Last week, Mr. Francisco, assistant lifestyle editor of Mindanao Daily asked me to guest post on his column. He wanted it to be about Google Apps for Teachers. So, here’s what I wrote for his column published last Thursday entitled “Introducing Teachers to Google Apps“.
What is Google Apps for Education (GAFE)? What makes Google Apps special for schools?
Google Apps for Education has all of the same basic Google Apps like Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, etc. which fosters creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, online collaboration and innovative learning among stakeholders in educational institutions. It basically provides a venue wherein people connect, discover and learn.
Collaborative Teaching and Learning
GAFE brings a unified collaboration platform wherein teachers and students share and edit documents, check outputs, create websites, schedule activities and chat together in real time. Teachers can also work collaboratively in creating lessons, activities and materials which they can use in their classroom teaching. Students can also know exactly when their teachers are available and vice versa for consultations and feedbacks through Google+, Hangouts and Calendar.
Making Work Faster and Easier
Through GAFE’s collaborative platform, students and teachers simply log into their Gmail account to gain access to the all the Google apps, extensions and add-ons. Working on academic tasks now becomes faster, easier and paperless. For example, a group of students can work together on a project in Google docs and the teacher can see changes in real time, discover the students who contributed and who did not, score the output and provide feedback right away. All of these can happen in just a few clicks.
All documents and files created through Google apps are stored in the cloud, which means these documents can be accessed even on mobile devices and tablets — anytime and anywhere.
Safe and Secure Environment
Since the documents are stored in the cloud, GAFE also includes security features to keep the data safe, secure and that can only be controlled by the owner. The apps enable owners have control to their own file, including to whom it is shared with and how it is shared. For example, teachers can allow students to edit, comment or just view a document.
What’s good thing about GAFE is that it is free. With GAFE, schools can replace IT support and infrastructure and office application suites which are costly by nature. Teachers, students and administrators can access latest softwares and features without spending a great deal of money.
All of these boils down to improve student motivation and performance. There are thousands of apps available and teachers can identify which are best for their classes and that would meet their students’ learning needs.
To get to know more about GAFE, the Google Educators Group- Cagayan de Oro conducts trainings for schools. You may reach them through http://gg.gg/gegcagayandeoro or 09362063831.
Erratum: I am no longer teaching in a private school.