Ah, to Google or not to Google? That is the question… and the answer depends largely on your teachers, students, school and district. After all, Google offers an impressive range of connected, cloud-based apps and tools that support making digital classroom education more accessible – an important benefit that came to the forefront of discussions about delivering online education at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s dive into a deeper examination of where Google Workspace for Education shines and consider the benefits of curriculum mapping and lesson planning with Google.
The benefits of Google
Right now, more than 150 million teachers, students and school leaders use Google Classroom. Its full suite of tools, which includes email, file storage, calendars and documents, has topped two billion users worldwide.
So why are Google tools so popular – particularly in schools?
If you have a Google account, you automatically have access to a suite of helpful communication and collaboration tools that are available for free. If your school already uses Google Workspace for Education, then you can make use of additional features like Classroom at no extra cost.
Any teacher or administrator who has used a Google tool before – be it Gmail, Drive, Meet or Calendar – will find your system easy to pick up. Heck, it’s simple enough to use that even newbies to the platform won’t need much of a boost to get started. This means you can expect to spend less time training your staff on how to use the tool and reduce the turbulence that comes with replacing tools you already have. Instead, focus your efforts on building better curriculum maps and lesson plans!
As a cloud-enabled service, teachers and administrators can use it anywhere, any time and on any connected device. And, with user-controlled sharing options, you can control who can see and edit information. As a result, every teacher in your school could access your curriculum maps or lesson plans, with the right set-up.
Collaboration is one of Google’s strongest suits. With the ability to comment or make changes to documents synchronously – complete with a full version history that tracks a document through every iteration – you’re covered in case something gets lost or you need to revert back to an older version.
Documents are saved and shared via simple folder structures, calendars and to-do lists. So, it’s easy to create space to share everything from your entire school’s set of curriculum maps to individual class lesson plans, in one platform, without losing track of where things are (or when they’re due). In other words, no more storing documents on individual hard drives, flash drives or worse, in email inboxes. Of course, some of that depends on how well you manage those folders, tasks, meetings and documents as well!
Google’s tools don’t exist in a vacuum. There are countless plug-ins, add-ons and templates you can bring into your ecosystem to support the way you create and coordinate your curriculum mapping and lesson planning materials. One of our favourites? Curriculum Mapping with G Suite: a free add-on for Google Docs that helps document and organize your school’s curriculum mapping files.
How much time does it take to print, copy and hand out documents to everyone involved in your curriculum mapping or lesson planning processes? Does work often become lost? Can you make sure everyone’s using the latest, up-to-date versions? Google’s cloud-based system removes all the trouble that a paper-based system causes.
Google apps are famously interconnected, offering the ability to connect content across different platforms. But it doesn’t end there. What other technology do you use in your classroom? You may find that it comes ready-built with an integration with Google, allowing you to pull in or export data automatically.
Now that you know the benefits of curriculum mapping and lesson planning with Google, let’s go over how Google supports administrators and teachers with their apps.
Chapter ThreePutting Google into Action