2/16/15 2:00 AM Allyson Allwine

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Are you using all the benefits of Google Apps in your classroom setting? Start your classroom with the organized and technology friendly features that Google Apps has to offer.

Google Apps has become such a huge asset within today’s technology, but many people are still not taking advantage of the endless benefits of all the programs have to offer. The classroom is an ideal environment that benefit teachers, students, administrators, and parents alike.

April Smith’s 5 Ways To Engage Parents Using Google Drive, highlighted the key uses of Google Drive inside the classroom. The constant challenge of keeping parents, students, and teachers on the same page may feel never-ending, but with Google Apps in the mix , everyone can be a winner!

Teacher and Student

Through any one school day, there is a great deal of information that is being distributed in the classroom. Although many schools have an online site, such as Edline or Blackboard, there is still a gap in student teacher communication. With Google Apps this relationship can be greatly improved.

Sharing Assignments

With Google Drive, it is very easy to make an assignment available for whomever you please. Since students typically have a school email, sharing files with Google Drive is simple and effective for teachers. With document sharing, students who have been included in a Google “share” are able to take notes within the document, this ensures easy access from anywhere. No more forgotten assignments or misplaced flash drives. With Drive, students are also able to tap into the shared documents anytime, anywhere, including at home, making Google Drive accessible and technology friendly for both students and teachers.

Class Calendars

Given the nature of today’s jam-packed student schedules, different events and dates can easily get mixed up. Using the calendar feature on Google Apps can take all your troubles away. Imagine having the ability to specify different assignment, exams and project due dates, as well as, school field trips or even parent conferences. Google Calendar makes it easy for students to check up on what they have going on for any given day or week. With a very simple click of adding a teacher's class to your Google calendar, any student will be prepared for the test next Tuesday!

Teacher and Parent

As a parent it can often be difficult to understand what is going on in school when you are not physically there. Asking your child “What happened in school today?” and receiving the answer ”Nothing” can often be frustrating. Google Apps — combined with Calendar — help parents and teachers remain on the same page while supporting and helping one another. Working together guarantees success for children across the board.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent teacher conferences can be difficult to schedule with every second of the day planned out. It can be even harder to plan conferences while juggling parents’ work schedule. Another feature in the Gmail system is Google Hangout. With this feature you are able to communicate with two people via video chat. This saves on travel time and allows teachers the ability to carve out a smaller block to engage in direct “face to face” contact with their students’ parents.

Updates

Do you find yourself constantly playing telephone tag — even with availability of “smart” phones? Using Google Apps and sharing documents/updates between teachers and parents eliminates trading voicemails, re-schedule conferences, and missing out on updates. With Google Apps, both parties can concentrate on updating one another about a student’s progress. And collaboration is easy! Google Apps has alerts that let both sender and recipient know when changes are made to the shared document.

Parent and Student

How often has your child asked for help or support with an assignment or project? It can be difficult helping your child with papers or homework if you are unaware of what they learned in class. With Google Apps’ sharing feature, parents can increase their understanding of what has been taught and the direction that the student needs to go — while not in school. Here is shameless plug for Ving (of course we would). Ving is a great tool for sending assignments home so parents can help with homework assignments.

Looking over Assignments

Everyone could always use some assistance with proofreading. I know my mom always proofread my papers before I would turn them in. When an assignment is being worked on only one computer it can be very distracting to have someone hovering over your shoulder — when working on homework. Google Apps’ sharing feature can assist with this issue. Both your student and their parent can be working on a document from multiple computers. This way a parent is able to assist their child while the students is working on it as well. That’s productivity at it’s finest.

Helping with Homework

As a parent is can be frustrating for both a parent and their child when it comes to assisting with nightly homework. If the teacher shared the notes with the class over Google Apps it would improve the parent’s understanding on what went on in class. The student would be better equipped to recall what went on if they could see the teacher’s actual notes, and the parent would be able to assist more if they had the power point to look though.

Google Apps is a wonderful tool and is something that could greatly improve both the classroom and home setting. With the ability to share documents and information in a more orderly fashion allows everyone to win. Parents and teachers would both be able to communicate in a more effective form when touching up on updates. Google Apps helps students grow by providing a better understanding of communication with this technology. As you can see, Google Apps is not only a tab on your Gmail account, but is a source that has the capability to contribute to the success of students and their dedicated teachers.

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