I spent the first three days of my week becoming a Google Certified Educator. It was pretty intense, but I passed my level one and level two certification. The lists of cool things that I learned is pretty long, but here are 4 new ways that I plan on using Google Apps in my Science Classroom Next Year.
How do you become a Google Certified Educator?
The google training center is the best place to look for free training to prepare for the test. If you are already pretty familiar with google, there are Unit Reviews at the end of each section within the training that you can go through to help you prepare.
Be prepared to learn to use some unfamiliar apps. The training will walk you through using everything from Docs to Spreadsheets to Hangouts to Scholar. (If you don't know what google Scholar is… you will. And its pretty cool.)
You can sign up for your test here. You can take the exam on any computer with a webcam. The level 1 exam is $10 and the level 2 exam is $25. Both are 3-hour tests and you should expect to take the whole time. If you don't pass, you can pay the fee again and retest after a 14 day waiting period.
New Tricks For Using Google Apps in My Science Classroom
While preparing for the exam, I learned a BUNCH of new tricks. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Pinning Tabs
When using Google Apps in a science classroom, students often need to have multiple tabs open.
Maybe this is something that everyone knows about, but I sure didn't. It has made my life so much easier. When you have multiple tabs open in your chrome browser, you can right-click on any tab and select “Pin tab”. This will pin the selected tab to the upper left-hand side of your browser and prevents the tab from being accidentally closed. The tab will remain in that position until you unpin it or close your browser.
*Also, did you know you can right-click on a laptop by doing a 2 finger click? What?!?!
2. Choose Your Own Adventure Assignments in Google Presentations
This was kind of a “duh!” moment for me. I don't generally make presentations, so I kind of forgot that you could create a hyperlink in google presentations that will link to another slide in the presentation. This feature allows you to create a presentation that gives students some choice in how they learn.
This made me think about a lesson that I gave students last year where I found several different NewsELA articles that went really well with animal behavior. I didn't have an efficient way to allow students to decide which one they would like to read so I linked to all of the documents in google classroom. It wasn't terrible, but it was confusing to some of the kids who thought I wanted them to read and answer the questions for every article. Using the choose your own adventure model is a much more efficient way to do this.
3. Using Google Forms to Provide Support on Reviews or Assessments
This wasn't something that I saw in my google training, but the training sparked the idea. When you answer a question on a google form, there is an option for you to choose where your student goes based on their answer.
If a student gets a question wrong, you could have them go to a page that has a section with additional information if you were using google forms for a review. Or, it could take them to an alternate question if you were using this as an assessment tool. It's totally up to you how you use this feature.
4. Use Google Calendar to Communicate and Schedule Appointments with Students
Last year I start posting assignments on my google calendar and shared the calendar on my class website. I used my google calendar to lesson plan so it wasn't any extra work. You can attach documents to any event in google calendar and you can link to anything in your google drive. You can also create a list of students who would like to be reminded, and add a reminder to the calendar all at the same time.
The calendar can be shared directly with other staff members or parents as well.
This year, I am hoping that I can convince my team to schedule all of our meetings and events on google calendars. And what I would really like is if we used google calendar to schedule parent-teacher conferences. If GAFE, you can use your calendar to set up appointment slots and allow parents to select from the available slots on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also assign parents to time slots if they don't have access to the internet.
Also, I plan on teaching students how to use the Tasks tool in the calendar to help students prioritize tasks within my classroom.
A Few Other Ways that I Use Google Apps:
- How I Use Google Forms for Assessment
- Use a hyperdoc to create and share digital lesson plans
- Add guided lessons for PhET Simulations to google classroom
- Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs
- Create NGSS Aligned Unit Plans
What is your favorite way to use Google Apps for Education in your classroom? Comment below!