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In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Paula, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Sep 10, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Google docs are a powerful educational tool. Students can use it for writing, share it with other students and get powerful feedback. I have had problems with sharing editing privileges student to student, but the comment function is a fantastic tool for peer editing. Students can highlight parts of piece of writing and share constructive criticism, they can highlight areas of questionable grammar, etc. I love as a teacher going into my student's writing at anytime and being able to give them feedback and those amazing times when you find your student's icon live and you get to have a thoughtful feedback session in class or outside.
One of our teacher's taught the students to create an organizational chart in google docs when they first started their projects so students had a template with to do items and who was responsible from the get go. Then they put their collective research together in the same document.
When you are plugged into a google world classwide, school doesn't end when the last bell rings. Students can email you for support anytime. The communication loop is so powerful. You always have those students that you felt like you let them fall between the cracks. The new net is Google. You can take the time to scaffold accessible sites for research and email them to students 24/7. You can send emails reminding students of upcoming deadlines and ask them to check in with you if they are struggling.
We also used Google Sites to post assignments, homework and playlists. It was really convenient. I used my site to embed google forms for exit tickets and surveys as well.
I am volunteering in a local writing program who uses Chromebooks with their students and I see that they are not exploring all the possibilities for using Google Aps, so it is fun to share my experiences.

Strengths: An excellent communication tool A brilliant way to use technology in writer's workshop. A great way for students to collaborate on projects. It solves organizational issues, getting student work is automatic if they are trained to share immediately with you.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1.I would love for students to have access to the google hangout feature. I think it would be a powerful tool for collaborating beyond school hours. Currently there is an age requirement. 2. The filing system can get cumbersome.I was always trying to figure out how to organize all my students work better. 3. I would love for google sites to have a little more customization capabilities.

Verdict: It is a powerful tool for collaboration. It extends the school day effortlessly for teachers and students. It is an excellent communication tool for school wide uses: teacher/parent communication, student/teacher communication, teacher collaboration, etc. All docs are stored int he cloud and saved instantly. If a student accidentally deletes something, you can always retrieve their work. It is a great way to create a student portfolio.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: All of our students have google drive accounts. Through google drive and apps for education our students are able to collaborate and submit work. Our students use google drive daily to complete assignments, do readings, and collaborate on projects. Students can collaborate on documents - creating, editing, commenting- in real time. We even have students editing and commenting in two classrooms at once. My students do research in science class, write it up in English class, and edit it during advisory. Students are able to collaborate even though they are in different classrooms. Students can "talk" to each other even though they are not physically in the same space.

Strengths: Teachers and students can collaborated in real time. Students and students can collaborate in real time. All student work is stored in a cloud based server that allows student's to access thier work at all times.

Suggestions for Improvement: Google classroom can only work if the student and teacher domains are the same. At our school district this does not happen. Teachers have one domain and student have a different domain. Google classroom looks awesome - way better than the dotopus script - but will be unusable in the LAUSD school district. I would like to see a kid friendly version of the google drive applications. The site as it is now has great functionality, but the interface is not student friendly. Students -especially the young ones - need more colors, bigger buttons, and less options immediately available.

Verdict: This tool is essential as students move on through college and into the job sector. The majority of assignments in college and now in the job sector will be online. Students need to get used to submitting and thinking in an online format. Additionally students can access their materials from any Internet based device. That work is then submitted to the teacher and comments can be transferred back and forth. Teachers can give feedback in real time.

Jeff, 3rd Grade Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I use the Google apps for education in my classroom almost daily. My students access their own accounts and create documents/drawing to facilitate their learning. I also have begun to use google forms to replace paper and pencil seatwork.

Strengths: GAFE gets my kids involved in a new way. They can collaborate with each other and share their ideas in a dynamic electronic environment. The kids love being able to get instant feedback on what they are working on. I can comment or just type directly on their document to offer advice or requirements. It's easy to keep organized with all of the kid's work online instead of a stack of papers. They are more engaged in what they are doing when working on laptops. In the future, they will need to be able to type and navigate a computer so this is preparing them for that. Also, the new standardized tests for MD will ALL be online starting next year. IF they can't type or use a computer effectively, they will be at a disadvantage.

Suggestions for Improvement: I need a way to print/send back form responses so the kids can get feedback on what they submit.

I need a way to store shared documents in a folder in my drive but not remove them from the student's drives so I can access shared work easier

In a spreadsheet, the viewing bar can sometimes go off center and it makes it hard to update larger spreadsheets.

Verdict: Once the kids have practices using the GAFE they can login and get to work almost as fast as passing out papers and using the old school methods. They are more engaged when using a computer and have access to more reference resources at their fingertips when working in the GAFE domain. As the teacher, it is very easy to manage the students' work with some work on the front end to streamline the process. I am also able to grade their work more efficiently because the form responses are collated into a spreadsheet.

Teacher, School Type: High School, High ELL Population
Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I use this product mostly using GoogleDrive. As a teacher, it's easy to have my students work on Projects collaboratively. My students have made newspapers/newsletters in collaborative groups via GoogleDocs. I like seeing the progress of student work as they have shared their work with me. As their teacher I can see my student comments to each other as they work together toward a common goal. I also like that I can leave comments on the actual GoogleDoc to provide feedback to my students when it is due.

I also use Google to allow my students to also create Presentations via GoogleDrive so they can collaborate and share together. I have seen student achievement increase as a result of using the various GoogleApps and I love the fact they have access to this.

Strengths: The strengths of Google is that it allows teachers and students to collaborate more effectively, saves time for teachers in making copies, saves work for students who collaborate and allows for students to interact and become proficient in GoogleDrive which many universities use across the country.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if GoogleDrive via GoogleClassroom provided actionable data for teachers. It would also be great if GoogleClassroom had free apps connected to Drive that allowed the students in my "GoogleClassroom" to easily access (other than the GoogleApps provided on drive). It would also be great if GoogleClassroom provided more information online so that my school that just adopted it knows how to effectively use GoogleClassroom when some of us are proficient with using Google in our own classrooms.

Verdict: We actually have just adopted GoogleClassroom and as a teacher who feels proficient with Google Apps I have begun to push for helping our teachers on our campus become more familiar with GoogleDrive as I am at a new school.

Julie, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I use a combination of Google Drive and Google Voice for almost everything in my classroom.

Google Docs for planning lessons, creating student worksheets, and power points for instruction. I keep track of checking out text books and any other classroom resources. Google Voice is great - I can give students a number to text me on that isn't my personal number.

Strengths: 1. Easy to use, regardless of your level of familiarity with Microsoft Office.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. I would love to see the ability to make a document have students be able to view it, save a copy and then share access with me. I know this is possible, but it would be better if it was done in a more student friendly way where kids would just need to click command buttons that prompted them to do this.

2. Make a gradebook. If students took an assessment on a Google Form, I think it would be life changing for teachers if those grades could be automatically populated into a linked gradebook. This gradebook could also be linked with Google Voice and keep a running record of how often each number in my address book is called and/or texted.

Verdict: Everything is connected. Other than my gradebook (engrade) this is the only platform I have to use.

Library Media Specialist, School Type: Elementary School
Feb 27, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I personally use Google on a daily basis - gmail, google calendar, etc. With my students I have begun using Safe Search - powered by Google as a search engine. I have a few different grade levels performing different reasearch, if they need to "surf the web" to locate information I have them use Safe Search.

Strengths: - Students being able to work colaboratively in real time
- Abiltiy to share calendars
- Ability to have mutliple calendars on one physical calendar

Suggestions for Improvement: - Google Calendar - to be able to add a task and then add additional days for that task to appear. Example 3/10/14 3:00-5:00 pm Play Practice. This is not a recurring event (weekly, monthly) but happens at different times over a few months. I'd like to be able to add the additional dates without re-inputting all the other information

Verdict: I was very intrigued with the Good Apps for Educators demonstration. I really liked the idea of students working in Google Docs and being able to work collaboratively at the same time. Small group work is encouraged in our school, for the students to have the ability to do their own research and writing, but to share in real time is very exciting.

Special Teacher, School Type: Higher Education, High ELL Population, 1:1 Devices
Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: We use it for collaboration with students, and having kids write. Students are setting up blogger accounts for an online eportfolio. Students can access easily with the Blogger on their devices or phones. We like the ease of this application. students can do from home or in school.

Strengths: I teach special education, and I am always impressed about how easily my students can learn to access these apps. They can feel successful with using technology. They can use the word processing online for free, and get teacher help with editing by sharing. It is so valuable to my kids.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Having Google presentations on the Google drive App for editing or creating. 2. Have a built in speech to text function. 3. A build in picture dictionary- Make the Read, Write apps free and embed in program. These features would help me kids with disabilities finction the the program with more ease.

Verdict: I recommend using Google Drive because it is used in the business world as well, and has many practical applications. Students can turn the pieces in digitally, and everything is automatically saved in the Google Drive.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, Low Income Population
Apr 15, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I have used this program in the past to create a student online school newspaper. I also use it personally to create documents and presentations.

Strengths: It is very user friendly. My middle school students were able easily create a website. It also allowed us to create email accounts for each student so that they could learn to communicate in a professional manner. I really loved the research tool that was demonstrated when using google drive. This makes research easy and helps teach kids how to do proper citation!

Suggestions for Improvement: A version that is more kid friendly to young children could be useful. I have had problems downloading documents and keeping the correct format in the past. Clean image searches are difficult do to school district blocks.

Verdict: It is incredibly easy to use. I have very low ability levels as far as creating websites and I was able to easily create multiple websites. It also allows for safe searches so students do not reach inappropriate content.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Sep 14, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to organize the files and documents my students share with me. I could organize my files by subject area. I would definitely keep my Google drive organized.

Strengths: The way the product allows teachers to manage the work students do on the computer in a more efficient way. It allows for interaction between teachers and students, and between students and students. It also allows students to get involved with technology.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if there was a way to merge what we already have on Google drive with Google classroom once it is up and running. Another thing I would like to see is student tutorials. This way they can access help themselves from home if needed.

Verdict: As a school we already use Google Apps for Education as part of our daily instruction. Our students are constantly submitting documents and forms through Google drive. This product would help to organize what students submit by putting it into different files for the teacher.

Christina, Science Teacher. School Type: High School, BYOD Devices
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Google Drive, GAfE, Google Site

I use the Google drive with my students. They can share stuff with me and each other. They put their lab data in to shared folders and can collaborate together. They turned in their essays this year on GAfE as well. I was able to give feedback and did not need to carry around a single sheet of paper.

I also have a Google Website for my class.

Strengths: It allows easy online collaboration and sharing.

Suggestions for Improvement: The shared with me folder needs to have a way that you can organize the files into folders so that you don't have an enormous list of files to scroll through.

The teacher needs to be able to take ownership of the file/folder without the student having to do anything.

There needs to be an easier way to convert files without having to download and then reupload.

Verdict: I am very excited for the changes that are coming that will make the GAfE that much better for my students.

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