Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3 Things You Might Not Know about Google for Education

This was taken from eSchool News --

3 things you might not know about Google for Education
From staff reports

June 9th, 2014
 
Joining other tools such as Docs, Spreadsheets, Gmail, Drive, Groups, and Sites will be a new service called Classroom, which will “make it very easy for students and teachers to streamline workflow, share assignments, and post questions to an activity stream,” Leonard said.

Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive, and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease, according to a description on Google’s website. It will enable students to organize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers.

“Classroom was designed hand-in-hand with teachers to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students,” Google says.

2. Google Play for Education makes it incredibly easy to deploy, discover, and deliver content.

Launched last November, Tablets for Google Play for Education—a special service within the Google Play app store for Android tablets—makes it easy to find and share classroom-appropriate apps, Leonard said.

With traditional tablet deployments, it can be tough to set up the devices and find good content amid a “sea of apps,” he said. But with Google Play for Education, “you can actually set up a full classroom [of Android-based tablets] in minutes.” He said there is a YouTube video showing how three second-graders near Chicago set up an entire class of Nexis tablets in just 210 seconds.

Through a partnership with the nonprofit organization CUE (formerly the Computer-Using Educators), CUE has correlated thousands of educational apps in Google Play with the Common Core standards. Educators can search for apps by subject, grade level, and Common Core standard.

What’s more, you can buy apps using a school or district purchase order—and you can share apps with students or groups of students, just like you’d share a document. That makes it easy for teachers to differentiate instruction, Leonard said, by pushing out certain apps to students based on their interests, abilities, or needs.

You can also reassign apps when students no longer need them, or share licenses with other teachers in your school or district. You can push out or assign videos from YouTube EDU as well, and you can rent K-12 books and push them out to students thanks to deals that Google has signed with leading publishers such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan, and Lerner.

3. Google is constantly adding valuable new content to extend learning beyond the classroom walls.

You might already be familiar with the Google Art Project, which brings close-up views of great works of art to user’s devices—but do you know about the Street View Treks in Google Maps, which take users on a tour of the Colorado River, the canals of Venice, the Eiffel Tower, or the Galapagos Islands?

And did you know that Google has created Chrome App Packs for schools, which Leonard called a “really great way to get started” in teaching with mobile apps? These are custom curated app packs for elementary, middle, and high school, he said. Many of them are free, and they contain resources to complement the Google Apps for Education.

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