With our Google Suites at a Glance series, we’ve delved into the benefits of adopting the Suite and the key apps within it that allow for an ease of management and a boon of creativity. Google Drive, Classroom, Calendar, and Gmail make for a streamlined system of managing and communicating all aspects of learning. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites are the apps that allow students and teachers to develop original content and showcase learning outcomes and strategies in various ways. All of these components are found within the amazing Google for Education trifecta of free, collaborative, and accessible anywhere!
While the 8 apps we shared in Parts 2 and 3 of the series make up the core of Google Suites, there are 3 other apps which are accessible to users within the Google for Education platform and worthy of a mention. One of the best parts about implementing usage of GAFE (Google Apps for Education) is the short learning curve for getting started with any of the pieces. Sometimes it can just be a quick overview of the nuts and bolts to springboard an idea for implementation that will enhance the learning environment. Google Forms, Hangout, and Vault could be the perfect pieces that you didn’t even realize were missing for paving the roadway to success for students and teachers.
Hangouts — One things kids of all ages love to do is hang out, whether it’s in person or online. With Google Hangouts, teachers can provide a safe online forum for doing so. Up to 10 users can actively engage in an On Air Hangout, but an unlimited number of users can view it live or later on your YouTube channel. Hangouts can be used for a study group, meeting, discussion exemplar, guest speaker platform, global classroom connection, etc. The options for usage are really endless, and the connectivity of Google Suites allows teachers to provide links to Hangouts within Google Calendar to ensure that all participants and viewers arrive on time!
Forms — Think Survey Monkey meets education and then amp up the results to get a sense of the potential for using Google Forms. A great tool for surveys and questionnaires, but also a great way to create, assign, and grade formative and summative assessments. With the ability to create forms with true/false, check box, or multiple choice options, Forms is an excellent way to quickly assess student understanding. Responses and data returned can be gathered in Google Sheets for a quick reference tool with classroom information or an overview for determining the readiness of the class collective in moving forward with new concepts. A short tutorial from Free Technology for Teachers shares how to enable the auto grading function within the app and allow Google Forms take one more task off a teacher’s heaping plate of responsibilities.
Vault — From an administrative standpoint, Google Vault is a great way to keep users accountable for the content of their Gmail and chat communications. With the detrimental effects of bullying and cyber harassment, GAFE has created an app that retains all correspondences and allows for an easy search within them to pinpoint necessary communications. While Vault can be used to thwart inappropriate communications, it can also be used to do the sifting through a vast collection to retrieve needed information. With a few keystrokes, that email with important information can pop back onto the screen. Vault also allows users with access to search and export any files within the organization’s Google Drive. A great option for security measures but also for forgetfulness!
Our Google Suites at a Glance Series shares the many ways in which the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating and maintaining a flourishing learning environment with GAFE. Having all stakeholders on the same page in the same system makes for ease of usage and peace of mind. By accessing the additional apps of Hangouts, Forms, and Vault, the list of possibilities for transforming learning become even more enhanced.