About Google Apps
The Google Apps (For Education) suite is comprised of the five core elements – Google Mail, Docs, Drive, Calendar and Sites. Although these five elements do quite different things, they all share one theme in common – collaboration. Collaboration, where we work together to achieve a shared goal, is a hugely important element in learning. At University, as in life, people learn by constructing their own knowledge, and this is in part achieved by interacting and working with others.
Collaboration lies at the heart of each of the Google Apps, and they all have common features that enable sharing of work amongst colleagues and students virtually instantaneously.
Google Docs allow the collaborative creation of text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and images. They are ideal for peer review, formative feedback, and any other type of group work such as creating “wiki” type documents.
Google Forms provide a very versatile means of capturing data which can again be shared amongst a group. This could be survey data, lab or field class data, or qualitative data completed as part of a small group activity in a class. Forms collate the data from multiple respondents into a single spreadsheet meaning they can be analysed and reviewed by a group of students almost immediately. Because the data is stored in a spreadsheet it can be readily visualised for interpretation.
Google Sites allow the easy creation of websites, allowing the development of important digital literacy and skills in learning how to communicate via web based media. Sites are easy to use, enabling students to focus on how they present information rather than unnecessary technicalities. Sites offer powerful collaboration tools which means certain students can be given rights to view all of a Site, but can only author certain pages within it.
Google Apps are readily available to staff and students alike, and being web based, they are easily accessible to anyone with a web browser, without having to install any software, or worry about managing versions and incompatibilities. There are also apps available for both Android and iPad.
For practical guides on how to use Google Apps For Education, please see the CiCS Google Pages.