For those of us who don’t spend our lives on the internet it is easy to forget the significance of being dubbed the number one search engine in the world. But spending just a few moments poking around Google will quickly remind you of the vast resources the site has to offer.
Google in Education
Not only can educators and students use Google as a search engine, they can also utilize valuable educational resources. In fact, Google has an entire network dedicated to education – Google in Education.
The education section of Google is broken down into categories. For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on resources for students and resources for educators.
The students’ tab is full of useful links. Students (over 13-years old) can connect on Google+ at the Google Students (Global) page. Other links direct students to Competitions, Awards, Programs, Tools, Scholarships and Jobs.
Google in Education provides a wealth of knowledge, resources, and tools for teachers. Some topics include:
- Professional Development
- Training and Development
- Connect and Share
- Grants and Support
- Classroom Tools
- Chromebooks – Schools can purchase laptops specifically designed for students and teachers. These fast, easy-to-use computers are great for classroom or home use.
- Lesson Plans – Teachers can customize a search by subject, product, and age.
- Classroom Videos – Google helps teachers locate and create educational videos for YouTube. The site also grants access to YouTube for Schools with special, education-only content.
- Google Apps for Education – these free apps make grade school, high school, and university education a breeze. Apps include Gmail, Calendar, Documents, Sites, and Groups.
Where to Begin
Taking a look at everything Google has to offer is quite daunting. As an educator or student, you may find it intimidating; where should you start? We’ll brush just the tip of the iceberg and tell you about three great Google tools that are easy to use, yet highly effective.
Google Docs is an easy-to-use online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation editor. In general, there are many perks of using
- Editing happens instantaneously, allowing for real-time collaboration.
- Information is stored securely.
- There is no software to install or download.
- You can upload an existing file or create a new one.
Let’s look at how this app can make a teacher’s life easier:
- Never again will a student be able to say, “The dog ate my homework.” Teachers can check document activity and see what (if any!) information was added.
- Grading group projects is easy. Teachers can monitor who contributed what.
- Peer edits can happen anywhere, anytime.
Now, let’s examine how a student’s experience is enhanced:
- Students can receive feedback from teachers while the work is still in progress. This allows for constructive criticism to be applied to the work before it is graded.
- Group projects are no longer a hassle. Students can work from anywhere. Group meetings can still take place, but students don’t need to be in the same place. Everyone can contribute and make comments because edits are uploaded instantaneously.
- All homework assignments can be stored in one place, helping the student stay organized.
- Students will never have to worry about computer crashes and unsaved work. Google Docs automatically saves information.
Trusted Search Results
So often, we enter a word or phrase in Google and receive links to a ton of unreliable sources. Instead of wading through pages and pages of results, looking for credible sites, teachers and students can make the process infinitely easier.
You can limit Google’s search results to “.edu” sites. These .edu websites are for colleges and universities only. As such, you can trust the information they provide is knowledgeable. If, for example, you are searching for lesson plans, enter the following into your Google search… “lesson plans” site:.edu. You can replace the phrase lesson plans with any topic you choose – dissertation requirements, assignments, etc.
Google Scholar is another source of trusted information. Enter any word or phrase and receive a vast resource of scholarly literature. From just one search, you can access information from articles, theses, books, abstracts, court opinions and more.
When you have a fair amount of time to dedicate to the search, check out Google in Education. Whether you are a teacher or student, you’re bound to find something that can help your educational experience.