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Getting started with Google Apps


Getting started with Google Apps


Last week I was privileged to attend a workshop run by Petronella Townsend and Simon Crosby of the UC Education Plus team.  It was great working with so many enthusiastic and dedicated teachers, to share ideas and reflect on improving how we teach.


One thing I have noted is the number schools moving to using Google Apps. This can be daunting at first but essentially, if you can use Microsoft Office, you have the skill sets to use Google Apps. 


  • Word             = Google docs
  • Excell            = Google spreadsheets
  • Powerpoint    = Google Presentations

There is also Google Drawing and Google Forms but more on these later.

So I thought I would share some tutorials that helped me in my digital learning journey.
This first video is an overview of Google Drive. It is particularly good at showing you how to organise your files _ I so wish I had seen this before I started. It also so you how to use the research function which is excellent for students working at higher levels.


Another tutorial I found useful early on is this one on using Google Presentations.


Once you have mastered the basics it’s time to get creative but remember the language and learning outcomes are what must come first and the tool should be selected because it enhances teaching and learning.
With that in mind, here is a Google Presentation I have prepared with Marianna Van Den Bergh and Marilyn Carroll. The question to bear in mind is what were the affordances of using  this technology. The aim was to practice the language forms of procedures. 

So the key question is did this presentation provide more or better opportunities for students to engage with and learn the language?


For me the key is engagement - not only is the format highly visual there mere fact that it is online makes a difference to my learners. I don’t know about you, but I have certainly had the experience of spending hours making activities only to find that in the group of four students only one or two are truly engaged and there is invariably one student who doesn’t participate at all. In my experience students are far less willing to sit back and let others lead when you giving them a mouse or a touch screen!

Secondly the resource can be used with a whole class or small group but also quickly duplicated for each student.

Students who are ‘stuck’ can be encouraged to move back in the slide sequence to review the things they don’t know. The resource can also be accessed anytime anywhere providing more opportunities for learning.

By no means the least important affordance for me is a workload issue. Once this is created it can be copied for multiple students with minimum effort, it is available for easy updating AND no more cutting up bits of paper and putting them in snap lock bags and (worse) sorting them out after the lesson!

 Click here if you would like to make a copy of this resource for your own use. You will need to go to 'File' and then 'Make a copy'.