15 Little-Known Ways Google Can Help Teachers And Students

From Boolean search strings to grammer checks, Google can help both students and teachers. There is a little-known area of Google that focuses on helping just these users. Google has been making big steps towards helping higher education these days (Google Voice Now Free For .edu Emails) but this area, known as Google For Educators, has been around for about a year and is slowly gaining momentum in terms of popularity. After they just announced a few new features, Google For Educators is poised to have a very big year. Best of all, the resources are free and can really help both teachers and students as they prepare for the upcoming school year this summer. Here’s some of the tools that will help in the classroom:

Google Book Search

Google Book Search allows you to search the full text of our large and growing index of books, from popular titles to old, out-of-print and public domain volumes, to find pages that include your search terms. Once you find a given book, you can browse available pages, search further in that book, find online reviews, and learn where to buy the book or check it out of a nearby library, and in some cases, even read the entire title online.

Google Book Search can enhance your lesson plans in all kinds of ways, by enabling you to search for, and helping you locate, countless volumes you might not have been able to find any other way. Book Search finds can enhance everything from your bibliographies to your lesson plans; you and your students can access the full text of out-of-copyright books and search the full text of most other books to find the right volumes for any given assignment, project, or lesson.

Google Book Search will also enhance your students’ research by allowing them to access information from thousands of books with one quick search. Students can access and read the full text of out-of-copyright books, learn where to locate hard-to-find volumes in libraries or bookstores, and easily create more thorough bibliographies. Learn more about Google Book Search

Teachers speak out

As a chemistry teacher I try to take my classes to the “computer classrooms” or to the computers in the school library several times a month. My students have found Google Book Search to be especially valuable in reducing research time and in broadening sources for research far beyond our school’s library. Frankly, I don’t see how students would be able to complete research assignments without Google’s great tool. The secondary school research paper has entered a new era where the cost of access to reference books has all but disappeared. Brent Jones, 10th grade Chemistry teacher, Proviso West High School, Hillsdale, IL

Geo Education

At Google’s Geo Education site, where you will find helpful information on using Google Earth, Maps, Sky, and SketchUp in your K-12 classroom. For years, this suite of products has been identified as a powerful learning toolkit that can help your students conceptualize, visualize, share, and communicate information about the world around them. The Google for Educators team hopes these tools will empower you to bring the world’s geographic information to your students in a compelling, fresh, and fun way.

Google News

Google News brings together news from all around the world. With Google News, you can browse headlines from your favorite newspapers and magazines, all on a single page, or you can delve more deeply into the topics that interest you most, by searching thousands of news sources at once. Google News also allows you to search archived news, putting more than 200 years of content at your fingertips—so you can find primary sources more easily, and see what real-time observers had to say about the issues and events that would become part of the fabric of history. For example, searching for “moon landing” will return results published in 1969, showing you just what people were saying when the first man walked on the moon:


By giving you instant access to a variety of perspectives on almost any topic, Google News can help make your lesson plans more interesting and enlightening. If you’re studying current events, for instance—like the unrest in the Middle East—you and your students can learn what observers around the world are saying about the issues. If you’re studying American history—like the U.S. civil rights movement—you can quickly find primary sources to give your students a you-are-there look at important issues and events. And by setting up email news alerts, you and your students can track developments in the news on an ongoing basis.

Google News broadens students’ access to accounts of current and historical events, which can help deepen their understanding of the world. Using Google News to study how accounts of events in history books differ from newspaper accounts written while those events were unfolding, students can gain insight into how history is written, and develop their ability to think critically about the media. And learning to use Google News can help students research almost any topic more thoroughly, a skill that can benefit them in and out of the classroom.  Learn more about Google News or visit the new Google for Educators discussion group

Teachers speak out

Google News is a great way to engage students in the election process and media analysis as the 2008 candidates make their run for the White House. Set up student teams to research, reflect and record (in Google Docs) links to background news stories on each candidate. Students can use Google News Archives to create a timeline of news articles and brainstorm a list of common questions to apply as they research the news (Has the candidate’s views on issues changed over time? Is there anything in the background of the candidate that might prove to be a problem in the campaign?).   Cheryl Davis – Miramonte High School, Orinda, California.

iGoogle

You and your students can collect useful content from across the web and see it all in one place on iGoogle. From current events provided by numerous news providers to local weather and your school’s events calendar, you can select any number of customized items and place them on a page that’s specific to all of your own personal interests.

Here are a few of the hundreds of features that are available for your homepage:

  • A date and time clock
  • Your class calendar, easily accessed by students
  • Bookmarks for quick access to your recommended sites for students
  • Headlines from a variety of trusted news sources
  • Link to your class Blog with messages to students or families
  • Access to searchable elections videos through Google’s Elections Video Search.

If you can’t find the “gadget” you want, you can even ask tech-savvy students to create one for you as a classroom assignment (you can find directions for creating gadgets. You can also use information from gadgets like Quote of the Day or Google News as a trigger for a quick daily class discussion.

Your students, meanwhile, can get organized and stay that way by easily adding multiple gadgets to their personalized homepage that will help them with their studies and schoolwork. Suggested gadgets for students include calendars, to do lists, maps, blogs, weather, Gmail, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and news and elections videosfrom various accredited sources.

To use iGoogle, all you and your students need is an email account. You can register your current email account at Google Accounts or get a new Gmail account. Gmail is now available through your cell phone or through your school itself, via Google Apps for Your Domain. Learn more about Google Personalized Homepage

Google Web Search – Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and we’ve heard from educators that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom.

The following Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

Start out
(Basic lessons)
Step up
(Intermediate lessons)
On top
(Advanced lessons)
Understanding search engines Start your engines Which link should I follow? Believe it or not
Search technique and strategies The Keys to Search City Your search toolbox The advanced search squad
Features and operators Quick Finds Advanced Advantage The Search Summit
Module A: Understanding Search Engines

Understanding the fundamentals of how search engines work will help your students become better searchers. This module starts with basic concepts and concludes with something that educators overwhelmingly asked us to cover: teaching students how to judge search results and validate the authority of sources they use.

    1. Start your engines (Basic)
      Web 101; search engines overview; online content that is indexed and searched.
      Lesson » Presentation »
    2. Which link should I follow? (Intermediate)
      How Google search works; anatomy of a search results page.
      Lesson » Presentation »
    3. Believe it or not (Advanced)

Validating site authority; taking a research stance when using a search engine.
Lesson » Presentation »

Module B: Web Search Technique and Strategies

Search is easy but some practice and technique will take your students a long way. This module will help you teach basic tips and tricks and conclude with methods to deal with even the most challenging searches.

  1. The Keys to Search City (Basic)
    How to organize and approach a search.
    Lesson » Presentation »
  2. Your search toolbox (Intermediate)
    Best practices for keyword selection and use of search operators.
    Lesson » Presentation »
  3. The advanced search squad (Advanced)
    Different types of content indexed by Google; using it to address search challenges.
    Lesson » Presentation »
Module C: Google Web Search Features

We are constantly trying to improve search and making Google more useful. Help your students take full advantage of Google’s search technology with a solid understanding of its features and functionality.

  1. Quick Finds (Basic)
    Every day search features, tips and tricks.
    Lesson » Presentation »
  2. Advanced Advantage (Intermediate)
    Using Google’s search options, Advanced Search and operators.
    Lesson » Presentation »
  3. The Search Summit (Advanced)
    Taking advantage of language tools; experimental features and more.
    Lesson » Presentation »

More resources:

The Google Custom Search Engine

Ever wish you could create a personalized, customized search engine that searches only across sites that you specify and displays results that you know will be right for you or your students? Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) allows you do do just that. All you need to do is choose the websites and pages you’d like to search, then follow a few simple steps to create a CSE. Think of it as putting the power of Google web search to work for you.

Let’s say you’re a grade school teacher and you want your students to access only child-safe sites. You can pre-select the sites, list them in the settings of your new search engine, and then let your students use it — knowing that they’re searching the web safely. And because you choose the sites to search, they’ll get a limited number of highly relevant search results, making the time they spend online more efficient and rewarding.

You can also share your knowledge and expertise with colleagues and the educational community at large by creating a CSE that searches a specific set of educational sites, professionally vetted resources, or an esoteric blend of your personal favorites. There’s no limit to the number of CSEs you can create — in fact, since we released the CSE tool, people have created more than 100,000 custom search engines, reflecting all kinds of interests and purposes.

With Google Custom Search Engine, you can:

  • Create a CSE at any time and Google will give you a landing page with a unique URL. You also have the option of applying your own site’s look and feel.
  • Invite friends and colleagues to collaborate and contribute to your search engine, enhancing its usefulness to your community.
  • Provide your own search refinements within results pages so it’s easier for your users to find the information they’re looking for.
  • Easily add more sites to your search engine’s index as you surf the web.
  • New! You can create a CSE on the fly simply by cutting and pasting a few lines of code into your website’s HTML. Your new automatically generated CSE will let people search the websites you’ve linked to, as well as the sites they link to. For instance, if you’ve created a directory, a blog roll, or a list of online resources, your CSE will enable your users to search across these sites and the sites they reference.

What will your CSE look like? If you choose to have Google host it, it will look something like Lucy Gray’s Research Sites for Kids.

If you already have your own website, you can integrate your new CSE in your site. On this Google Pages site, for instance, the CSE appears as a search box and results are displayed on the site.

Realclimate.org is another example of an integrated Custom Search Engine — note the search box in the top right, and the search results which appear below.

What would you like your colleagues or students to discover on the web? Give it some thought, then feel free to give Google Custom Search Engine a try.

Teachers speak out

“Google Custom Search Engine is incredibly useful for teachers. Essentially, you create your own search engine by selecting the sites that Google will index. It searches only the sites I specify, bypassing a lot of the junk. Why is this useful? I’ve accumulated 400+ bookmarks related to the material I teach, and I add more all the time — it can take a long time to find what I’m looking for. Now I use my Google Custom Search Engine to search through all the sites instead of sorting them. Sites such as PBS.org, free.ed.gov, and the History News Network have an enormous amount of great material… Now I can quickly search all of them for relevant content in a fraction of the time. The same thing applies to all those sites that specialize in lesson plans. It takes forever to find anything worthwhile. It’s much faster just to search though them, and search all of them at once. I’ve created a custom Google search engine… My hope is that this can become a teaching tool used and maintained by a community of teachers.” Nate Grondin, Social Studies Teacher

Google Notebook

If you spend a lot of time online, chances are you’ve come across information you wish you could revisit later, whether to digest it more slowly, investigate it further, or share it with a friend or colleague. With Google Notebook, you can browse, clip, and organize information from across the web in a single online location that’s accessible from any computer. Crafting a lesson plan? Researching a topic? Just add clippings to your notebook. You don’t even have to leave your browser window.

To try it out, simply sign in to the Google Notebook homepage with your Google Account username and password, then download the Google Notebook browser extension. As soon as you restart your browser, you’ll see a Google Notebook icon in the bottom-right corner of your browser window. Click on this icon to open your mini Google Notebook, where you can save clips of any online content that interests you.

With Google Notebook, you’ll be able to:

  • save clippings from sites around the web so you can access them later
  • annotate your clippings by adding your own thoughts or comments
  • organize clippings into different notebooks or in sections within a single notebook
  • search the full text of your own notebooks and any public notebooks
  • invite specific collaborators to contribute to your notebook — just click on the “sharing options” link in the top right-hand corner of your Google Notebook and enter the email addresses of the people you’d like to share it with
  • share the information in your notebook with everyone — once inside “sharing options,” select “publish this notebook” to make your Notebook public

For step-by-step instructions, take a look at the Google Notebook tour.

For instance, when building a lesson plan, you might clip and save relevant tidbits of information or links you’d like to refer to. You can create a separate notebook to plan your activities for an upcoming conference. If you’re collaborating on a project with a colleague, you can use a shared notebook to work together in real time as you assemble references and notes. You could even create a notebook to keep track of interesting Google Group discussions you’ve participated in, so you can find and reference them later.

In class, your students can use Google Notebook to document where they’re finding information while completing a Webquest. Teams of students working on group projects can keep track of online sources, such as books they find through Google Book Search, in their shared notebooks. And if they share it with you, you can annotate the clippings, letting them know what you think of the sources they’ve selected.

Teachers speak out

“I’m using it as my online notebook; I’ve got different areas for different apps and thoughts. I’m finding it particularly useful right now in conjunction with Google Groups. Since I receive posts in digest form and there is no way to single out a single post to refer to later, I simply select the post and click ‘note this’ to paste it into the appropriate section of my notebook. References to the ongoing discussion of our locations in Google Earth goes in my Google Earth section. Things I want to look into further go into my ‘Check It Out’ section. I’m telling ya…if you haven’t opened your Google Notebook yet, you’re missing out! The BEST part is that I can access it from ANY computer ANYWHERE at ANY time. I no longer have to worry about ‘schlepping’ my hard copies around or walking around w/a permanent slouch in the left shoulder from all the weight.” Nancy Sharoff,  Math Teacher

Blogger

Blogger makes it easy for teachers and students to share work, class notes, and pictures online. And with new access controls, educators can even make private blogs for their classes’ eyes only.

As a teacher, Blogger can help you stay connected to your students, their parents, and the rest of the school. With Blogger you can update parents about their children’s progress and keep them posted on upcoming events; publish a class or school newsletter; share photos and student work; post course documents, projects and results; and easily assign collaborative group projects online with an easy way to track students’ progress.

Students can use Blogger to communicate ideas, photos and class notes, improve their writing skills, and even jump right into web publishing without having to learn HTML.  Free blogs, accessible from any computer that’s connected to the Internet, can help students easily create hubs for collecting information for both long and short-term projects; store information as unpublished drafts; collect feedback on their work from classmates, teachers and parents; and take on collaborative projects where multiple students can work and comment.

Even school sports teams, dance clubs and other extracurricular school groups can use Blogger to communicate with parents about upcoming events; share group calendars; and offer event highlights and pictures.Learn more about Blogger

Additional educational blogging resources:
Teaching Today – Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom
My eCoach – Classroom Blogs

Teachers speak out

In all of my graduate courses that I teach, my students (who are teachers, too) have to keep a journal of their learning experiences in my courses. Each student sets up a blog at blogger.com to keep this journal. These particular blogs weren’t interactive, so comments weren’t posted. This assignment has helped the students learn about the importance of writing to an audience in addition to giving them a better understanding of blogging. Blogs give students the opportunity to reflect, to vent and most of all to share their experiences. Blogger’s a great tool. Dr. Sheila Offman Gersch, New York City Public Schools

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an easy way for teachers, administrators and students to share time-related info like team schedules, assignment deadlines and school holidays. Anyone who needs to view a calendar can use it from any Internet-connected computer and access it on existing school web pages or within their own Google Calendar account.  Changes made by a calendar organizer are automatically seen by anyone who checks, which makes outdated versions a thing of the past.

You can set up separate calendars for each of your classes and share each one with a designated group of students,  parents or the entire community. You can use Google Calendar to share info about class topics and descriptions for each session; assignment deadlines; test and quiz dates; and field trips and other activities. You can also use calendars to organize your schedules with other teachers and administrators. And administrators can use calendars to keep students and families updated about holidays, parent-teacher conference dates and other school-wide events.

Between classes, assignments, team schedules, and personal appointments, it’s tough for students to keep track of everything that’s going on in their lives. Google Calendar can help, and it’s easy, because teachers, coaches, and other group organizers are in charge of keeping almost everything up to date. Students just need to sign up for the calendars that they want to see, and the events on those calendars will automatically show up and get updated when plans change.

Sports teams, clubs and other groups can use Google Calendar to keep students, teachers and parents current with their group schedule. Groups with more than one leader (for example, a coach and two captains) can easily designate multiple “owners” to keep the calendar updated.

Teachers speak out

I started using Google Calendar to organize my personal life and share events with friends, but it’s also been super useful as a teacher. This year I got all my school’s teachers and administrators to use Google Calendar to share school events and staff meetings. We’re also considering sharing Google Calendar schedules to keep students and parents informed about holiday schedules, sports events, and student club activities. Having a common online tool to store and share all of our calendar information is so much more efficient than expecting everyone to keep track of a thousand events on incompatible electronic organizers, and posted on hanging wall calendars. And best of all it’s free, which is great for schools on a tight budget! Jane Bryson, 10th grade humanities teacher, East Palo Alto Academy, East Palo Alto, CA

Google Docs

Google Docs is an easy-to-use online word processor, spreadsheet and presentation editor that enables you and your students to create, store and share instantly and securely, and collaborate online in real time. You can create new documents from scratch or upload existing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. There’s no software to download, and all your work is stored safely online and can be accessed from any computer.

Resources for Teachers

How Students and Teachers can use Google Docs

Google Docs’ sharing features enable you and your students to decide exactly who can access and edit documents. You’ll find that Google Docs helps promote group work and peer editing skills, and that it helps to fulfill the stated goal of The National Council of Teachers of English, which espouses writing as a process and encourages multiple revisions and peer editing.

Teachers are using Google Docs both to publish announcements about upcoming assignments and to monitor student progress via an interactive process which allows you to give guidance when it might be of maximum benefit – while your student is still working on an assignment. Through the revisions history, you can see clearly who contributed to what assignment and when; if a student says he or she worked on a given project over the last two weeks, it will be documented (no more “dog ate my homework” excuses)

Students will find that Google Docs can help them stay organized and keep on top of their assignments. They never have to remember to save their work; it happens automatically. It’s easy to collaborate online with fellow students, even when they aren’t in the same place, and they can get feedback easily from teachers, parents, relatives and tutors, and enter updates anytime from anywhere. And kids can go back to the revisions history to see how their assignment has evolved, and who has helped.

Some real-life example of Google Docs collaboration in action:

In October of 2007, Google held a “Global Warming Student Speakout”. We invited teachers to join us in a project that gave students from all over a chance to collectively brainstorm strategies for fighting global warming and have their ideas published in a full-page ad in a major newspaper. If you’re interested to see how we used Google for this, check out the Global Warming Student Speakout site.

Revision is a critical piece of the writing process—and of your classroom curriculum. Now, Google Docs has partnered with Weekly Reader’s *Writing for Teens* magazine to help you teach it in a meaningful and practical way. Download the PDF.

Teachers speak out

“In the Acalanes Union High School District teachers across the curriculum are using Google Docs to expand collaborative learning. In World History classes several teachers revamped student presentations on Imperialism from in-class Power Points to collaborative online Google Docs presentations. This enabled students to test their ideas and showcase their work to a larger audience. Advanced Placement classes in English and European History moved peer edited outlines and essays to Google Docs enabling students to access learning 24/7. In psychology, one teacher re-focused student research papers to include a Google Docs component so student research results are shared.

Students appreciate the ability to collaborate online in their own time frame. Teachers as well as students appreciate the stronger accountability for individual effort on group projects. Google Docs enables teachers to observe the projects as they unfold, giving students feedback prior to the final outcome. Teachers are able to individually assess student participation and content using the revision tab on Google Docs to see how editing is proceeding and to encourage students as they work.

And the students aren’t the only ones using Docs to collaborate. At one school, parent council meeting agendas and meeting outcomes are in Google Docs. Also department chair and staff meeting agendas have moved from paper to Docs encouraging staff leadership, collaboration, feedback and 24/7 access.”

Name: Cheryl Davis
Grades: High School (9-12)
Title: Technology Coordinator – Acalanes Union High School District
School: Acalanes Union High School District
Location: Lafayette, California, United States


“Many of my students use Google Docs when they are working in teams, both with essays and presentations. In some point of progress, the students invite me to join them and have a look at and give comments on their work. It helps me, as a teacher, to be able to participate in the process, not just see the final product. The students also appreciate that they can work without having to think about different software at home and at school.”

Name: Olof Andersson
Grades: Year 7 to 9
Subjects: Mathematics and science
School: Kvarnbergsskolan
Location: Gustavsberg, Värmdö, Sweden
Website or blog: http://blog.olofandersson.eu


“In my attempt to avoid sitting through days and days of PowerPoint presentations in my high school computer classes (and boring the students in the process), I decided to upload each of my students Online Safety PowerPoint’s to a Google account and the class joined the presentation. One student talked aloud while everyone listened and chatted about the presentation.  The students asked questions in the chat, added their own information and followed along in the presentation.

For the first time I can EVER remember as a teacher – 100% of the students were engaged in the presentation and participated in the chat.  The students were enthusiastic and offered insightful and appropriate comments.  The students liked being able to add their input without interrupting the presentation.  I will definitely use Google shared presentations again.”

Name: Colette Cassinelli
Grades:  7-12
Subjects: Computer Applications, Graphic Design, Digital Video Production
School: Valley Catholic School
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Website or Blog:  http://www.edtechvision.org

Google Groups

With Google Groups, you can set up your very own place to communicate and collaborate, safely and securely, with others online. You can use Google Groups to post important information such as student or parent contact information, host online discussions, and manage and archive multiple mailing lists. We designed Google Groups to be simple to set up and easy to use, so you can get started using it to share information with students and parents in a hurry. You can set up your group to be pubilshed for all to see, or you set it as a private group and share only with those of your choosing. And because you can customize Google Groups pages, you can make your group feel like a true home on the web.

Google Groups features like online discussions and real-time editing can make it simple for students to work together even when they’re not in the same physical location, sharing research findings, collaborating on group projects, and comparing notes on classroom lessons. Because you can set up multiple groups, Google Groups can make it easier to communicate directly, and privately, with the parents of your students. And Google Groups can improve communication between parents, about topics like carpools or snack schedules.

Google Groups can also help students become more effective outside the classroom. Because they can set up their own groups and email lists—of friends, teammates, study partners, fellow club members, or band mates—Google Groups can make it simpler for students to manage their personal lives and extracurricular activities. Visit the new Google for Educators discussion group or learn more about Google Groups

Teachers speak out

Communicating with students outside of the classroom has always been a challenge. Google groups has made it easy to keep in touch with my AP Biology students – they can post messages, discuss class content and ask for help. And since it’s an open forum, they can benefit from each others’ questions and feedback. Marschal Fazio, Advanced Placement Biology

Google Page Creator

With Google Page Creator, you can create functional, attractive web pages in just minutes—without having to learn code. You can customize your pages using a variety of styles, fonts, and background colors, and your pages can include images and links to other web pages. We’ve designed Page Creator to be simple to use—there’s no need to download anything to get started, and you can publish the pages you create with just one click. And perhaps best of all, Google hosts your pages for free.

Google Page Creator can make you more effective in and out of class. Using Page Creator, for instance, you might build a page detailing your lesson plans, and add a link to your page from your school’s website so that other teachers can learn from your experience. In the classroom, you can use Page Creator to introduce students to computer science. Since Page Creator allows users to view the HTML code of the pages they build, students can see how editing HTML code changes the look and performance of their pages, instantly.

Google Page Creator can make it easier for students to share information about the things that really matter to them. If a student is working towards a Boy Scout merit badge, for instance, he might create a page detailing his progress. If a student is captain of the swim team, she might create a page discussing past swim meets and previewing upcoming opponents. With Google Page Creator, students can exercise their creativity at the same time as they’re developing valuable web publishing skills. Learn more about Google Page Creator or visit the new Google for Educators discussion group

Teachers speak out

I teach special education and am always looking for ways to engage my students. My students respond well to technology and I have worked to incorporate it on a more regular basis. I had always wanted to create a class webpage but found the task too daunting to undertake. This semester, however, I learned how to design a webpage using page creator. My page offers resources for students, parents and other educators. On the webpage, students have access to a multitude of interactive educational games. In addition, parents have resources available to them dealing with issues in special education. The page is a great way to involve both students and parents with classroom activities. It has also made communication easier because parents are provided the most update information regarding school happenings. Parents no longer have to worry if their child forgets to give them the school newsletter. Rather, they can access the information via the website.  Jessica Alvarez, Special Education, Ocala Middle School

Picasa

Picasa is a free software download that enables you and your students to find, edit and share all the pictures on your PCs. It also offers the Web Albums feature, which enables you to easily upload photos from your computer to the web for sharing with others.

As a teacher, you’ll have to either download the software to each computer your class is using or ask your IT folks to download the software to school servers so that it’s accessible to all students.  Once downloaded, Picasa automatically locates all pictures on your computer and sorts them into visual albums organized by date, with folder names you’ll recognize. You can drag and drop photos to arrange them into albums, and Picasa has a built-in screensaver feature for displaying your photos. Picasa also makes advanced editing simple with one-click fixes and powerful effects.

For use in your classroom, you can organize photos of your class and special events, and make each of your students a photo CD. You can also create Web Albums for students to access from home, and integrate photography into your courses by having kids take lesson-related photos, post them to their Web Albums and present oral reports.

Journalism students can keep all photos for each edition of their newspaper or magazine in one location, so they’re easy to see and find. And students of all kinds can use Picasa and Picasa Web Albums to supplement their research and presentations in almost every subject they study. Or, just to organize and share their personal photos with friends and family. Learn more about Picasa

Teachers speak out

As an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher I train my teachers to use technology with their students. One program we have used is Picasa. With its low price (FREE!) I have found that it’s a great beginning photo editing program. One of the best things about Picasa is how it locates all of the picture files on your computer, allowing the user to easily pull photos from multiple folders into one project. Using Picasa, my students have created slideshows from scratch at the click of a button, created timelines and picture collages of famous Americans, and they have learned how to crop, edit and add effects to photos they have taken with the digital camera. Students can also create an instant web page with their photos, and with the Picasa upgrade students can create a web album of photos. What a great way for students to share their learning!  Amber F. Price, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk, VA

Google SketchUp

Students get excited about 3D modeling with SketchUp. Use 3D modeling to explore concepts and ideas!

Google SketchUp, whose award-winning toolset was developed for architects to help them design buildings, is modeling software that empowers designers – alone or in teams – to explore complex design ideas in 3D. Now it can do the same for your students. SketchUp is a great tool for easily teaching kids to construct 3D models of buildings, trees, cars, and the like. You can use it as a stand-alone tool, or in conjunction with Google Earth and the 3D Warehouse.

There are any number of lessons – from learning about area and volume to studying building and community design – whose concepts are best illustrated in 3D. SketchUp is one of those products that will easily get kids learning – and thinking they’re just having fun, as your classes apply SketchUp to geography, social studies, history and industrial technology. Students can use SketchUp to visualize geometry and other mathematical concepts, create models to learn about architecture, and design everything from games and toys to models of spaceships and cars.

Theater and film students can use SketchUp to conceptualize their sets. Students can use it to participate in community development projects that involve CAD, GIS, or other design applications. SketchUp can help math students at all levels to better understand geometric concepts. And 3D design can easily be added to any number of classroom projects that aren’t directly design-related, from designing a set for a Shakespeare play to creating visualizations of historical settings or getting students excited about history by building a virtual history museum.

Teachers speak out

SketchUp is the most versatile, easy-to-use 3D software I`ve ever worked with. We’ve got a lot of different software packages in our applied technology lab, but SketchUp is by far superior to anything else in terms of ease of use. Now, instead of spending an entire semester designing a single project, we can use SketchUp to create several iterations based on the initial design – instead of building one house, students can build 10, each one morphing from the previous version.” Dan Zahner, Teacher, Boulder High School, Boulder, CO

Google Apps Education Edition

Google Apps Education Edition is a broad IT solution that schools can use to bring communication and collaboration tools to the entire academic community for free. Google manages all the technology details, so you can focus your time, energy and budgets on teaching your kids.

Students, teachers and staff can share ideas more quickly and get things done more effectively when they have access to the same powerful communication and sharing tools. Google Apps Education Edition lets tech administrators provide email, sharable online calendars, instant messaging tools and even a dedicated website to faculty, students and staff for free. There’s no hardware or software to install or maintain, since everything is delivered through a standard web browser — anytime, from anyplace.

You can mix and match from the following services for your entire school :

Gmail - Offer email to your faculty, students and staff with 2 gigabytes of storage per account, search tools to help them find information fast, and instant messaging built right into the browser (chat can easily be disabled for the whole school if you don’t want students to be able to IM with their accounts).

Google Talk - Teachers and students can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free — anytime, anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibilities for people collaborating on projects from different locations.

Google Calendar - Everyone can organize their schedules and share events, meetings and entire calendars with others. You can even publish the school calendar on your website to let families know about events like back-to-school nights, homecoming and vacation days.

Google Docs – Students and teachers can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations and then collaborate with each other in real-time right inside a web browser window.

Google Sites – Create a class site and edit it the same way you’d edit a document — no technical expertise required. Your site can bring together all the information you want to share with your colleagues and students, including docs, calendars, photos, videos and attachments.

14 Comments

  1. Nancy

    May 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Just FYI – Google Notebook is no longer supported.

    • Edudemic

      May 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks! We will be sure to update the article. We started writing it back when Notebook was available. Thanks again.

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  7. testking

    June 21, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I have found your site to be a very helpful
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  8. Arline

    September 15, 2011 at 4:20 am

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  10. futureclassroomtech

    November 23, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Google rocks. What more can be said? We just started using Google Apps for Education.

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  13. Anonymous Coward

    October 26, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Can Google help with spelling as well as grammar? Only reason I ask is that you spelled grammar wrong :)