Hi Everyone-
I am a high school English teacher who is considering requiring my students to sign up for a gmail account in the Fall. In doing so, I would also require that my students access Blogger (as a reading journal where I would provide prompts), Google Sites (in lieu of WikiSpaces), Google Calendar (where they can access homework assignments), Google Chat (for collaboration and homework help outside of class), and Google Docs (for peer editing and for me to provide extra help outside of class). I kind of see Google a one stop shop for anything and everything I want students to do. Has anyone tried this in their classroom? Can you foresee any conflicts of interest maybe with privacy issues or parents? I'd love to hear any feedback anyone might have positive or negative.

Tags: Gmail, Google

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We use GMail accounts for our Middle School students but it is being housed by Gaggle which filters all email inside of Google, which is vital when dealing w/ CIPA/COPPA compliance.

For more info click here... https://www.gaggle.net/googleaps.html

It's roughly 3 dollars a student.
Hi Elisa - I've done exactly what you are describing and it has transformed my teaching and my students' learning. The previous LMS we had was just awful.....really really awful.....

I saw google (like you) as a way to tie everything in together. Kids don't hand me assignments any more - I have them on Google docs. Kids don't walk into a classroom surprised that they have a test because google calendar sent their phone and SMS reminder. Parents aren't shocked when they read reports because they get send my marking spreadsheet regularly. Just fabo. Also, I have an iphone so rather than withdraw from my family each night to the study for one thing or another, I can do most of my work from my couch.

Some people might resent this but I personally kinda like it. I have issues.

I can't rate google highly enough though . I've checked out Zoho and it looks pretty cool too but I've put serious time into google and it would take a lot to convince me to change.

Negatives? Google sites won't allow java script apps which is a little frustrating from time to time because there are a lot of non-google apps that seem appealing to me. Also, I teach mostly Japanese and I would like my google sites to be able to receive 'announcements' (I might have the name wrong) related to all grades centrally as opposed to having to access all sites and change each 'announcement' site. Similarly for docs but that is a minor quibble. Also, coordinating access by the kids to my shared RSS finds would be handy rather than repeating access rituals for each grade.

The one thing I would say helps is making the time to (a) get parents involved (most love the idea) and (b) get the kids signed up at school. Additionally, most of them have mobile phones so when they sync that to their google account the link they have to their learning is even stronger.

In some ways it is an enormous exercise in the coordination of nagging. I nag them in class, by email...google nags them in SMS and their parents nag them because they KNOW what is happening. All that nagging will hopefully lead to the student hearing a nagging voice in their head to study Japanese!
The one thing I would say is to get an educational account, because if you don't students can customize their iGoogle Page and this means all those inappropriate gadgets that they can add, hooter girls, babe of the month, etc. If you apply for the educational version you can limit to only google supplied gadgets which is what we do.
In my experience with the ease of use that Google affords, the wide-spread use and familiarity with "Google" in general, it helps to open up student ideas about what Google is, and how much more expansive technology can be and is. It also affords excellent uptime with hardly any monetary investment at all.

I've also used Gaggle, though not in conjunction with Google for doing student assignments - because it did have a filtering ability with the message boards, bulletin boards, email and blog posts. It really helped my students to be able to express themselves - more honestly, openly and critically about the material we were covering. It sort of gave their texting skills an outlet that helped them in their homework - (rather than typing up a paper or other assignment, printing it out and turning it in). It also allowed me to be able to go back and see their comments and mine to use in parent teacher conferences to show progress.

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