Enhancing your teaching practice with Google Apps
Explore the capabilities of Google applications and uncover how they can simplify administrative tasks, enable engaging learning experiences, and promote collaboration among students and teachers.
16 November 2023
While Google has been a part of the digital landscape for 25 years, its suite of applications has continued to evolve and expand over time. NSW Department of Education employees can access Google Education apps for free in the Staff Portal. Learn how to incorporate the range of apps into daily teaching and learning activities.
Google Drive is a cloud-based storage system accessible from anywhere. It can be used to organise teaching materials, collaborate with colleagues or students, and manage different levels of access control.
Consider these three practical ways to incorporate Google Drive into your daily routines:
Create folders and subfolders to categorise resources and materials for various subjects or classes. You control levels of editing access to determine who can view, comment on, or edit the documents or folders.
Utilise the comments feature for unit registration. Many teachers find it useful to use a digital platform to register teaching and learning activities. Use the comment feature to note adjustments in the lesson sequence and provide feedback on individual activities or the unit as a whole. Google Drive timestamps these comments, providing a valuable record for tracking curriculum delivery. Colleagues can annotate the same document, making it useful for those who job-share or co-teach.
Google Drive has the capacity to save work automatically and record detailed revision history of files, enabling teachers to track changes and revert to previous versions when necessary. This is beneficial for monitoring student progress and ensuring academic integrity.
Google Classroom acts as a central platform where teachers can communicate with students, post announcements and address questions. It streamlines communication by providing a single space for all class-related information. However, some may not be aware of the additional features that maximise productivity and collaboration:
Practice sets is a new feature which allows users to create or upload short answer and multiple choice quizzes. Students can even draw their answers or show their working out for mathematics-based questions. Best of all, the answers are marked instantly with real-time feedback provided to students.
Use the discussion posts feature to make announcements and ask questions to individual students or the group as a whole. For example, at the end of the lesson, post an exit question that all students can comment an answer to. There is also the option to use the scheduling feature which allows users to schedule the date and time that the post should appear.
At the end of the year or semester, archive the classroom. Once archived, the contents of the Google Classroom will not disappear. In fact, it becomes useful for finding student samples of work and can save time by allowing users to duplicate a task from an archived classroom and assigning it to an active classroom.
Google Forms allows users to create surveys, quizzes and forms which assists teachers in efficiently assessing, providing feedback and collecting data on student performance. Google Forms is particularly useful to:
Simplify your informal or formal assessment processes using the self-grading form feature. Whether it's a quick check for understanding or a comprehensive exam, self-grading Google Forms allow teachers to efficiently assess students' knowledge, track progress and identify areas that may require additional support.
Create a survey or feedback form using Google Forms templates. Use the form to gather feedback on how students’ felt about a new unit of work or encourage them to engage in self-reflection and self-assessment.
Jamboard is a collaborative digital whiteboard that can be used for both independent and group work. Here are some ways to use Jamboard in the classroom:
Find inspiration in the Jamboard templates available on the department's Digital Learning Selector. The templates showcase various ways Jamboard can be used, including employing the drawing tool to demonstrate working out and problem-solving, using drag-and-drop features for mathematics concepts and enhancing literacy skills by arranging letters to spell out words.
Promote discussion and collaboration by posing a two-sided question on the Jamboard, such as 'Should all students learn a foreign language in school?'. Students can write their name on the Jamboard using the sticky notes function and place it on the side they agree with. Encourage further discussion by asking students to justify their answer either verbally or in writing on the Jamboard.
Before students start working on a task, ask them to brainstorm their thoughts on the Jamboard. In doing so, teachers are able to check if they are on the right track or need some extra assistance.
For additional support, visit the Technology 4 Learning webpage to discover a range of on-demand professional learning, webinars, a virtual staffroom podcast and technology based teaching and learning resources.