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20 Google Apps activities for classroom innovation

10 great obscure Google tricks for school, life

Google Apps for Education is a powerful toolbox that opens up exciting possibilities in the classroom for students and teachers. Here are some concrete, practical and innovative ideas for using them. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Google Apps for Education has made new ideas and activities possible in classrooms all over the world.  They’ve allowed for creation and collaboration in ways that weren’t possible in the past.

One of the best parts about the entire Google Apps suite is that teachers and students can use these versatile tools to create their own custom-made learning experiences. The power grows when they share with others, letting them try the same concept or change it to meet their own needs.

When the #DitchBook community on Twitter started talking Google Apps for Education, great classroom ideas flew around for the entire hour. The chat, which has been meeting at 10 p.m. Eastern / 9 p.m. Central / 8 p.m. Mountain / 7 p.m. Pacific on Thursdays, examines different ways to “Ditch That Textbook” in the classroom.

To see the entire chat, check out the Storify of the evening by clicking here.

Here are 20 ideas that stood out to me that could be implemented in classrooms immediately:

1. Hyperdocs (@KarlyMoura and @LHighfill) — Google Docs that link to various experiences within Google Apps and beyond (see the webinar in the embedded tweet below for details):

2. Gallery walk (@mrcoachjuarez) — Get students up and moving by posting QR codes around the room that link to activities on a Google Site.

3. Augmenting literature (@KarinHogen) — Take a selection of literature and then add opinions, comments, images and more in a shared Google Document.

4. Online buddies (@JYoung1219) — Connect to classes all over the world by sharing Google Docs/Slides/etc. Students can see and comment on each other’s work.

5. Tables of contents (@jmattmiller) — Use a table of contents to direct students to their own personal part of a document OR to make it more navigable.

6. Published doc with embedded videos (@KarinHogen) — Using DocentEDU (a great tool that Karin co-authored), teachers can add videos and make it interactive with questions and discussion boards.

7. Google Classroom with kindergarteners (@LWMrsParker) — Yes, it’s possible! Mrs. Parker gave us some examples in this blog post.

8. Use research tool to find famous quotes (@Ajarn_Adam) — Use the research tool in Google Docs and Slides to get great quotes without leaving Google Apps.

9. All about me project (@SeanJFahey) — Want students to learn the ropes of Google Apps early in the year? Assign a project on a topic where they’re experts — themselves!

10. Intro to blogging with Google Slides (@KarlyMoura) — Give each student a slide and let them write/create. Classmates add comments to their peers’ writing. It’s an instant blog!

11. Google Slides Choose Your Own Adventure Story (@KarlyMoura @EricCurts) In this webinar, Eric Curts explains how you can link slides in a presentation to create, among other things, a cool Choose Your Own Adventure story.

12. Microscope smartphone pictures (@Ajarn_Adam) — Give examples of what you saw in a microscope with a smartphone picture. Gather them in a Google Slides presentation. 

13. Vocabulary slides (@MossmanJessica) — Vocabulary is easier to remember if it’s linked to various senses. Jessica suggests ways to add some pizzazz to boring vocabulary lessons.

14. Current events memes with Google Drawings (@KarinHogen) — Google Drawings lets students create easy memes with text boxes and a Creative Commons image search. 

15. Google Drawings interactive posters (@jmattmiller) — Add text, images, links and more to Google Drawings and they become interactive posters with no glue, magazines or posterboard.

16. Simple shape drawings (@LWMrsParker) — Students can create a LOT with the simple shapes in Google Drawings. Mrs. Parker shows examples from her kindergarteners.

17. Virtual manipulatives with Google Drawings (@KarinHogen) — Instead of cutting out papers for students to move around, create them digitally in a Google Drawing.

18. Add pins, info to Google Maps (@SeanJFahey) — MyMaps lets users add pins with information to locations on maps. It’s a great geography assignment!

19. MyMaps with geography research (@kfitch831) — That same tool, MyMaps, provides students a place to add research — the data on the pins they add to a map!

20. Digital portfolio folder with QR code links (@KarlyMoura) — Use Google Drive to gather student work. Make it more accessible with QR codes. Karly gives examples!

[reminder]How are you innovating with Google Apps? How have you seen others innovate with them?[/reminder]

For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

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