Saturday, September 6, 2008

Top 10 Google Apps for Educators

Google has done a such a great job developing applications for the masses. This concentrates on the one that you can use in your classroom.

10. Gmail: Google Tutorial Video

  • You don't have to look any further than Stanford University the alma mater of the Google founders to look how easy this is to use and implement. This is simple outsourcing solution for your email, servers, personnel, and spam blockers. All this for free and if you are a non-profit (which if you are reading this you probably are) Google will allow you to forgo the ads. The only negative is with popularity of push email you are limited to a blackberry device. Your only option for all other devices is to set you mobile device to check at designated time increments. A great alternative for student email is ePals.

9. Google Knols: Google's Intro to Knol

  • It is tough to put your finger on what Google Knol actually is. It is some where between Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers. However, it is a great place to "publish" student work on a particular topic and give students an authentic world wide audience. You will find articles from Bass fishing to Quantum Physics. The negative... If a student had a deadline for a research paper due the next day, they might be tempted to cut and paste a knol and use it as their own work.

8. Google Book Search: Google Book Search Site

  • Have you ever read a book for academic purposes or for pleasure and tried to remember your favorite quote. Then years later you try to find the quote by thumbing through the pages and the frustration of spending thirty minutes and finding nothing. Well Google once again has the answer. Google Book Search. Find your favorite quotes from practically any book you have ever read. There is some copyright issues, so not all books are included, but all the classics can be searched and read online. (From a historical point of view what an incredible feat to have all the great works of literature digitized)

7. Google Custom Search: GCS Site

  • Do you ever get tired of sifting through the entire Internet only to find the perfect site ten pages into your Google search or watching your students get frustrated as they search and search and still do not come up with the results you prefer. Google Custom Search (GCS) solves those issues. With a few simple clicks you can set up a search engine that only searches the website you select. So you get quality and safe results. In addition, if you are not profit you can select to remove the ads from your search results or you can add AdSense for a school fundraiser. Classroom Example.

6. Google Sites: Intro Video to Google Sites

  • Google's website platform is a hybrid Web page / Wiki. If you choose to be the sole publisher it operates like a website that you create a classroom website to publish information for parents or students. If you add collaborators students can help you publish classroom documents, videos, or projects. Here is a classroom example.

5. Google Calendar: Google Calendar Tutorial

  • You can organize your class events, lesson plans, and tests. One of the greatest features of Google calender is that it allows you to embed it into your website for your class to see. It accepts iCal and MS Outlook invitations.

4. Google Image Search: Google Image Search Site

  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Whether you are building a slide show or just need an example to show your students. This is where you need to start. One negative is that inappropriate images sometimes make it into your search results. Careful teachers should test before they encourage their students to use this.

3. Google Reader: Google Reader Tutorial

  • Do you have a list of blogs, podcast, news sites, or wikis that you are constantly following. Subscribe to them using Google Reader. Have content pushed to you instead of looking for updates.

2. Google Notebook: Google Notebook Tutorial Video

  • Collaborate and share instantly using Google Notebook. Open a notebook and invite collaborators and watch as updates happen in real time. Move notes around, cut and paste pictures, and watch your dynamic notes take any form you would like. After notes are completed publish them to the web as a website. Google does it all.

1. Google Docs 4 in 1: Google Docs Tutorial Video

  • Google Document: Google's answer to MS Word. Has all the main functions of a Word processor, plus you can invite collaborators and chat with them all inside Google Document. Imports .doc, .pdf, but not Clarisworks, Appleworks or iWork. Publish final draft as a web page. Basic Example
  • Google Spreadsheet: Very simple spreadsheet application, but it is improving on a daily basis. It will do 98% of all the work you need. Imports .xls and most other spreadsheet formats. Publish final draft as a web page
  • Google Slide show: Google version of PowerPoint is simple elegant and easy to use plus like with all Google applications you can invite collaborators to work along with you. When you are done you can publish to the web or embed it in your own site. Imports .ppt files but it will not import the slide transitions or animations. Basic Example
  • Google Forms: Create surveys or quizzes using Google forms. Then watch as your data updates in real time in a Google spreadsheet. Make graphs to analyze your data. Basic Example
  • Templates for all Google Docs

Honorable Mention: