This week's topic: Google tools in Education - how do you bring extra functionality and open your students eyes up to the possibilities using Google Core Tools?
As a disclaimer - I've been a Google Certified Trainer for over four years and a heavy Google Apps users since the tools first entered schools. So, I'm a bit biased.
That said, I think it's about more than bringing GAFE to your school. It's about bringing the 4Cs to your school (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking).
I used to shun Office 365 and all that it stood for. And, while I'm still loyal to GAFE, I no longer shun it. Within education, we express loyalty to different companies rather than loyalty to the ideas behind those companies. What I missed was my loyalty to creativity; my loyalty to collaboration; to critical thinking; to communication.
So, over the past year, I've tried to steer away from the possibilities with Google's core tools. Instead, I've moved toward the possibilities with innovative pedagogy. The tools don't have to be Google. While Google has many tools that fit a more innovative pedagogy, it is not the only one. There are Spheros, Ollies, drones, Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, Makey Makeys, and so many more tools that engage students in innovation.
The goals is never - how do I fit this tool into my class? It's how can this subject best be learned? And, sometimes, that involves integrating a tool. That tool may be a GAFE tool. It may be robotics.
For my students and teachers, I want them to think about innovation and problems before they think about tools. When they think about those concepts, the tools will follow.