- Teacher Tech (Google Classroom) – Co-author of 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom, Alice Keeler has shared a plethora of tips, tricks and resources associated with Classroom. From a list of 50 things you can do, 8 essential tips and a quick-sheet guide for students and a three step guide to getting started.
- 10 Ways Google Classroom Will Make Learning Better and 10 Things You Might Not Know About Google Classroom – Matt Miller identifies some suggestions, as well as a summary of a resource created by Kasey Bell.
- Triple Differentiation in Google Classroom – Beginning, Middle, and End – Eric Curts demonstrates how Google Classroom can be used to differentiate learning. This is a useful exploration of many of the new features, such as setting specific work for individual students, incorporate different resources and allow students to submit a wide range of products.
- Everything You Need To Know In Google Classroom – David Wolford has written a series of posts for Better Cloud unpacking the basics, creating an assignment and exploring the stream.
- Google Classroom Experts – A Google+ account designed to share all things associated with Classroom. A useful place to pose questions and find specific resources.
- Google Classroom for the Principal – Lisa Meade describes some of the ways that principals can use Google Classroom in and out of the classroom to connect with staff and students.
- 100+ Great Google Classroom Resources For Educators – Vicki Davis collects together a wide range resources in one spot.
- G Suite: Google Classroom Top 10 Web-Based Tips – An infographic created by the EdTechTeam to share the top 10 tips when using Google Classroom.
- Exploring Virtual Teaching Environments – Miguel Guhlin compares Google Classroom with Microsoft Classroom.
- A Timeline of Google Classroom’s March to Replace Learning Management Systems – Antoinette Siu provides a summary of how far Google Classroom has come in two years. There is also a great use of TimelineJS to represent these changes.
- Communities, Networks and Connected Learning with Google – This post unpacks all the different collaborative spaces associated with Google, including Groups and Blogger.
- 5 Ideas To Connect Your Classroom – A Conversation between TW Williamson from Taiwan on The 10-Minute Teacher #45
YouTube Live allow for synchronous video connections beyond the four walls of the classroom. There is the means to run a video chat or schedule a recorded event using YouTube Live. This can be used to connect different classrooms, conduct virtual debates or provide an alternative point of access to classroom material. For example, the students at St. Mark’s broadcast their Genius Hour presentations via YouTube Live. There are also many other possibilities beyond Hangouts / YouTube including Skype, Twitter and Touchcast.
- Let’s Hangout! – Jen Zurawski identifies a range of examples for how to collaborate with Hangouts.
- How Educators and Schools Can Make the Most of Google Hangouts – Mary Beth Hertz provides an introduction to the possibilities of Hangouts.
- Seven Steps to Scheduling YouTube – A guide from the EdTechTeam associated with the new YouTube Live. For another resource, there is this too.
- A virtual field trip to CERN, via Google Glass – Andrew Vanden Heuvel uses Google Glass to provide students from the other side of the world with an insight into a place they would not normally have access to.
- Learning with Skype (or Hangouts) in the Classroom – A collection of resources associated with using Skype.
- The Google+ community Connected Classrooms Workshop offers a platform for connecting with other classrooms around the world via Mystery Hangouts.
Data and Ideas
Originally Maps Engine Lite, My Maps allows users to create their own maps within G Suite. My Maps allows you to easily make layers, add place marks, draw shapes and create directions. To take this to the next step, users can also import information via a spreadsheet or KMZ files from Google Earth.
- Create and manage custom maps in Google Drive – News update from Google outlining the initial release of My Maps.
- 5 Easy Steps to Design the Google MyMaps Lesson of Your Dreams – A list of tips and tricks associated with using My Maps, including links to a range of examples.
- Google My Maps – Jim Sill provides an introduction to the various terms and constraints associated with using My Maps.
- Exploring Your World with My Maps – A short guide from Chris Betcher with ideas and activities associated with using My Maps.
- How to Create Custom Maps with My Maps – Richard Byrne has made a series of tutorials associated with creating map, importing data and sharing information
- Use Google Maps to Tell a Story Within a Story & A Great Example of Using Google Maps in Science – Richard Byrne outlines how maps can be used in dynamic ways.
- Literary Landscape Map – Kevin Hodgen collaboratively shares different settings within books.
- Natural Resources – Austin Houp has created a map representing natural resources.
Trends and Correlate
Google Trends is based on Google Search data and allows users to see what search terms are trending. It shows how often a particular term or phrase is entered into Google Search compared to all other searches across different parts of the world at different times and in different languages. Google Correlate reverses Google Trends and allows users to start with a trend and find searches that match.
- Although not specifically for education, here is a video by Steve Dotto introducing Google Trends.
- How To Use Google Trends to Find Hot Content Topics – Steve Dotto provides a video introduction to Google Trends.
- Think with Google – a great way to see Google Trends and related stories.
- Google News Lab: The Year in Language – A collaboration between the Google News Lab and Polygraph, this project leverages Google Search Trends to identify new words in language.
- Visualise Hot Trends – A link to a live visual of Trends.
- Origins and the creation of Google Flu – A comic from the Google team demonstrating how Trends and Correlate were used to predict flu outbreaks.
N-Gram viewer is a tool that searches Google’s digitised printed material to determine how frequently particular words or phrases have appeared over a particular time in literature. These results are then displayed graphically. Users can compare the frequency of different terms in printed material over time.
- This video by Richard Byrne gives a basic introduction to N-Gram viewer.
- Lifewire introduces N-Gram viewer and describes how to use it.
- The EdTechEnthusiast describes a number of ways N-Gram viewer can be used in the classroom in his video.
- The Best Posts To Help Understand Google’s New ‘Books Ngram Viewer’ – Larry Ferlazzo curates a range of links to go further with Ngram Viewer.
- Phil Nast has collated a number of ideas for lesson plans using N-Gram Viewer for the National Education Association.
Google provides a number of way to engage with virtual reality including YouTube videos, various mobile apps, Street View and treks. The Expedition app (available for Android or iOS) takes treks and provides viewers with a choreographed experience.
Some ideas include exploring vocabulary, engaging with real life problems, telling stories and sparking curiosity. There are also a range of options for users to add their own images to Street View, as well as record their own 360 Minecraft videos.
- Google Maps Treks – A link to the various treks around the world, including places like the Angkor Wat and Petra.
- (Un)folding a virtual journey with Google Cardboard – Clay Bavor provides an update on the take-up of Google Cardboard.
- Best VR Apps To Try With Google Cardboard – Ryan Stone provides an overview of the apps that are available for Google Cardboard.
- VR in the Classroom: Early lessons learned from Google Expeditions – Google I/O 2016 – Google Expeditions team will share what they’ve learned about making compelling VR apps for the classroom
- A list of all available Expeditions – A curated list of all the available Expeditions.
- Weekly Teacher Tips for Using Google Expeditions in the Classroom – A weekly set of tips provided by Google around the use of Expeditions.
- Have iPads? Use Them For Google Expeditions! – Tom Mullaney explains how to use iPads with Expeditions
- Create Street View In A Snap – A list of tools and techniques for publishing your own photos and videos to Google Street View.
- Tool Review: #GOOGLEEXPEDITIONS Virtual Reality App and Getting Real? Google Cardboard and Virtual Reality in Education – Bill Ferriter and Ronnie Burt provide reflections on Google Cardboard and the virtual reality experience.
- Creating Virtual Reality Content in Minecraft with Year 4 – Lee Hewes explains how his students created virtual reality content within Minecraft.
- Is Using Google Cardboard for the Classroom Anything More Than a Gimmick? – Rachel Jones provides a useful critique of Google Cardboard and questions what it has to offer.
- Don’t Forget the Greater Context on Your VR Trip – Richard Byrnes and Greg Kulowiec suggest using the virtual to hypothesise about what they might see based on physical maps.
Arts and Culture
- Google Arts and Culture (currently in beta) is the latest iteration of Google’s Art project. It currently allows users online access to high resolution images of artwork found in 46 museums around the world. Virtual tours of many of the museums are available (using Street View technology) along with a range of educational resources.
- An eye for detail: Zoom through 1,000 artworks thanks to the new Art Camera from the Google Cultural Institute – Ben St. John discusses the Art Camera and its ability to capture artwork in high resolution, therefore allowing viewers to zoom right in, providing a perspective that is otherwise unavailable.
- The new Google Arts & Culture, on exhibit now – Originally the Cultural Institute, Duncan Osborn provides an overview of the new Google Arts and Culture project.
- Google Arts and Culture YouTube Channel – There is a collection of shows and documentaries on everything from explorations of natural history to kids describing famous pieces of art to experts.
- Google Cultural Institute Puts Us All Onstage – Michael Cooper explains how the cultural institute allows you to go beyond a simple walkthrough of places on YouTube to being able to move around the ballet or through a gallery using the technology developed for Google Street View.
- Step on stage with the Google Cultural Institute – Amit Sood outlines the possibilities associated with Cultural Institute, from zooming in on costumes to going backstage.
- Google Cultural Institute – A Fascinating Place – Marcus Lilley explains how the cultural institute and the new digital exhibition are allowing for a reimagining of Shakespeare’s work by actually position ourselves within the performance.
Connected Classrooms in Action
Below is a list of examples of connected classrooms:
- Connected Classrooms on Google+ – A Google+ Community dedicated to connecting classrooms to different opportunities.
- Our Genius Hour Expo and Google Hangout – The students at St. Marks share their Genius Hour projects via Hangout and then answer questions ask via Google Forms. 10 groups of students presented. More than 1500 students, teachers and parents registered for the Hangout from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
- #ProjectDreamtime: connecting with Arnhem Land and learning about culture – Lee Hewes documents a Project-Based Learning unit focusing on bringing stories of the Dreamtime into the digital age.
- Smarter Than You Think Collaborative Reading – A collaborative reading and exploration of Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think as a part of a Theory of Knowledge unit. The space also also involved the author.
- What’s it like to host a Skype-A-Thon? – Ben Lennon reflects on the experience of being a part of a Skype-A-Thon. He shares the logistics involved, as well as the learning gained.
- Google Earth Walks – Students engage in real-world problem solving as they work their way through a virtual tour on Google Earth (and within My Maps). Each placemark offers an engaging, geotagged image as well as a compelling question, challenging students to apply what they’ve learned in the real world.
- Epic Class of Radness – This YouTube Channel contains a number of 360 YouTube videos made with Minecraft. For more details, see Lee Hewes’ reflection.
Google for Junior Teachers
Here are some ideas of what can be done in the Early Years:
Drawings and Shapes
Drawings allows for a range of possibilities, whether it be using shapes to make a theme, playing a collaborative game, filling in a weather chart or labeling an object. Coming from a maths perspective, Eric Curts collects together a range of the possibilities associated with using Drawings, including working with shapes, representing fractions and sorting objects, More examples can be found within the Drawings presentation.
Choose Your Own Adventure
G Suite offers the potential to use hyperlinks to make connections between parts. Although this can be an individual task, it is also something that has the potential to be done collaboratively as a whole class. Eric Curts has created a guide for making a Choose Your Own Adventure with Slides. However, he has also documented how to develop one using other applications. Going a step further with hyperlinks uses Hyper Docs to guide learning.
Google has a number of ways to support students with writing, as well as providing different forms of engagement. The Docs Story Builder application provides the means of writing a story and having it played back on the screen. Kasey Bell has shown how to use magnetic poetry to provides students with a creative way to play with words. Another useful feature within G Suite is the Personal Dictionary. Accessed across all the different apps, it is designed to store words that the spellcheck usually sees as incorrect. However, it is possible to use it to develop a personal list of commonly misspelt words.
Working with Sheets
For many Sheets may not seem to be the right application for young learners. However, there is the potential to use formulas and conditional formulas to simplify their use. Alice Keeler has created a range of resources to support graphing and measurement using Sheets.
John Hattie speaks of the power and potential of ‘self-reported grades’. This can be a challenge for younger learners, especially when they may not have the language skills to place their learning. One answer is to provide students with a basic rubric made with Google Drawings and use this to place a character on a continuum. This provides a useful reference point for students to talk about their learning.
At the heart of many of these ideas is the use of templates to scaffold learning for students. By providing the beginnings, it allows students to get on with the act of making and creating. Alice Keeler has collected together some templates to use with students in Early Years, while Eric Curts has made a collection of graphic organisers. For more templates, check out this folder.
A useful application for allocating tasks and copies of files for assignments is Google Classroom. Alice Keeler and Christine Pinto have unpacked some of the possibilities associated with Google Classroom in the Early Years. Another feature is the Google Classroom Chrome Extension and the ability to send a site to the whole class. An alternative to Classroom is Hapara. Whether it be Highlights or Smart Share, Hapara offers a number of ways to support learning and instruction.
Another application for allocating tasks and copies of files for assignments is Google Classroom. Alice Keeler and Christine Pinto have unpacked some of the possibilities associated with Google Classroom in the Early Years. Another feature is the Google Classroom Chrome Extension and the ability to send a site to the whole class. An alternative to Classroom is Hapara. Whether it be Highlights or Smart Share, Hapara offers a number of ways to support learning and instruction. The other option to using either application is to share a folder with students in which they keep all of their work. However this can be problematic as it requires students to maintain this.
Not every classroom has access to the same technology. Some teachers only have access to a few desktop computers or an iPad. There are still a range of tools that can be used to support learning. One application that can be useful is Google Keep. It provides a number of options including photos, sketches and audio recordings (on mobile). Hollie Sisk has provided an overview of the features and affordances and how they integrate with G Suite. There are also other options, such as Seesaw, Book Creator and Adobe Spark Video. Each providing different ways of celebrating learning and identifying future areas for growth.
Integrating technology into the early years comes with its challenges. These include:
Logging on & Passwords
One of the first challenges is getting students to log on. How students go about this will depend in part on what type of devices they are using. If they are using iPads then it is usually recommended that they are 1:1, therefore somewhat alleviating the need to continually log on and off all of the time. However, Apple recently added the functionality to have multiple Apple IDs for school purchased iPads. They only requirement is that the device is registered through Apple School Manager and deployed via a mobile device management system.
In regards to other devices, the process is usually dependent on how things have been set up. For example, it is common for Preps to be given a standard password when logging on to the system, preferably something that will not create confusion between lower and upper case. A site that can help with this process is DinoPass. In recent times, Google have started offering more options to connect with the Chromebook, such as Clever Badges and Cool Images.
Associated with passwords is the issue of workflow. Once logged in, there is the challenge of backing up work. Unless the school has 1:1 devices, this is going to involve compromise. For example, some schools create class accounts and have students share work to a central repository. Although this simplifies the process, it also restricts access to various applications and features. Another alternative is to setup something like WebDav. Although this is useful when working with iPads, it involves setting up and does not necessarily provide students with the power to collaborate. Too often this decision is either assumed or ignored. It is important to consider your own context and start there.
Another challenge when it comes to younger students is searching for content online. There are are numerous ways of placing restrictions on searches. Firstly, the process could be automated. This may involve turning the safesearch feature on automatically in GSuite Admin or using an extension like CraftyRights to send students straight to images appropriate for reuse. This approach is to provide students with sites that allow them to search through curated content. Some options include Junior Safe Search, Watchkin and Photos for Class. For iPad, there are a number of browsers that can be downloaded which help refine searches. John Johnston has worked out a way to send image searches straight to reuse.
Whether it be advertisements or other content, the web is full of distractions. Chrome has a number of extensions designed to improve accessibility and block advertising. One of the biggest distractions comes in the form of YouTube. Richard Byrnes has collected together a number of sites and solutions to support appropriate use of YouTube. They include Google Slides, Watchkin, View Pure and SafeShare.tv. These are not only useful for students, but also teachers when showing content to a whole class.
Making the Most of Chrome
Turn Off the Lights: Works on all known video sites, the entire page other than the video fades to black with a single click allowing students to focus on the video only.
Just Read: With one click, you can remove distractions such as advertisements and pop ups allowing articles to be read in a customisable, simplified format.
Read&Write: Read&Write for Google Chrome™ offers a range of powerful support tools (such as having words, passages or even whole documents read aloud or the meaning of words explained) to help students gain confidence with reading, writing, studying and research.
High Contrast: Change or invert the color scheme to make webpages easier to read.
CraftyRights: Forces all Google Image searches to be for images free of copyright restrictions.
Grammarly: Adding Grammarly to Chrome means that spelling and grammar will be vetted on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly everywhere else writing on the web occurs.
1-Click-Timer: A quick and easy timer for Google Chrome.
Goo.gl: Allows current website URLs to be shortened with the Google URL Shortener service. Makes it easier to share long website addresses with others.
Screencastify: A simple video screen capture software which links with Google Drive.
Save to Drive: Save web content or screen capture directly to Google Drive.
Padlet Mini: Collect and bookmark the best of web content including images, video and audio using Padlet.
- A Guide to Chrome – A post that goes deeper into many aspects of Chrome.
- Google Plus Collection – A collection of links and resources associated with Chrome.
TRY THIS… Use a shortcut
- Go to the Chrome Help center and search for ‘shortcuts’.
- Look through the various lists and identify three shortcuts that might help you in your work.
- Copy these shortcuts into the Google Doc created at the start of this module and briefly explain why these might be helpful to you.
TRY THIS… Saving tabs as bookmarks
- Open a new window in Chrome.
- Open up several tabs related to a current topic being covered in class.
- Right click on any of the tabs and bookmark them all by selecting Bookmark all tabs (CTRL+SHIFT+D).
- Choose a name and location for the bookmark folder.
- To open the links again, right click on the folder and open all bookmarks.
- Capture a screenshot of your bookmark folder and add this to the Google Doc created earlier.
TRY THIS… Changing your theme
- Navigate to the Chrome web store.
- Select Themes from the list provided.
- Browse the different options and try out some of the themes, then select a favourite.
- Install this theme.
- Take a screenshot of this theme and add the screenshot to your Google Doc.
- Provide a title and link to the theme in the Chrome web store.
TRY THIS… Adding an extension
- Go to Chrome Web store.
- Search for extensions that might be useful for use in the classroom.
- Install three of these extensions.
- In the Google Doc created earlier, write down the titles and explain how these extensions could be useful in your classroom.