Galileo to introduce Google Apps for Education

Freshman+Emily+Nordan+and+Junior+Jordan+Huemoeller+work+on+a+piece+in+Leigh+Walker%27s+fourth+period+publications+graphics+1+course.
Freshman Emily Nordan and Junior Jordan Huemoeller work on a piece in Leigh Walker's fourth period publications graphics 1 course.

Freshman Emily Nordan and Junior Jordan Huemoeller work on a piece in Leigh Walker's fourth period publications graphics 1 course.

Owen Lane

Owen Lane

Freshman Emily Nordan and Junior Jordan Huemoeller work on a piece in Leigh Walker's fourth period publications graphics 1 course.

Contributing Writer

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Galileo Magnet High School will introduce Google Apps for Education in its classrooms this school year with five members of the school’s faculty, as well as its administrator, traveling to the Suffolk Summit on Oct. 16-18 which featured courses on the individual aspects of GAFE.

The two-day event introduced participants to the steps required to deploy, integrate, and use Google Apps for Education and other Google tools in the classroom for a variety of disciplines and grade levels.

From classes on the Chrome search engine to introductory and intermediate lessons on Google Classroom, Maps, Docs, and more, each instructor in attendance was able to tailor their conference experience to what would best benefit their individual students and school as a whole.

“I really believe that the resources provided by Google will give our students a tremendous advantage to enrich their learning,” Principal at Galileo Jay Lancaster said. “There is going to be the age-old problem of ensuring individual student accountability for their learning but at least through Google Apps for Education there are multiple ways to access that content.”

Classes offered not only covered apps for classroom organization and management but also included lessons tailored to administrators including a course titled “Google Apps for Leaders” that discussed Google’s search potential to relieve the hassle of storage issues and improve inter-district communication.

“As a principal, I’m not instructing in the classroom on a daily basis so I’m trying to model different techniques that I’ve seen in the hopes that my teachers will use them,” Lancaster said. “For my position as principal, there was a course that demonstrated products designed to increase productivity by managing emails, tasks, and calendar features.  I get buried under emails so this was a great way to set filters and labels so that Gmail can manage some of those functions for you.”

Joining Lancaster for the event were History Teacher Jared Smith, Science Teacher Jason Gibson, Math Teacher Kelly Conner, P.E. and Health Teacher Nancy Rook, and Journalism Teacher Leigh Walker.

“I attended the Google conference in Suffolk with the intent of learning the practical applications of Google’s variety of suites for education,” Smith said. “I was particularly impressed with the research tool found in most of Google’s suites, including Docs and Slides. The research tool will assemble, not only a description of an item that is being researched, but it will also pull video, images, and primary source information regarding the item.”

Smith was also impressed by the research function on Docs that will cite information correctly in the form of the student’s choosing when working on papers and presentations.

“This function will be especially beneficial to students in my higher level history classes, especially AP and IB,” Smith said. “I feel that the tools from Google along with practical knowledge will greatly benefit the students at Galileo.”

Rook attended the conference anxious to learn more after hearing of Danville Public School’s Chromebooks for students and has plans to use GAFE to enhance map projects in driver’s education courses and lessons on body systems as part of her health curriculum.

“I truly enjoyed the ‘Make and Take’ session and definitely the ‘Google Maps and MyMaps’ sessions,” Rook said. “I was energized this weekend about all of the possibilities in the classroom when using GAFE. You can learn more about and explore the world, you can create something that would be meaningful to others outside the classroom, you can communicate/chat/ etc. with others around the world to gain more knowledge.”

Walker plans to use Google Classroom to streamline her journalism 1-4 classes, giving students an easier way to keep up with deadlines, review suggested corrections by editors in real-time through Goggle Docs, and plan for upcoming editions through group chat.

“I like that students can work on a document as a group and see suggestion made by each other as they work,” Walker said. “This is so much easier than having three copies of the same document floating around as a group works where nobody knows which one is the most up-to-date version the group should turn in.”

Walker said the use of Google Drive will also help the publications staff as they will be able to save file, share them with each other, and search archived documents with ease.

“Because we have four publications we are working on at the same time, the newsmagazine, literary magazine, news Web site, and yearbook so we keep our servers pretty full,” Walker said. “From new cover designs to stories, cutlines, pictures, and additional graphics, all of these items will be saved to Google Drive so we can each access them as needed without being logged in at the school and limited to certain work hours.”

Gibson said he will encourage students to use the free tools and free storage that Google supplies and plans to use a Google Classroom Web site to aid in better communicate and collaborate with his students.

“I wanted to go to this conference so I could continue to grow my knowledge base of information and skills.  A person can always learn new things and become a better teacher,” Gibson said. “I am excited about Danville adopting this technology.  Many students do not have Microsoft products at home but do have an Internet connection.  Now those students will be allowed to complete any kind of assignment because of the free apps Google is providing.”

Gibson said that having more variety in the activities teachers create will allow students to get better instruction, making classes less monotonous.

“I really enjoyed a class I went to called ‘Break Out’,” Gibson said. “This class was structured around having to break into a wooden box by using clues provided by the instructor.  It was very challenging to solve each problem but all of the class members had a lot of fun.”

Conner said it was her love of technology and passion for using it in the classroom that made her want to attend the Google conference.

“I wanted to find inspiration to create new ways to use technology and the Google Apps for Educators in my classroom,” Conner said. “I am very excited about the adoption of Google Apps.  I think it will open up additional opportunities for differentiation to help all of my students.”

One of only three math teachers at Galileo, Conner’s course load consists of Algebra 1, part 1 and 2, Algebra 1 part 2, Algebra Functions and Data Analysis, Advanced Geometry, and AP Statistics.

“Google Apps for Education will provide many new ways to differentiate instruction and make it more personal for the student’s individual needs and skill level,” Conner said. “It will also open up opportunities for communication and student involvement in their education.”

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