Google Tools and Resources for Web 2.0 Classrooms

Google has many resources and tools available for teachers and students. Google is a one-stop shop that allows creativity, organization, collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, communication, administration, and problem-solving. The Google Suite of programs is free to users. The programs are web-based and hosted in the cloud (Google, 2018).  The Google programs also allow users to use Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher and lower order thinking skills along with using the SAMR model of design for use (OTTL, 2018). Google programs can also be adapted for those with disabilities such as being deaf, blind, hard of hearing, and that have low vision. Also, Google can be used across many connected devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Two of the biggest resources in the Google Suite are Google Docs and Google Classroom. First Google Docs is a suite of tools that resemble word programs. Tools in the suite include spreadsheets that allow Excel format cells, graphs, and charts, Presentations that are similar to PowerPoint, Documents that are similar to word documentation and writing, and Forms which allow for users to create report forms, quizzes, assessments, and polls (Google, 2018). Teachers can use this set of tools for lesson creation, lesson administration, grade tracking, and presentation or training. Students can use these tools to complete papers, create presentations, and track projects. Users can allow sharing of the documents so other users can add or delete information through collaboration. The next big resource is Google Classroom. Google Classroom is like some learning management systems. Teachers can create classes and lessons for students (OTTL, 2018). The program allows for the creation of assignments, announcements, discussion boards, and areas to provide grades and feedback (OTTL, 2018). Google Drive is a useful tool for students and teachers which allow users 15 gigabytes of storage space for files and documents (Google, 2018). Users can create group folders or individual folders to keep files organized. Another organization tool from Google is the calendar. Users can keep track of important dates and times. Calendars can be shared for groups or made for individuals. Links can quickly allow users to add information to their calendars. Users also have communications tools like Gmail and Hangouts available. Gmail is the suite email that allows users to send messages to each to communicate. Teachers can send information about the class, respond to questions, send lessons, and send announcements to students. Also, it too can be used for storing documents, files, and text. Google Hangouts is a web meeting and video/text tool for users. Users can video or text chat on the program. The classroom can add guest speakers to the class through Hangouts and teachers can communicate with students and parents. Google is also known for its search functions for general web search, scholarly search, book search, video search, and even picture search (Google, 2018). Another set of useful resources include Google Maps and Google Earth. Students can use these programs to learn geography, visualize areas, and take virtual field trips right from home or the classroom.

Google (2018) G Suite. Retrieved from https://gsuite.google.com/features/

OTTL (2018) Google Classroom. Community-Centered Tools. Online Tools for Teaching and Learning. University of Massachusetts. Retrieved from https://blogs.umass.edu/onlinetools/community-centered-tools/google-classroom/

Web 2.0 In the Classroom

Today’s classrooms are filled with technology from computers and multi-use devices to web-based programs. Students in online courses or mixed courses should be flexible in learning many types of programs to help aid them to learn and grow skills. Online web-based programs relate to the five types of multimedia of text, video, audio, graphical, and animation programs. The five types of multimedia programs cater to students learning styles by providing choices and ways for them to learn. Teachers and students have many tools available to them online. Teachers usually have some sort classroom administration program or learning management system to organize course or lesson content. Teachers use these programs to create assignments, quizzes, feedback, announcements, assessments, create discussion or forum boards, and enter grades into the system. Some teachers and schools/colleges use larger LMS systems like Sakai or Blackboard. Other teachers may use versions easier for students and that are free such as Google Classroom, Schoology, or Edmodo. Teachers and students online have a wide array of tools that are used for presentations, communications, video, file storage and sharing, free education (MOOC), drawing/CAD, collaboration, animation, web search, virtual field trips, and virtual reality/augmented reality.

Presentation programs include PowerPoint, Prezi, and Google Docs. Communication programs include Skype, Anymeeting, and Google Hangouts. Video programs include YouTube and Vimeo. Users can find file storage with Google Drive along with many other sites available on the internet. Free education courses can be found through MOOC or massive open online courses such as Edx. Students can use TinkerCAD and Sketchup to draw models and create 3D designs that can be printed or milled on machines for hands-on activities. Students and teachers can collaborate on web-based programs such as Google Docs and online whiteboards. Google Docs users can create presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and documents. Users can save, share, and edit from the same document. Online whiteboards like Awwapp and RealTimeBoard allow teachers and students to share information on the screen. Animation programs are popular with children to show short bits using Animoto, Pixton, and Zimmer Twins to animate characters and objects. Users often use Google and Bing to conduct searches online. Google is also very useful with its Maps and Google Earth programs that allow students to see geography, places, video, street views, the globe, space, and planets for field trips and virtual reality presentations.  The programs mentioned above are ones that I have used or tried. Teachers should see what works best for them and create a list of programs that will be used over time. Another good practice is forming best practices and policies for using such programs in classrooms and online. Both students and teachers along with family members should take courses in digital citizenship to help learn how to best use technology and web-based programs. Using web 2.0 programs online help both students and teachers to be more engaged in the course along with becoming technologically literate.