Considering the current trends in education, the skill of “keeping up with the progress” has become essential. Nowadays it involves the active use of remote learning technologies. One of such tools is Google Services which is a system that can be accessed by any owner of a Google account.
According to Google, more than 40 million students and teachers all over the world use the free services of this technological giant created specifically for education purposes. Lots of universities and schools are even implementing Google services into their education systems nowadays.
These services are beneficial for both teachers and students. However, the introduction of new initiatives without the necessary training can be stressful for any user. Continue reading this article to find out more about technologies’ versatile possibilities in order to not fall behind the trends.
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Let’s have a look at Google education tools currently available. Let’s start with Google Classroom, a learning management system that allows you to create classrooms, grade assignments, provide feedback to students, post announcements, and distribute learning materials. The instructor can see who has completed the assignment and who is still working on it as well as read questions and comments from students.
Google Drive is a cloud storage service or, more simply, your personal data storage where you can place files of different types: text, images, photos, audio, video, presentations, and so on. If you use Google Drive as part of G Suite at your institution, you will not have limits on how much data you can store which is quite handy because you do not have to worry about the Disk becoming full, or about deleting old files. If you use Google Drive personally, you are offered 15 GB of space for free but you have an option to buy additional space.
Google Drive also contains a number of useful applications that allow you to create and save files of various types.
Google Docs. It is a service that allows you to create and edit text documents. This text editor is very similar to the well-known Microsoft Word but has a number of advantages, such as sharing, commenting, the ability to insert various elements, and a large selection of add-ons that optimize your work and save time. Moreover, it can be accessed from various devices.
Google Sheets. This service enables the analysis and visualization of data. In many ways, it is similar to Excel but has some advantages like the possibility to edit online or offline.
Google Forms. They allow you to quickly create surveys and collect data, getting necessary feedback from students and parents.
Google Presentations. This application can be considered as an alternative to PowerPoint, although there are fewer editing options.
Google Drawings. This service allows you to create diagrams, charts, and other types of images.
G Suite for education also includes the following tools:
- It has a user-friendly interface, contact, and task management.
- Google Calendar. It can be used for scheduling appointments and meetings with students, parents, other teachers, etc.
- Google Hangouts. This is an app for video conferencing and instant messaging.
- Google Sites. It can be used to create a class site or teacher’s blog, make a student’s portfolio site, create a web page with learning materials, post homework, and practice assignments, etc. You can also create groups there to discuss school-related issues, send educational materials, and organize distance courses.
- Google My Maps is a convenient service for creating your own interactive maps for History or Geography lessons.
The main advantages of using Google services in education from the user’s point of view:
- minimal hardware requirements (Internet access is enough);
- Google technologies do not require purchasing and maintaining special software (applications can be accessed through a web browser window and even can be used offline);
- Google supports all operating systems and client programs used by students and educational institutions;
- all Google tools are for free.
Google services can be used at any stage of the class. These services allow not only access to electronic educational resources but also facilitate communication and collaboration between students, help teachers monitor and evaluate learning achievements, remotely manage the process and create a personalized learning strategy to meet the needs of all participants of the educational process.
Except for facilitating education worldwide with their tools, Google is also changing the way we approach an education system in general. The company announced a new certification program that could negate the value of (already questionable enough) diplomas and degrees. The cherry on top is the shortened training period (Google offers six months instead of the usual four to six years of bachelor’s and master’s degrees) and the low cost of education compared to college.
Google’s initiative exposes a global problem of the growing need for a paradigm shift in higher education and professional training. The gap between what is taught at universities and what employers need is obvious, and universities, if they want to be competitive and in demand, are changing their programs so that students can get involved in real professional activities from their first year at university.
The company is creating courses (Google Career Certificates) where job seekers learn the basic skills they need to get a job quickly after graduating from the program/course. Moreover, when hiring, the company plans to consider certificates on a par with diplomas.
What trends does the Google initiative show:
- Higher education, like any traditional format, is under threat. The tendency is that fewer people will study in traditional universities since they do not see any value in it.
- Professional skills formation is inextricably linked to their application.
- Financial mechanisms of getting educational services are changing.
- Educational process personalization is just around the corner. Students will pay only for those education services providers that put students’ interests and demand first.