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Google Apps - how do we embed their use in classroom programmes?

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Started by Ross Alexander 04 Feb 2013 9:09am () Replies (16)

The start of a new school year and I’ve just set up the year 4 to 6 classes at two local schools with student Google accounts. I’ve been using Google Apps and the Teacher Dashboard for over a year now, and continue to be excited by the possibilities for students to create, communicate, and collaborate. I’ve had a taste of how their use can improve outcomes for students not currently motivated and engaged in their learning. The challenge now is to embed the use of these tools in both schools – so that they are no longer seen as novelties, but as a key part of how learning and teaching happens in class programmes. What have others in the group done to embed the use of web tools to build ‘future-oriented’ classrooms? How do we get Google Apps to be more than just a way to send out homework to the students, and begin to unleash the real power of these tools? Any thoughts?


  • Michelle Robison (View all users posts) 04 Feb 2013 10:06am ()

    Great Ross. I'm interested in this also and especially in literacy for primary schools. I have used it for group poetry. In pairs create a diamonte poem one line each. Each student with a different colour.

    And a shared story would be a nice option. Or what about having students edit each others work. One student does their writing then shares it with a friend to edit before sharing it with the teacher.

    Another way would be a shared 'silent' group discussion about what the students are intending to do for a research project. Not talking in class but typing their ideas. It never ends up silent in the class at first but once they get into it and used to it they will be quieter. Get them to write in different colours.

    Also a shared presentation. Each doing a different slide. If someone sees something missing on anothers slide they can comment rather than change each slide.

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 04 Feb 2013 11:48am ()

    Hi there Michelle, 

    I have another suggestion on how you can use google apps in a school / classroom setting.

    You can make digital kits using google presentation. 

    Digital kits are nothing more than collections of content -- still images, video clips, audio clips, passages of text -- connected to the topic being studied that teachers assemble for their kids before a project even begins.

    Here are the instructions.

    and here is an example of a digital kit.  Pattern digital kit.pdf

  • Ross Alexander (View all users posts) 04 Feb 2013 11:48am ()

    Thanks, Michelle. Some great ideas here. The powerful part of this is the social, co-constructed learning. The 'silent' group discussion sounds interesting. Last year I ran an activity based on a Figure It Out level 3 activity called 'The Great Factor Hunt'. I set up a Google spreadhseet template that I distributed to each student in a maths group. Several of the students shared their spreadsheets and then worked collaboratively to discover the factors of (some prety big!) numbers. The dynamics of the class changed as they worked away in their shared discoveries - not in silence, but with a productive low hum. Noeline Wright's e-Learning and implications for New Zealand schools: a literature review does talk about "The dynamics of classrooms changing when e-Learning is part of the regular learning environment." Maybe that's one example!

  • Ross Alexander (View all users posts) 04 Feb 2013 11:57am ()

    Here's the Google spreadsheeet template I distributed to the students for the Great Factor Hunt. It was also a great way for them to discover prime numbers.

  • Tania (View all users posts) 04 Feb 2013 3:55pm ()

    A school I work in is doing amazing collaborative writing utilising google docs.  Not only are they collaborating within their own classrooms but they are also utilising google docs for storywriting between buddy classes.  Senior students have the opportunity to begin a story writing 'project' with a junior student - whether it be a recount or imaginative - although this is started in a face to face time, the senior students take on the role of an online 'mentor' continually giving feedback to the junior student, offering ideas and checking grammer.

    Students at this school are beginning to work collaboratively on google presentations (digital kits as described by Catriona above) - this is giving students incredible experiences at working on projects whenever/where ever...

    Year 5 and 6 students have set up individual e Portfolios using google blogger and are able to upload anything they create on the iPad to their blogs via a simple email.  This year is all about connecting with others - sharing their blog address with whānau and globally and who knows where this will take them.

    Google Forms have proved an incredible way of gathering data whether it be students sending out questions to a group of parents around their role in the community as part of gathering information for their inquiry OR teachers sending out forms to students as part of finding out more about them at the beginning of the year.  What I love most about google forms is that you can get a summary of responses - fabulous graphs - that can then be unpacked as a mathematics workshop..

    The learning and opportunties are endless - great question Ross - I look forward to seeing other ideas.  Catriona and I presented at ULearn last year - and our presentation is available here.

  • Michelle Robison (View all users posts) 03 Jun 2013 9:45pm ()

    Hi Tania,

    I have a teacher who is trying to set up individual blogs through blogger and google apps for his Year 6 Students. Unfortunately the students accounts were susspended because they were not 13 years old. Any idea what is going on here?


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 03 Jun 2013 9:54pm ()

    I have heard that there are difficulties if Google + has been activated as users have to be over 13. So if it is part of the GAFE suite then it would apply to the other apps as well.

    This help article should be read.


  • Michelle Robison (View all users posts) 23 Jun 2013 5:05pm ()

    Yep, I had the same problem so I have suggested to all of my schools using it to turn off google+, same as Suzie.

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 03 Jun 2013 10:03pm ()

    I had the exact same problem with my Year 7/8 students and it was because they had tried to go in to Google + and entered their date of birth and then been blocked. As the admin of Google Apps, I went in to the back end and turned off Google + for the domain which meant that the kids weren't clicking the link to join and therefore being locked out. I had to redo a few of the accounts where they were blocked before I changed the setting.

  • Michelle Robison (View all users posts) 23 Jun 2013 5:07pm ()

    Is there a way to close google+ for students but leave it open for Teachers?

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 23 Jun 2013 5:23pm ()

    Hi Michelle,

    my understanding is that you can define different organisations within your GAFE account, e.g. students, teachers, administrators. You apply the lowest permission level to everyone - turn off Google+ for example, and then you add it to your higher level groups such as teachers and administrators.

    Hope this helps!

  • Steven Wills (View all users posts) 23 Jun 2013 5:26pm ()

    Get the administrator to go to users, create a sub organization, one for students, one for teachers, select students, choose services and disable google+, choose teachers and enable google+.

  • Ross Alexander (View all users posts) 04 Feb 2013 5:32pm ()

    A great opportunity to be using Google forms next month - students can run their own census.

  • Robyn Wood (View all users posts) 06 Feb 2013 7:58pm ()

    This is such a great discussion - thank you!  I have really enjoyed gathering ideas as our school is about to go down the Google apps pathway with students having their own accounts.  Special thanks Catriona re. the digital kits - I had not heard of them before and appreciated being able to see one - what a fantastic idea!  Once we are further down the track, hopefully I will be able to contribute something that might be useful for others. Smile

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 07 Feb 2013 9:46am ()

    You are most welcome Robyn, I found the digital kits a great way to kick off an inquiry and to sort resources. We look forward to you sharing your google apps experiences with us all. : )

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