Everything Google: Review of Google Tools and Applications for Teaching and Learning

Google is much more that just an online search engine....it has grown rapidly to encompass a vast array of "free" tools and services that have transformed the way we use the Internet today. This session will highlight many of the free Google tools available today and share examples, ideas, and best practices for incorporating Google's various free tools into your instruction.

Session Goals

  • Highlight "free" Google tools available today
  • Share examples of use of various Google tools for teaching and learning
  • Explore best practices for incorporating Google tools into your instruction

Why Use Google Tools?

  • Not all learning management systems are created equal
  • Students retain control over their own content and access after the course ends
  • FREE! ... or is it?
  • Access from multiple platforms and formats (online, desktop, mobile)
  • Access any Google tool from the same Google account (no need to remember multiple logins)
  • Integration among Google tools with other Google tools (widgets, contacts, docs, etc.)

Google Tools

Click here for a sample Google Notebook with listing of Google tools and brainstorm educational uses

Rhode's Top 10 Google Tools for Education
DescriptionLearn More
Examples / Applications
Reasons Why It Made the Top 10
 Google Reader
Get all your blogs and news feeds fast

RSS in Plain English

Quick Tour of Google Reader

Jason Rhode's 2 Minute Intro to Google Reader

Request/require students to setup a free Google Reader account. Then, have them subscribe to the class blog, instructor blog, and/or other students' blogs in Google Reader. They only need to check one site, Google Reader

Faculty and students can share items that they find of interest in their Google Reader account for other contacts in their Google Contacts to view.

Students can subscribe to an instructor's shared Google Reader items to find news items that they might have interest in.

Jason Rhode's shared items from Google Reader

Login to just one account to see updates from ALL favorite online blogs, videos, and any site enabled with RSS

Easily setup auto-labeling and sorting of new content

Star content for personal viewing later or share with others
 Google Alerts  
Get email updates on the topics of your choiceMake Google Alerts Your Virtual Research Assistant
Create custom alerts on particular topic(s) of your research or teaching discipline to stay up-to-date on the latest news on the subject.

Students create custom alerts on topic(s) they are studying to see what the current developments are in the field.  Note - The more specific the terms for the alert are, the more refined and potentially useful the results will be.
Updates available as RSS feeds for viewing in 
Google Reader

Because Google Reader can be access from any mobile device, these updates can be at your fingertips virtually anywhere.
 Google Calendar
Organize your schedule and share events with friendsShare Your Calendar

Make a Calendar Public

Display a Calendar in Google Sites

Schedule Meetings in Google Calendar 
Create a calendar for your class and post assignment due dates, class meeting times, etc. 

Students then can subscribed to the class calendar and overlay it on their personal Google Calendar.

Students working on a group project can create a Google Calendar for the group, share ownership of the calendar among group members, and share with the instructor.

Embed a course calendar in any content area in Blackboard.

Sample Course Calendar: EDTC 6536 Fall 2008
Let your co-workers, family, and friends see your calendar, and view schedules that others have shared with you. When you know when everyone is free or busy, scheduling is a snap.

With two-way syncing to your mobile phone's built-in calendar or a mobile version of Google Calendar that's made for the small screen, you can access your calendar while you're away from your desk.

Customizable reminders help you stay on schedule. You can choose to be notified by email or get a text message sent right to your mobile phone.

Invite other people to events on your calendar. Guests can RSVP to your events by email or via Google Calendar.

Access your calendar however and whenever you want by syncing events with Microsoft Outlook,  Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird.

Know where you're supposed to be even when you don't have internet access. With offline access, you can view a read-only version of your calendar no matter where you are.

Link to calendars and/or embed directly from within Blackboard

 Google Docs
Create and share your online documents, presentations, and spreadsheetsGoogle Docs in Plain English

Brief Tour of Google Docs
Post an information document for your class as a Google Doc rather than Word file for easy online editing.

Upload a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file for online editing .
Add collaborators to your document.

When ready to share with others, control the access and either make publicly available via a URL or grant access to particular individuals.

Sample online brainstorming using Google Doc
Create and share online documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It's free. You can:

Access your documents online from any computer with an internet connection.

Add collaborators to your document and Docs will send them a link to access the doc online (no need to send email attachments back and forth)

Decide who can view and edit each document (only you, some people, or everyone)

Link to documents directly from within Blackboard (poor man's web disc)
 Google Maps
View maps and directions
Introduction to Google Maps

Create a "My Map" in Google Maps

Add Content to Google Maps

Create custom maps for a given event

Map directions to a field trip or to the classroom location

Oral History of Route 66

Easily create a custom map 

Overlay additional content, such as photos

Save your map and share either via a link or even embed in Blackboard.
 YouTubeWatch, upload and share videosYouTube Help: Users Helping Users
Faculty create weekly video introductions to the class activities and upload to YouTube for student viewing

Students create videos for class assignments and upload to YouTube for public sharing and posting/embedding in Blackboard

David Merrill's thoughts on instructional design

Student video response to reading and discussion

Jason Rhode's YouTube channel

NIU Quick Tips for Effective Instruction YouTube channel
Create upload and share videos

Embed videos in Blackboard
 Google Sites
Create websites and secure group wikis
Google Sites Tour

How to Get Started with Google Sites
Individual or group secure wikis

Sample student's e-portfolio

Sample K-12 class site

Sample team project site

Sample presentation / workshop site

Jason Rhode's e-portfolio

Link to Google sites just like any other external link from Blackboard 
 Google Mobile
Get Google tools and services on your mobile device Google Maps for Mobile with My Location

Google Search for Mobile

Google Maps for Mobile

Gmail for Mobile

YouTube for Your Phone

Google Latitude

Search with Google from your mobile.

Download Google Maps for mobile to your phone, and never carry a paper map again.
Access Gmail, Google Reader, Google Maps, etc. from your mobile device

More Links

When Not to Use Google Tools

  • If student work must remain in the institution's learning management system
  • If there is a better tool that you and your students already have access to that will accomplish the same goal

Recommendations from Experience

  • "Free" has it's limitations
  • Have a "plan B" if Google changes its mind and chooses to discontinue the tool (ie: Google Pages, Writely, Google Notebook, etc.)

Last Updated: 4/20/2009