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8 Google Tools for Your Classroom and Tips for Using Them

If you’ve looked into using Google tools in your classroom before, you know how many great resources are available. Google has so many tools for the classroom that it can be hard to keep track or know where to get started. That’s why we’ve put together this resource guide to give a small sampling of eight of the best tools for the classroom, and ideas on how to use them. Keep an eye out for extra hints and resources throughout.
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Tool 1: Google World Wonders

Want to take your students to amazing places all over the world? Look no further than Google World Wonders. With its unique street-view technology, this free resource allows teachers to take their students on virtual fieldtrips so that they can stroll down a street in Paris, gaze up at the pyramids in Egypt, or even explore Antarctica. Virtual fieldtrips can make for memorable in-class experiences and work to instill an understanding and love of other people and places around the globe.
Hint: Google Maps and Google Lit Trips are other great Google tools for virtual fieldtrips.
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Tool 2: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a free video conferencing and recording tool that can be used by anyone anywhere. Its features include group chats for up to 100 people, one-on-one calls, and even group calls for up to 10 people. In the classroom, teachers can use Google Hangouts to connect with other classrooms all over the world. Teachers can even invite experts in a subject area of study or authors of their students’ required reading to give a short presentation over Hangouts. And since up to 10 people are allowed on a Hangout, these expert presentations can be shared with 8 other classes. Presentations can also be recorded so teachers can use this resource for flipped classrooms, after-class tutoring, or make-up work. Recorded sessions are automatically uploaded to YouTube so they are easily accessible for students later on.
For more ideas on how to use Google Hangouts in your classroom, check out this webinar.
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Tool 3: Google Slides

Google Slides is an awesome resource for creating memorable presentations. Teachers can easily add images, videos, and other multimedia to make their in-class presentations more interactive and interesting for their students. These presentations can then be published with the embed feature so they can be featured on the class website or blog. Students can use Google Slides for class projects- group or individual. Since this resource has an easy-to-use collaboration feature, all students can have access to add to, edit, and revise their project. Another feature that makes this a great classroom resource is that teachers can insert comments to give feedback on these student projects or homework assignments. This feature can be helpful in sending students in the right direction as they are creating their project, versus afterwards when it’s too late to change.

For more ideas on ways you can use Google Slides, check out this webinar.
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Tool 4: Google Scholar

With so much information out on the internet, finding credible online sources that pertain to any given topic can be difficult. Luckily Google Scholar makes it easy to search for relevant scholarly articles, books, theses, and other credible materials. It also suggests related works and authors for additional information, and shows the complete document rather than just an excerpt. Additionally, students can save cited material in a library so they can easily go back to an article, and all citations for the documents are given in five different formats that can be copied and pasted or imported into a bibliography. Google Scholar is a good resource for students who are working on research papers that require secondary citations.  
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Tool 5: Google Forms

Are you looking for a way to go paperless in your classroom? Google Forms is a great first step. Instead of printing out countless amounts of paper for quizzes, surveys, and sign-up sheets, simply send out a link to your Google Form. It saves time as well as paper. Teachers can choose from a variety of ready-made templates or they can start their form from scratch. Forms are customizable – for quizzes, every question has an option of being multiple choice, short answer, a dropdown, or a checkbox, which makes the form more personalized. Teachers can even insert help text to give further instructions or insert images into the form, which can be searched in Google Images from the form. Responses can either be anonymous or not, and are collected immediately. Then the results can be shown in a chart or graph that can be shared with the class.
Tip: Use the add-on, Flubaroo, for self-grading quizzes!

Discover more ways to get started with Google Forms with this webinar.
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Tool 6: Google Earth

Go ahead and take your students out of this world with Google Earth. Similar to Google World Wonders, this resource also uses street view technology to zoom in close to various places in the world. However, Google Earth takes it further by making it possible for students to explore galaxies far far away or the depths of the ocean. Students also have the ability to time travel with historical imagery or to choose between exploring the moon, Mars, or the sky. With Sky in Google Earth, students can view live images of space through the Slooh Space Camera, listen to podcasts, and read research. Students are even able to use place markers to mark the places they’ve explored. Teachers in STEM subjects can use Google Earth to take their students on the ultimate virtual fieldtrips and to inspire awe and wonder.    
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Tool 7: Google Art Project

Google Art Project is a public online platform that houses thousands of pieces of art from around the world. These works of art are searchable by collection, artist name, country, medium, date, and title; and all are high resolution images. Teachers and students can become art curators by creating a user gallery that allows them to save, share, compare, and contrast any works of art. Creating a gallery can be a great project for digital storytelling, studying characteristics of different historical periods or cultures, and develop critical thinking skills. Teachers can use Google Art Project to help their students delve into deeper topics such as the philosophy of art, what that art says about the society, politics, and any other theme. These discussions can help encourage students to voice their opinions and feel comfortable conversing about tough topics.

For ideas on creating a Google Art Gallery with your class, check out this webinar.
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Tool 8: Google Search

Google is best known as a search engine. In fact, the Google brand name has basically become synonymous with internet searches. Although pretty much everyone knows how to do a Google search, what you might not know is that you can search for terms within a specific site by placing “site:” at the beginning of your search (ex. Site:SimpleK12.com Google Apps). You can also find specific document types the same way (ex. Filetype:pdf Hemingway). Google search will also tell you what time it is anywhere in the world, and will do unit conversions.

Find more Google tips here.

Have we missed anything? How do you use Google tools in your classroom? What are some of your favorite Google Tools? Let us know in the comments below!


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