Reasons to use Google Drive in your Geography Classroom

A Google Edu account is a powerful tool to support teaching and learning in your school. All schools and colleges are entitled to a Google Edu account. A Google Edu account for your school provides access to an email account, Google Drive, G Suite Sheets (Docs/Slides/Sheets apps), Google Classroom and unlimited storage space for every member of staff and student. It can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. If you need support in setting up and administering a Google Edu account our friends over at cre8tiveit.solutions can help you.

In this post, I’m assuming you already have a Google Edu account for your school. Below I’ll share ways you can get the most from your Google Edu account in Geography.

Google drive 

Google drive provides storage space in the cloud (the internet to you and me!). You can upload existing documents to Google Drive and share these with colleagues and/or students within your organisation (and those outside!), this means there is no need for external drives. Any resources you upload or create from home using G Suite will be available when you log in at school. You can also download the Google Drive app for your computer/laptop to save your documents locally. They will then automatically upload to your Google Drive. You can share folders with members of your team so you can share resources quickly and easily. This helps reduce workload because they can make a copy and quickly adapt it so it meets the needs of their students.

Google Drive enables you to quickly share model examples with your class. They can refer to these should they need further guidance.

If students share their work with you through Google Drive you have a real-time view of the progress they are making as you can view what they are doing and give feedback immediately. You can also display the work of a student using a digital projector and have the class provide feedback. Another benefit of sharing documents is that you can also make copies of student work to use as models in the future.

Using Google Drive can help you achieve a paperless classroom saving hundreds of pounds of your departmental budget each year.

A file is created in G Suite it includes a history of engagement within the document. This means that you can see who has collaborated and when. Ultimately, in group projects, you can uncover who has contributed to the work.

Drive automatically saves documents in real time which overcomes the issues many of us have experienced with computers crashing and work being lost. Even with the best will in the world students and teachers forget to save work. You can rest assured that the auto-save within Google Docs, Sheets and Slides will save you in any of these situations.

Slides

Slides is a presentation app that works like Microsoft Powerpoint or Apple Keynote. You can:

  • Share any presentations you have created with students or colleagues
  • Embed YouTube videos
  • encourage collaboration – multiple students can work on the same presentation at the same time from different devices in different locations
  • By sharing documents with their peers’ students can assess each other and provide formative feedback

Docs

Docs is a word processing app. Microsoft Word users will be familiar with its layout and features. You could use Docs to:

  • provide feedback to students who have shared a document to with you through adding comments
  • encourage collaboration – multiple students can work on the same document at the same time from different devices in different locations

Sheets 

If you can use Excel you can you can use Google Sheets. Sheets provides great opportunities for collaboration. If students are completing fieldwork they can work together in manipulating and presenting data. As well as performing the normal functions of spreadsheet software Sheets has some great features for geographers. For example:

Forms 

Google Forms is a really useful tool for gathering formative feedback. You can create questionnaires to get feedback from students or, with a 3/4G connection, use them when completing fieldwork. Also, they could be used to check understanding by setting up tests.

Another feature of forms is quizzes. You can see automatic summaries all quiz responses, including:

  • Frequently missed questions
  • Graphs marked with correct answers
  • Average, median, and range of scores

If you collect email addresses, you can assign points and leave feedback on individual responses.

Quizzes can be used to check learning if you are using a flipped learning approach. For homework, students could watch an online video then complete a quiz. This will show you they have watched the video and the degree to which they have understood it.

All the features explored here are pulled together into Google Classroom, a learning management solution, built specifically for eduction. I’ll explore this in a future post.

For the adventurous, it’s possible to get the G Suite apps to interact with each other. An example of this is developing an automated feedback system that I have covered previously

If your school has not got a Google Edu account you need to start knocking on doors and if you need support getting the infrastructure set up give cre8tiveit.solutions a shout.  cre8tiveit.solutions can also provide training in the use of G Suite.

Anthony Bennett

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