Google Apps Part 1

As the search for free teacher apps continues, I keep coming back to Google.

I am by no means an expert here so I am going to give you the "Google Apps for Teachers" information from the Free Technology for Teachers website. I think all you need to have to access all of these apps is a Gmail account (this excludes the Google Lit Trips).

1) Google Docs- I was amazed when I started reading about all you can do with this app. It basically gives you a huge amount of online storage space. Goodbye flash drive that I can never find anyway! You can upload files and access them from any computer anywhere. You can also keep it private, share files with certain people, or make them public for anyone to see. Google Docs also allows you to create Word documents, Power Point presentations, and Excel spreadsheets without having any of these programs on the computer you're using.

I'm not exactly how I'm going to use Google Docs in the classroom but here are a few ideas:
  • Saving my lesson plans in a folder so that I can share them with administrators, other teachers, etc.
  • Saving all my Power Points, rubrics, etc. in a folder so that I can share them with people
  • Organizing all of my school related documents in one place so that I can access them wherever I am
  • Generating student quizzes/forms/questionnaires. I'm not quite sure how this can work with one student computer in the room, but I can try, right?

There are also some really cool ways to use Google Docs for student writing, but the students have to have an email address and they have to be 13 and over for this feature. Oh well.

2) Google Books- Here you can create your own "library" where you can organize/review/show off the books you're reading. You can not only find book titles, but many books are in the "public domain" which means you can see the entire book for free! Some books, like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, have parts of the book available online. I'm trying to figure out how to embed the book onto a website so that I can have it available for my students in the fall.

I have to give credit to my fabulous teacher friend, Jennifer, who decided we should read this book this year since the movie is coming out in December.

Well, that's all for today. I plan on posting about the rest of the wonderful world of Google Apps another day. Is anyone else using Google Apps in the classroom? Thoughts?

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