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The use of apps for education is not only beneficial but necessary in today’s society. Educational apps can promote success in any school setting and prepare students for a career across a large variety of industries. They can also link to curriculum materials prepared by teachers, such as video tutorials, and leave room for a digital space to have insightful discussions with fellow peers. Google apps, in particular, feature tools that help facilitate this.
Google apps are recommended to use for educational purposes because they offer an unlimited amount of educational resources for teachers and students to take advantage of. The many digital tools the apps offer allows students to learn new information in unique and creative ways, no matter their learning style.
Of course, the basic apps Google offers conveniently help teachers monitor student progress and enable communication with parents and guardians. However, there are more advanced apps available that bring benefits beyond distributing and grading school assignments. If students use Google’s educational apps, they will have opportunities to discover new interests and share them by connecting differently with people in the same room and remote locations.
What Are the Benefits of Educational Apps?
Educational apps are designed to access an immense amount of knowledge in a few clicks. Using educational apps, teachers, parents, and students can make connections with resources in a visual way that will benefit them more than verbally talking and reading in a standard classroom. Everyone can connect with peers by creating content together and commenting and critiquing each other, and classes can easily become student-led.
Benefits of Google Classroom Apps
What makes the Google app suite for education unique is that it has all the tools teachers need to make this and more possible in one place: Enter Google Classroom.
Google Classroom is a free web service that is home to a variety of apps that create an advanced digital learning experience, including:
Google Classroom also has a few added features that aid teachers in the classroom, whether in person or virtually. For example, originality reports are a standard feature used to improve student compositions and help teachers grade appropriately. Even more features become available when instructors sign up for the advanced version of Google Classroom (G Suite).
The following table lists the features most educational apps have for instructors and students compared to how they translate to Google Classroom (basic and advanced versions):
Google Classroom’s Must-Use Apps
If you’re an educator, it is worth at least using the following apps Google Classroom has to offer:
If you teach an ESL class, the Google Translate app is a must-have. In a group setting, Translate will transcribe speech as it is happening. For example, if you or a student gives a presentation, the language’s translation can appear on laptop or phone screens for students not fluent in the language.
For in-class discussions, you can also enable Conversation Mode to help translate languages for different students. They will only have to choose their preferred language, and they’re all set.
Of course, students can use the app on their own to translate various online educational resources you provide them to enhance their learning.
The Translate app currently supports 108 languages when viewing web pages. Fifty-nine languages can be downloaded for offline translation (Source: Google).
Think of the Jamboard app as an advanced, digital whiteboard. With Jamboard, students can view, collaborate, or independently work, just like with any other type of Google file. All work they do and the notes you provide on Jamboard will remain in the Google Classroom, so students absent from class can always view it later.
Jamboard can also be integrated with Google Meet to share work and notes during online gatherings. The app’s handwriting recognition feature is useful to complement keyboarding.
Google’s Keep app allows teachers to build workbooks for various topics or classes. The handy tool saves thoughts, lists, and voice memos on any device and can be archived at any time. You can even save a website or photo with one click.
The notes you save on Keep are private, but they can be shared within a spreadsheet or doc by using a URL link.
Google Play Books
The Google Play Books app helps teachers and students arrange their digital library. Digital books can be purchased or shared between users and can be available for reading both online and offline from whichever device you choose (Source: Google).
Students can also benefit from the latest Google Play Books Beta feature: a new shelf called “Ready to Read.” The feature shows students the books they haven’t finished yet and marks where they last left off. To enable Ready to Read, you will need to toggle the feature in your Google Play Books settings.
Google Expeditions serves as a companion to Google Maps and Google Earth’s high-definition satellite imagery that covers over 98% of the world with newly enhanced colors.
The app allows teachers to guide students through collections of 360-degree scenes and 3D objects, visiting different historical and other key sites. Educators can also provide virtual field trips almost anywhere in the world, including different museums.
Google Expeditions proves to be very useful for geography, history, and even science classes and can bring current and historical events into focus by allowing teachers to show students various locations and landmarks. Landforms and other details like forests and crops can also be visible to serve as additional visual references for students.
Classright is a free Google sheet add on used by over a million teachers to manage Google Classroom.
It allows you to bulk create, list, delete courses & bulk add, invite, list or delete students from Courses. You can learn more about Classright here.
Naturally, teachers cannot have a successful online class without taking advantage of one of Google’s many communication apps:
Google Chat – Google Chat is a messaging app that can easily be found through a Gmail account’s dashboard; simply go to the sidebar on the left to access it. This app is best used for one to one, group and room based messaging.
Google Meet – Google Meet is primarily a video conferencing app which allows you to do video conferencing within your or outside your school, you can also use it to organize live steams.
Google Duo – Google Duo functions just like FaceTime on Apple devices, and can be used between two people at a time. It is free to use and can be accessed here by anyone with a Google account. This is ideal for one-on-one video meetings with students you may be tutoring or online parent-teacher meetings.
In conclusion, Google offers a plethora of different apps, both within Google Classroom and out, that can aid teachers in providing students with a one-of-a-kind digital learning experience. If you want to teach a virtual class with a whiteboard, consider Google Jamboard. For fun, out-of-the-classroom trips across the world, use Google Expedition. Of course, if sharing assignments or hosting discussions is what you need the most, you can never go wrong with Assignments or one of Google’s communication apps like Google Hangouts.
New to Google Classroom and Google’s other educational apps? Check out their comprehensive training program for educators.