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Using Google Apps for future focused schools

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Duration: 4:9

Blended e-learning facilitator, Brad Thomas and students from Ruawai School explain how using Google Apps has enabled a transformation in learning. Students can access their work anywhere, anytime to collaborate and seek feedback from an authentic audience.

Brad Thomas:

Part of my role, as a Blended e-Learning facilitator, has been to help schools to set up and then implement Google Apps for Education. Using Google Apps for Education has really transformed the way that the students learn. The way they create work, the way they share work, and the way that they are now able to interact with their community. Having a Google account means that the students have a single sign in and this gives them access to a lot of different services and tools.

Student:

We can, we make documents, we can make presentations, we can draw on there, and we can share.

Student:

We use Google Drive to take a snapshot of us, and we use that for our photo, or when it has a Māori name and an English name.

Brad Thomas:

One of the greatest benefits of using Google Apps for Education has been the ability for students to work in a more collaborative nature.

Student:

Well I like them because you can do lots of stuff on them, like you can create your documents, and you can share it with other people, and you can have more than one person writing at a time, and it’s really cool.

Brad Thomas:

Using Google docs has also seen the breaking down of the classroom walls. Students now have ubiquitous access to their learning.

Student:

We can go on our Google docs at home and see like all the work we’ve done, so we can show our family what we’ve done, and we can show them like how to do stuff.

Brad Thomas:

So one of main transformations has been using the blogs to develop literacy.

Student:

My learning this year is different because like when you want to publish, we don’t really use Microsoft Word anymore, we use Google docs. Or like, whenever we used to do writing and how we’d share it, we don’t do that anymore. Every Friday we just blog it out.

Brad Thomas:

Another way that the learning has been transformed by using Google docs and other Google applications is the ability for the students to have a much wider audience. The senior class at Ruawai School have created a structure where they have four folders within a folder. The four folders are based around the different learning areas, so they have a folder for maths, reading, writing, and inquiry. The parent folder is shared with the teacher, and so when the student is ready to share some completed work, they then just drag that piece of work into that folder and it’s automatically shared with their teacher. The teacher doesn’t have to go into the student’s accounts to find their work, they can just access all the completed work from within that file, within their own drive. Using Google Apps for Education has really given schools a heightened awareness of the importance of good digital citizenship practice, particularly with the students using individual blogs and being able to share their Google docs and presentations with a wider audience.

Student:

You have to be safe, be respectful, and you have to be literate. And, for ‘be safe’ you have to just be careful what you say’ and for – be respectful, don’t do any rude words on it, or rude stuff. And for ‘be literate’ just, just say good words.

Brad Thomas:

So students are being guided into leaving a positive digital footprint. In a 21st Century learning environment, Google Apps for Education has given students the ability to be able to collaborate, to share their work with a wider audience, ubiquitous learning, they can now learn from anywhere. The walls of the classroom are broken down. This also helps the students to develop critical thinking and also develop the key competencies of relating to others.

Tags: Primary, GAFE, Collaborative learning


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