How could Google Apps help you to be more efficient as an educator?

Many normal activities that teachers perform everyday can be accomplished through the use of Google Apps in a much more efficient manner.  For example, to using Forms to collect data or give students a quiz saves quite a bit of time over the traditional manual paper methods.  All documents can be created using Docs and saved to Drive to allow for access and editing/creation at any time, just about anywhere.  Calendar can save time by offering a calendar that you create to be accessible anywhere you are connected with a device to the internet.  You can share calendars with others to share important dates and times. 

Communications with parents could be centralized to your classroom websites to allow for sharing of general information on a parent page using Google Sites.  Gmail can be used to for streamlined communications.  YouTube can be used as a one-stop location for very useful videos for use with many classroom topics, saving time in regards to researching for useful and related content.

Below is a table showing many of Googles useful tools and how they can be used in an educational setting:

Google Feature


Classroom Integration Ideas


Free tool to communicate and share files via attachments.  Gmail has a feature that allows users to see who else is online to connect with via text, voice or video. Teacher can control many of the features if using a school-based version of Gmail.  Works natively on Android devices and also from any browser.  30 GB of storage to allow for keeping more and deleting less.

A way for students to communicate with the teacher and each other outside of classroom time, using text, voice or video features.  Share files by attaching them to an email.


Easy to use calendar to keep track of important dates and times.  Can create different calendars for use for different purposes.  Calendars can be shared with others and embedded onto websites.  Calendar end email/chat are part of a bundle called Google Apps for education, allowing for integrated communication and collaboration.

Put all important dates for classroom assignments and assessments, along with important school information, on a Google calendar to post on a teacher website for use by students, or share the calendar with students through


Texting, pc-to-pc talk and video conferencing between macs & pcs.


A way for students to communicate with each other to collaborate on school work and projects.  Can also communicate with the teacher.


Similar to Microsoft’s Office suite, Google Docs has many productivity tools like:  Word processing (Docs), Presentations (Slides), Spreadsheets (Sheets), pre-made forms (Forms) and drawing (Drawings).  All documents are accessible from any computer/tablet/smartphone with an internet connection.  Up to 10 users can collaborate on a document at the same time.  Files from Docs can be saved as different types for use with other platforms/programs.  PDFs can be converted and made editable.  Gathering information or giving students quizzes can be accomplished with ease using Forms.


*Some advanced features found in Office are not available in Docs.  This won’t affect most users, though.



There are many ways to use Google Docs with any classroom.  Besides simply using the word processor to write papers, students could create writings collaboratively.  The same can be said for working with Slides or Spreadsheets (and even Drawings).  Collaboration to create a slideshow can be very effective.  Spreadsheets can be used to collaboratively collect data/information to present findings on.  I used spreadsheets with accounting students to work on a company’s financial transaction as partners.  Collaborative drawings can be created.  Forms can be used for gather information from students or their parents.  Teachers can give a quiz to students and receive spreadsheet feedback.  Docs can be used by students to brainstorm ideas anytime (I use this, along with mind maps, to have students brainstorm for their video projects)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. 


Free website making tool that is easy to use and requires no need to know html coding, although code can be added to enhance the site by advanced users.  Is linked to most Google features, so integration is simple.  Gives anyone a presence on the web for free.

Students can create a Google Site as a portfolio to show their body of work for a course/program.  Can also be used as a writing platform in increase student engagement in writing (basic blogging).  Use the ‘comments’ feature to allow for peer review of assignments posted to a page.


Free online storage.  Storage space is limited to general users, but Google as partnered with school districts to give students more space, currently standing at 30GB.  All files created in Google Docs are stored here, as well as files (audio and video as well) you upload for storage in the cloud.  This makes for easy integration of assets for use between various applications.

A place to store files for use anywhere.  For example, a student can upload a video created for a class assignment to Drive and then retrieve it when at school for submission to the instructor.  All images used on a Google Site can be stored here for easy insertion onto webpages.

Google+ & Hangouts

Facebook-like connections, but with more professionals.  Not private, so might not be recommended for younger students.  Should be appropriate with high school students.  Hangouts allows for video conferencing with up to 10 individuals.  Hangout also uses features from Google Docs to assist in productive collaboration, a screen sharing feature to allow for demonstrations, remote computer control and a few other useful features.  All that is required to have this service is a Google+ account, which can be created for free from a user’s Gmail account.  A sidebar discussion chat area is also present for posting comments or links to useful sites.  Actual phones can be called and added to a Hangout.  Hangouts also allows for live broadcasting online of your discussion or performance from your Google+ and YouTube accounts and also on your website.  This live broadcast will automatically be recorded and saved to your YouTube channel.

Students can meet and discuss with group forums about class assignments/topics.  Small groups can meet to video conference/collaborate with productivity tools, with or without the teacher.  Webinars can be created by the teacher by simply saving the Hangout session for viewing by students that couldn’t make the session at a later time.


Google’s free online video service is extremely popular world-wide.  Users can upload videos to their page for the world to see.

Students can create a video for an assignment and upload to YouTube to share.  YouTube videos can also be inserted into a student’s Google Site to enrich their website portfolio.





Google Searches










Maps & Earth


Google Chrome with Bookmarking

Sketch up



Translate text from one language to another

All are familiar with Google searches, but they also have a Scholars Search.

Interactive data and charts from the world of finance.

Create mailing lists and discussion groups.


Blogging platform allowing users to share just about anything.

Find, edit and share photos.


Interactive maps of the world.



Fast, secure web browser that can save all favorite web sites as bookmarks.

3D drawing tool.



Help ELA students to grasp concepts in their home language.

Students can read scholarly articles for research instead of unreliable web articles.

Math teachers can use information for graphing and more.

Keep all students in the loop of last minute information through a mailing list.


Students can write reflections about experiences from lessons and assignments.


Student can use this tool to edit photos before use in a presentation or video project.


History, Geography and English teachers could use this tool to let students explore where things have happened in the world.

Students can save all important and useful websites for later use.

Students can create drawing in 3D of scenes.  My stage craft students use it to create ideas for set design for our plays and musicals.


How could Google Apps enhance collaboration between you, parents, and students?

As mentioned in the first section, the Google Apps tools of Gmail allow for texting and video conferencing, without having to physically meet, which is a plus for many parents that are extra busy today.  The use of Forms to obtain information from parents allows for an easy way to collect this data.  Parents should be informed as to what their child(ren) are doing in class, so using a Google website can give the parents a place to go to see what is going on. 

Having students create their own websites as portfolios also allows parents to be able to see what their child as created and keep up with their progress.  Sharing a Google Calendar on the classroom website or to parents and students email accounts can keep everyone involved fully informed.  Finally, many documents that have been traditionally mailed home to communicate with parents can now be created using Google Docs and shared via email with parents on a teacher’s mailing list.


Did you learn something about Google or yourself that you didn't know before?

From classes that I have previously taken for this Master’s program at Regis I have become very familiar with Google’s many offerings.  I took personal time to research their tools and begin using many of them.  The one tool that I hadn’t tried yet was forms.  I am pretty impressed with the capabilities to create various types of forms for information gathering purposes, polling and assessments.  This feature also provides a spreadsheet containing all of the requested information neatly organized into columns and rows.  While I remain skeptical of the motives of private industry, the benefits provided by these tools to everyone, not just students, is unprecedented.  The number of tools, the seamless integration and the capability of true collaboration, all for free, is pretty impressive.

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Comment by Janelle Shumaker on March 2, 2014 at 9:28pm
I loved the list you made with all of the Google Apps. It is amazing how much easier Google has made the lives of teachers and all working professionals.


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