Connecting Learners with Google

Whether you are new to the digital environment or want to know more about what collaborative communities can offer, this session is for you. Aaron and Cathy will provide a range of practical tips and tricks associated with different applications, how to develop a community from scratch, as well as a range of examples and ideas to support your understanding. The reality is, connected learning is as much about having a space and building from there.

Connecting Learners with Google

Collaboration

Google+

Google’s answer to other social media platforms, Google+ provides many of the usual features, such as hashtags, the ability to tag users and a news stream. Where it is useful is the potential to organise information using Collections, as well as to foster collaborative spaces with Communities.

Classroom

Another possibility when it comes to the connected classroom is Google Classroom. It provides many of the same features as Google+, such as feed and topics. With the recent addition of Gmail accounts, it is possible to connect between schools, as well as bringing in experts. It needs to be noted that Classroom also provides a range of other features designed to support instruction in the classroom, such as setting assignments and doing quizzes.

General Links

Connections

YouTube Live allow for synchronous video connections beyond the four walls of the classroom. There is the means to run a video chat or schedule a recorded event using YouTube Live. This can be used to connect different classrooms, conduct virtual debates or provide an alternative point of access to classroom material. For example, the students at St. Mark’s broadcast their Genius Hour presentations via YouTube Live. There are also many other possibilities beyond Hangouts / YouTube including Skype, Twitter and Touchcast.

Data and Ideas

My Maps

Originally Maps Engine Lite, My Maps allows users to create their own maps within G Suite. My Maps allows you to easily make layers, add place marks, draw shapes and create directions. To take this to the next step, users can also import information via a spreadsheet or KMZ files from Google Earth.

Trends and Correlate

Google Trends is based on Google Search data and allows users to see what search terms are trending. It shows how often a particular term or phrase is entered into Google Search compared to all other searches across different parts of the world at different times and in different languages. Google Correlate reverses Google Trends and allows users to start with a trend and find searches that match.

N-Gram Viewer

N-Gram viewer is a tool that searches Google’s digitised printed material to determine how frequently particular words or phrases have appeared over a particular time in literature. These results are then displayed graphically. Users can compare the frequency of different terms in printed material over time.

Experiences

Virtual Reality

Google provides a number of way to engage with virtual reality including YouTube videos, various mobile apps, Street View and treks. The Expedition app (available for Android or iOS) takes treks and provides viewers with a choreographed experience.

Some ideas include exploring vocabulary, engaging with real life problems, telling stories and sparking curiosity. There are also a range of options for users to add their own images to Street View, as well as record their own 360 Minecraft videos.

Arts and Culture

Google Arts and Culture (currently in beta) is the latest iteration of Google’s Art project. It currently allows users online access to high resolution images of artwork found in 46 museums around the world. Virtual tours of many of the museums are available (using Street View technology) along with a range of educational resources.

Connected Classrooms in Action

Below is a list of examples of connected classrooms:

  • Connected Classrooms on Google+ - A Google+ Community dedicated to connecting classrooms to different opportunities.
  • Our Genius Hour Expo and Google Hangout - The students at St. Marks share their Genius Hour projects via Hangout and then answer questions ask via Google Forms. 10 groups of students presented. More than 1500 students, teachers and parents registered for the Hangout from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
  • #ProjectDreamtime: connecting with Arnhem Land and learning about culture - Lee Hewes documents a Project-Based Learning unit focusing on bringing stories of the Dreamtime into the digital age.
  • Smarter Than You Think Collaborative Reading - A collaborative reading and exploration of Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think as a part of a Theory of Knowledge unit. The space also also involved the author.
  • What’s it like to host a Skype-A-Thon? - Ben Lennon reflects on the experience of being a part of a Skype-A-Thon. He shares the logistics involved, as well as the learning gained.
  • Google Earth Walks - Students engage in real-world problem solving as they work their way through a virtual tour on Google Earth (and within My Maps). Each placemark offers an engaging, geotagged image as well as a compelling question, challenging students to apply what they've learned in the real world.
  • Epic Class of Radness - This YouTube Channel contains a number of 360 YouTube videos made with Minecraft. For more details, see Lee Hewes’ reflection.