GOOGLE= THE BEST
There, I said it.
The Google resources have made my teaching so much easier. I can go (basically) paperless (dependent on WiFi connection).
My school is a 1:1 iPad school, which comes with its own pros and cons, but the biggest pro is that we can go paperless.
The Google Docs package includes a web and app-based platform that allows for online collaboration and sharing. With programs similar to the Microsoft Office suite, here is how the Docs platform compares.
Word= Docs. This is a word processor that is similar to Microsoft Word. It is NOT as complex as the Word that I learned in high school, but for middle school purposes it works really well.
Excel= Sheets. I love Google Sheets. It is a simplified version of Excel, which works well for t-shirt orders and budgeting. I am in charge of 3 budgets (choir, drama and pep club), and Sheets allows me to send a constantly-updating sheet to someone and they always have the most up to date information.
Powerpoint=Slides. Slides is similar to Powerpoint, again is simplified. I use Slides because I can easily upload my presentations to Google Classroom so my students can go back and see what we talked about in class while they are doing their homework.
Google Forms does not have a Microsoft equivalent (that I know of.) I LOVE forms because I can write tests and give them via iPad. Each form that is turned in piles the information into an excel file, which makes it easy to see. You can also get add-ons that will GRADE THE TESTS FOR YOU! I haven’t played with the app, Flubaroo, but many teachers I know like it.
YouTube. YouTube is vital to my classroom. I have students make recordings, I make recordings and I use videos from all over the world. I can make a playlist for my kids to see so everything is organized by topic. YouTube is owned by Google, which allows you to seamlessly share, send and show videos via Google Classroom and Gmail.
Gmail email is easy to use. I have a personal email account plus one that students can use to share files with me. I used Gmail when I was at K-State (because I didn’t like 365 and I hated the one before that more).
Google Classroom is a FANTASTIC idea. Similar to Edmodo (which I have grown to despise), Google Classroom allows me to post videos, assignments and comment on student work while also allowing the kids the participate in discussion. If you are looking for an easy web and app based platform to communicate with your students, try Classroom.
Everything that you do with the Google suite is stored in Google Drive, which is a FREE dropbox program. You can easily share and send documents and folders, which makes keeping connected easier and easier.
Did I mention all these things are FREE?! WHAT?!