Part V – Google Apps and Key Topics in Educational Technology
Online communities and the connection of students to teachers and students to other students is a widely growing aspect of education. I must be able to integrate the growing trends into my teaching to ensure that I am able to meet the needs of my students in a meaningful manner.
Vincente Montequin, et. al. (2012) states the following:
Teamwork capability of team members and working relationships among team members, which directly affect team performance, are important for a successful project team cannot be overlooked. If team members are not competent with effective teamwork and do not have good working relationships among them, the team will not work successfully even though each team member has strong technical skills. (p. 28-29)
This is the primary focus in building a collaborative learning environment, whether online or not. I must focus on teamwork building, empathic acceptance of differing abilities, group ownership, and patience among my students.
Google Apps and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Google Apps meets the needs of diverse learners in several ways. First, it gives my students many ways to express their learning and test their results. Second, it can be used collaboratively. I can have students who have special needs or are English Language Learners work with other students who are differently “abled” to give them the ability to work towards the same or similar goals as the rest of the class. Collaborative learning also enables job-sharing. Students can have “jobs” within the group that benefit the whole and promotes learning and understanding.
Social and Ethical Issues and Google Apps
Every research activity has ethical issues involving intellectual property. Nothing is truly “free” even if it is only words. I need to teach my students how to properly use information they find including how to cite their work and even how to recognize their peers’ intellectual property.
Creativity and Google Apps
Google Apps allows for my students to take their learning and display it in a variety of different ways. They can build presentations, documents, surveys, trivia games, etc. in a “one-stop” setup. Another benefit of online communities in creativity is that basic concepts can be learned by my students outside of class so that I can spend my time teaching critical thinking skills and fostering creativity. The collaborative nature of Google Apps itself allows me to track what my students are thinking and, therefore, gauge what is effective and what isn’t. It gives me an opportunity to tune into topics they find engaging to help me develop further study.
Professional Development and Google Apps
The main challenge for me in the context of professional development is to keep up with every Google App that is out there. I do not believe I must have high proficiency in every App, but if I know of all the major Apps and how to use the major ones I can make the most of them and my students can too.
Deaf-Blindness. 8. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/resource_library/articles