Saturday, March 12, 2016

4 Lesser-Known Google Tools You Should Try Today

There are many Google tools teachers are using in the classroom, such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Google Hangouts. However, there are quite a few Google tools that aren’t as widely used or publicized. Learn about a few below and how they can be used in your classroom today.

#1 – Google Keep
Google Keep is a note taking application that allows you to create lists, color code notes, set note reminders, and share notes with others. You can even create voice recordings, which are then automatically transcribed into a note. If you are a fan of to-do-lists like I am, Google Keep allows you to convert text notes into checklists. You can access Google Keep online or by installing the app for iOS and Android.

In the classroom -
  • Students can quickly save what’s on their mind, write down homework, take brief notes, record their ideas, or take pictures of information.
  • Students can color code homework notes by subject area, for example, all blue notes could indicate math homework.
  • Students can set up reminders about their notes in order to get instant notifications about homework or projects.
  • Students could listen to voice notes that you create in order to practice pronouncing words or just study vocabulary.

#2 – Google Sky
Google Sky is a part of Google Earth that allows you to explore space and star systems.
It allows you to view a collaboration of some of the best images from NASA satellites, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the Hubble Telescope. Google Sky is a great way to view the planets, constellations, birth of galaxies, and other items in the universe.

In the classroom -
  • Students can write poems about the stars.
  • Students can discuss objects in the solar system and depict differences between them.
  • Students can create stories about the night sky.
  • Students can build presentations about the history of the planets.
  • Students can discuss the atmosphere of the Earth and how it protects life on Earth.
  • Students can create videos about the importance of the sun or climate change.

#3 – Google Art Project
Google Art Project is an online platform in which you can access and browse high-resolution images of artworks from over 400 of the world’s greatest art museums. Some of the museums include the Tate Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Uffizi in Florence.

In the classroom -
  • Students can take virtual gallery tours with audio and video guidance.
  • Students can zoom in on individual artwork masterpieces and discuss them in groups.
  • Students can create their own virtual collections or view collections you have created that support their instruction for the day.
  • Students can write about images that you choose as writing prompts.

 #4 – Build LEGO With Chrome
Google has partnered with LEGO so you can build with Lego bricks using Google Maps as your baseplate in Chrome.
A Google team in Australia first developed this application as an experiment in 2012 and now Google has now opened it up to everybody.

In the classroom -
  • Students can build their own Lego cities, highlighting data they have collected about their city.
  • Students can build Lego versions of historical landmarks and write an essay about them.
  • Students can view what others have built and discuss the various structures.
  • Students can screen capture their creations to include in a digital story or video.
  • Students can review digital citizenship and copyright by reading the site’s House Rules.

So, how many of these did you know about? If you knew about them and are currently using them, I’d love to hear from you.

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