Head back to schools with Google Drive

Posted by guest blogger Wendy Gorton via http://googledrive.blogspot.com/2013/08/drivebts-teachers.html

Wendy Gorton is an education consultant for organizations around the world. She’s a former classroom teacher, Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, and is passionate about creating learner-centered environments using tools like Google Apps for Education

Follow the Drive Google+ page this and next week for daily tips and suggestions for using Drive in the classroom.

Google Drive is the all-in-one tool I wish I had my first year of teaching. It not only keeps all of your lesson plans, activities, and research organized, but it’s an outstanding way to engage your students, give them feedback, and give their writing a real audience—like their peers or classrooms around the world.

Here are 3 tips to help teachers prepare for going back to school with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms.

1. Use Slides to get to know your students 
A great first-week introductory activity is to create a single slide deck, and then invite each of your students to share a bit about themselves on their own personal slide. It’s a fantastic get-to-know-you activity for the first week of school and you’ll be amazed by the creativity that comes out of your students!

The screenshot below shows how Google Student Ambassadors from 9 different countries used Slides to introduce themselves before gathering to meet each other at an event in Indonesia this summer.

Want to get this going with your students? Easy—create a new Slides deck on the first week of school, click the blue Share button to invite your students, and give them a little direction for their individual slide by adding comments.

2. Use Docs to create a classroom “Bill of Rights” 
The first week of class is that precious transition from the “honeymoon” period of angelic children to learning the norms of your classroom culture. Help start the year off right by inviting students to co-create their ideas of citizenship and a happy learning environment, Docs style.

Start by creating a copy of this template and then invite students to join in with you to add their ideas, ratify by adding a comment, and use their editing prowess to come up with a final copy to live by for the coming year.

3. Use Forms to get to know your students (and their prior knowledge!) 
Get to know your classroom as soon as possible, using Forms to gather information about their needs, interests, and abilities beforehand. Consider creating a simple Form for a survey for your students (and for your parents!) and have fun showing the data on your projector and learning about your class as a whole.

Forms can be used as a very quick getting started activity before any lesson as well—take this example from a social studies classroom before talking about population. By placing a quick Form on your classroom site or emailing your students the Form, you can quickly grasp your students’ prior knowledge—before you start teaching.

In this case, our team was a bit off, but helped us not only talk about population but estimation and numbers in general (answer? 7.1 billion and counting. My favorite answer? One ‘goggle.’)

One last tip: Google Apps for Education
You know this is way easier when your school has its own Google Apps for education set up, right? It’s free, and no technical expertise is needed to get started.