The following is a guest post written by Stephanie Norman, blogger and professional writer. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.
With all the gadgets and apps available to support the educational processes, teachers often have a hard time deciding which ones to use in the classroom. Most of them understand that technology is integral to the contemporary educational process, yet they are still overwhelmed by the ever-changing innovations and often decide to stick to old-school methods. That’s not the right thing to do.
Yes, technology is overwhelming, and one teacher couldn’t possibly test and use all edTech tools even if he/she wanted to. However, instructors should still implement a strategy that introduces simple tools into the classroom with the purpose of boosting students’ engagement.
I have one word for you: GOOGLE. It is so much more than a search engine. According to Angie Roberts, the CEO of Australian Writings Pty Ltd, Google offers everything that teachers need to support engagement in the classroom.
“Google has developed powerful tools that make the classroom much more effective. It doesn’t matter whether you’re teaching English or music, math or social studies; there’s always a Google feature that will add dynamics to the lectures,” – Mrs. Roberts explains.
How exactly can Google be used to make a class more engaging? What features should instructors use for what purposes? Here are some great answers and tips for using Google to increase student engagement:
- Google Translate for Language and Grammar Lessons
It’s no secret that Google Translate is not the most reliable translating tool. It can result in silly translations that make no sense. However, it is still a powerful tool that allows students access to over 90 languages worldwide. Here are few suggestions for using Google Translate in the classroom:
- Introduce cultures by translating small phrases
How about saying Happy New Year in different languages? You can ask your students to form teams, choose five target languages, and use Google Translate to generate results. Then, they can present their projects to the class. This is a great way of introducing your students to different cultures through language.
- Assist second language students with their work
If students in a language class are required to translate a chunk of text which they may not be equipped to handle, allow them to rely on Google Translate as a helper. The translation won’t be perfect, but that can be fixed using this next exercise:
- Catch grammar errors
Ask your students to find the imperfections in a translation. This simple task will teach students that translation software is useful, but not 100% reliable.
- Google Calendar for Student Organization
It is an instructor’s job in the classroom to teach students different skills. However, this is not limited to expanding students’ intellectual capacity. It is also the job of the teacher to help students make the most of their education, something that can’t be achieved without sufficient organization.
- Teachers could impart this information by giving lectures on how important organization is or by doing something practical: show them how to organize their studying, homework, and activity schedule.
- Instructors can use their own Google Calendar to demonstrate how students should organize their time around school, hobbies, and casual activities. Then, each student can create his/her own calendars and mark the dates for project submission and tests. Then, have learners organize the time before those important dates to allow them to efficiently study, write, and enjoy some free time in between.
- Google Earth for Geography Lessons
Classroom globes are cool, but not as cool as Google Earth. With this tool, students can explore the world through 3-dimensional images and videos of famous locations and historical sites. Here is a great example of a lesson plan using Google Earth:
- Have students create presentations about different locations on the planet. Then, they can present the projects in front of the class and use Google Earth as a visual presentation tool.
- Google Books and Google Scholar for Research
Most students rely on Google’s search engine when doing research for a project. This is a habit that needs to be broken. Google Books and Google Scholar are better and more reliable search tools for academic projects. They provide full-length books and articles, which will add legitimacy and authority to any student paper.
- Google Keep for Taking Notes
Encourage and develop students creative thinking skills by suggesting that students keep track of their ideas. Google Keep is a great tool to help develop that habit.
- Organize a brainstorming session in the classroom and tell students to keep their ideas in Google Keep.
- Explain how students can use this app at any time to jot down any idea that comes to mind.
- Teach your students to organize their ideas. Note-taking doesn’t have to be messy.
- Google Classroom for Full Control of the Class
Google Classroom saves teachers a lot of time. Instructors can assign and collect projects and assignments through the tool, saving valuable class time and keeping all course-related information in one place. Google Classroom could also be used to provide feedback to students and to facilitate online discussions.
- YouTube for Educational Videos
Every now and then, instructors can spare students from long lectures and instead teach using educational videos. YouTube is full of classroom-appropriate content, so explore it and surprise students with a video that will promote interest and engagement in the classroom.
Google can offer so much more for classroom involvement than quick and easy searches. Using its various features, Google can make classroom management much more effective. Experiment with the suggestions above and see how Google’s many tools can work for you!
Author’s Bio: Stephani Norman is a contributing blogger and professional writer with 4 years of experience. She enjoys writing articles about educational, blogging, and writing issues, and also enjoys penning film and literature reviews. In her free time, she loves focusing on self-development, travelling, and reading thought-provoking books. For more information, check out Stephanie on Facebook and Google+.
Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.