Creating a digital classroom using Google Workspace for Education

January 16, 2022

Uzodinma Joan Ugonwanyi provides an overview of how a digital classroom can be created using Google Workspace for Education

Creating a digital classroom using Google Workspace for Education

Technology as an evolving mechanism to solve problems in the diverse ramifications of life cannot be over-emphasized and education does not make an exception. The need to integrate technological tools in the classroom to facilitate efficient and effective teaching and learning is ideal for the 21st-century teacher/educator.

Wikipedia defines Educational technology (commonly abbreviated as EduTech, or EdTech) as the combined use of computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice to facilitate learning. The emerging technologies in education are numerous ranging from hardware to software. Schools are incorporating emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality, into the classroom. The aim is to enable more innovative and engaging teaching methods and learning experiences. In respect to this article, the focus is on Google tools for a digital classroom.

The Digital Classroom

According to TopHat, a digital classroom is typically one that incorporates electronic devices and software into the learning environment. A digital classroom is where a physical classroom extends into a digital space. The space of a digital classroom must hold potential for collaboration or continuing work outside of the classroom: reflective discussion forums online can be a good way to address this. In a digital classroom, the tone is set by technology. Because technology facilitates easy access to learning resources and networks, it’s easier for students to track their progress and for educators to highlight student work in a digital classroom. 

A digital classroom refers to a classroom that is fully immersed in technology. These classrooms rely on educational apps and websites to enhance student learning. Feedback loops and technology are also important parts of a digital classroom. Feedback loops in a digital class ensure that students receive input from their educators in a timely manner. Educators can also customize their feedback based on student, lesson, group, and more. Technology is the most visible part of this type of classroom and encompasses hardware, software, operating systems, and social media channels.

Google is one of the leading technologies in the world with a lot of products established and amongst them is Google Workspace for Education.  It is a corporation that was formed to provide internet-based search services, providing accessibility to the world’s online information.  Founded in 1998, Google expanded from its initial search-based services into providing advertising, applications, and services for mobile internet devices.  Google relies upon leveraging technology, such as using complex computer algorithms (e.g., PageRank) to determine how to sort and rank search results.

Google Workspace for Education

Google Workspace for Education is Google’s flagship educational product, it is a collection of tools that can help you increase opportunities for critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity while supporting the learning objectives that you have for the students.

  1. Google Classroom: This is a collaboration tool for teachers and students that helps organize and streamline the classroom experience, with just a few clicks you can create a class, add students, and create assignments or announcements. You will be able to see who’s completed an assignment, who’s still working on a task, and assign grades when it’s finished. You can also instantly offer feedback to the students and see their questions and comments on their assignments.
  2. Google Drive: This is an online hard drive where you can store all your files, stories, designs, drawing, recordings, videos, etc. As part of Google Workspace for Education, Drive has unlimited storage, so you and your students don’t have to worry about full disks, deleting old files, or losing anything if a computer happens to crash. You can access your files from any device and best of all you never have to save them. Drive automatically saves every time you make an edit.
  3. Google Docs: Documents come to life with smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs. Choose from thousands of fonts, add links, images, drawings, and tables.
  4. Google Sheets: The Google Sheets online spreadsheet application enables users to create, edit and format spreadsheets online to organize and analyze information. Google Sheets is often compared to Microsoft Excel, as both applications are used for similar purposes. They are basically spreadsheets for analyzing, visualizing, and charting data.
  5. Google Forms: This is free online software that allows you to create surveys, quizzes and gather information.
  6. Google Slides: A presentation tool that makes it easy to tell stories
  7. Google Drawings: Graphics and flowchart creation with shapes, text, and images.

Google Workspace for Education also includes tools that can be used to save time and increase student engagement. These include:

  1. Gmail: This serves for easy e-mail-based communication.
  2. Google Calendar: Provides aids for scheduling dates, setting reminders, and appointments.
  3. Google Meet: This is a tool that enables you to conduct live video conferencing and messaging.
  4. Google Sites: This helps you with webpage creation and publishing.
  5. Google Groups: This is for group communication and web forums.

Google has other tools outside Google Workspace for Education that can also be used in the classroom.

  1. Chrome: This is a google product that you can use for internet browsing.
  2. YouTube: This serves as an online video hosting and sharing service, educational content can actually be published on YouTube and shared amongst students in the classroom.
  3. Google Maps: This contains interactive maps and satellite imagery.
  4. Blogger: This can be used for publishing educational blogs.

Benefits of using Google Workspace for Education

Google Workspace for Education provides tremendous benefits in the realms of the educational environment. It allows educators to transform the way teaching and learning are delivered in schools. It initiates the streamlining of administration and technology, which are utilized to deliver those services.

The tops benefits according to Profweb include:

  1. Interoperability: All of Google’s services are linked together. In addition, there are numerous applications and extensions available to augment the experience.
  2. Synchronization: The files can be synchronized across multiple computing devices. This is the primary benefit of Cloud Computing. You can use any workstation, and your files and applications follow you wherever you go!
  3. Collaboration: Multiple people can work on the same document in real-time over the Internet and use a chat window that is integrated within the application.
  4. Logging: You have access to a log that lists the modification history for a document and can recover previous versions of a document in the event of accidental deletion.
  5. Compatibility: The documents created with Google Apps are compatible with other suites such as Microsoft Office or Open Office. The agenda and e-mail can also be synchronized with different software, applications, and widgets.

Summarily, despite the use of technology in the classroom, the role of a teacher will never become obsolete. Artificial intelligence may come with new and exciting innovations, but it will never replace the intuition and caring that a teacher or lecturer provides.

Using technology in the classroom will help to improve engagement with the students, as well as knowledge retention. It can also help to encourage individual learning and allow learners to grow at their own pace. Using interactive technology encourages collaboration between students, making the classroom or lecture hall a more inclusive place.

References

https://www.profweb.ca/en/publications/featured-reports/google-apps-and-education

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technology

https://sites.google.com/site/net205apples/summary-and-conclusion

https://www.profweb.ca/en/publications/featured-reports/google-apps-and-education

https://skillshop.exceedlms.com/student/path/61209-fundamentals-training

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