Google has made important improvements in the education industry, establishing itself as a major thought leader for technology innovation in the classroom. Though some of its tactics, such as bypassing administrators and offering beta products to teachers, have come under fire, Google has still proven immensely successful at overcoming adoption barriers and making a stable home for itself in school districts around the world.
In just the last five years, Google has made tremendous strides in the classroom. Its applications and products are versatile, adaptable, and — perhaps most importantly — affordable. In school districts where cash flow is a major concern, Google makes technology accessible to every student. Here’s a look at how the modern classroom has changed thanks to Google.
Providing Mobile Technology
The New York Times reported that Google Chromebooks account for over half of the mobile devices in schools. These low-cost laptops operate on a simplified app-based platform that helps them boot up and run faster than competitors’ products. Though Chromebooks have frustrated some business users by being highly dependent on internet access, they’ve proven the ideal tool for schools.
Chromebooks rely on cloud storage, which means that a repository of information stored in Google docs is instantly accessible at the tap of a finger from any Chromebook in the school district. The Chromebooks also offer a welcome level of security. Administrators can lock missing devices remotely, making them unusable to students who may attempt to steal the laptops. These Chromebooks also offer the option to remotely limit access to the internet or other apps so that students taking tests can’t access outside information while exams are being administered on the devices.
Facilitating Sharing with Google Docs
Google Docs allows students and teachers to share notes, worksheets, handouts, and other documents seamlessly. The platform is so useful for collaboration that it’s been used even in districts where Google wasn’t the official platform. Jennie Magiera, a fourth-grade teacher in Chicago, set up consumer accounts for her class to use Google Docs in 2012 despite the fact that Chicago Public Schools were using Microsoft Exchange at the time. She explained to the New York Times, “We were bootlegging using Google apps.” Soon after, the district chose Google for its email and education apps.
Google Docs makes it possible for teachers to share with students and for students to collaborate easily with each other. Users can work simultaneously on a shared document even when they’re accessing projects from home.
Offering Organization Through Google Classroom
Google Classroom started beta testing in May 2014. An online advertisement for volunteers quickly garnered over 100,000 educators in more than 45 countries who were excited to preview the product. By August, Classroom was available to all Google Apps for Education users.
Google’s Classroom app gives teachers a neat and organized virtual space for their educational activities. They can post assignments, attach files, and collaborate with students as they work on projects. The class page provides a convenient place for announcements from instructors and comments from students.
Students can also complete and submit assignments easily through the platform. Learners can complete templates in Google Docs and submit the finished assignment with an easy “turn in” button. Teachers can set due dates and monitor progress throughout projects, so they can see who’s working on an assignment, who has questions, and who has yet to start. Virtual folders keep things organized in this powerful virtual learning space.
Giving Resources to Music Teachers
Music education is getting a boost from Google apps, as well. For the 2016 Music in Our Schools Month, Google rolled out the Chrome Music Lab. The app allows users to experiment with rhythm, melody, and sound. A wealth of additional apps can turn Chromebooks into powerful tools for learning music. Music Notation Training hones sheet reading skills. UJAM: Make Your Music lets you play or hum to the app, then add professional backing to finish the track.
Specialized music apps for keyboard, guitar, and other instruments provide additional resources for both teachers and students. The act of sharing music in the classroom can be transformed using Google’s products and applications. Google’s contribution is one important example of the power of technology to transform music education.
Streamlining Email Migration
Students who use Google’s email platform through their school districts have the option to migrate their accounts seamlessly upon graduation. Bridgeport Public Schools recommended this migration to its students so they can take their writing, work, and presentations with them. The district also suggested migrating sites out of Google Docs so students could keep their projects with them even after their Google apps via the school are deleted.
This offers supreme convenience for students as well as a distinctive boon to Google. Mike Fisher, education technology consultant with Futuresource Consulting, notes that “If you get someone on your operating system early, then you get that loyalty early, and potentially for life.”
Bringing Teachers Together
Google’s primary sales strategy is to gain new customers through word of mouth. Satisfied school districts share their success stories and win over other districts organically with minimal marketing from Google itself. Chicago Public Schools is a prime example of this strategy at work. The district was so satisfied with its Google tools that it began a now-annual event known as Googlepalooza. The two-day conference helps support educators who are interested in learning how to use Google tools more effectively.
Google’s Educator Groups (GEGs) are another way the company fosters collaboration among educators. GEGs help bring teachers together in destinations around the world. Each group is independently run by educators in the community. These groups serve as an outstanding resource for collaboration and innovation. Many host regular monthly or annual events where educators can get together and share their ideas, experiences, and insights.
Google’s education tools are successfully streamlining the classroom environment for teachers in all areas. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge opportunity to revolutionize music education, Google may have just the tool you can use to accomplish your goals.
If the impact of technology on music education excites you, consider how you can become an innovative force in music education. Start with an advanced degree that can help you make a difference. The Master of Music in music education from Kent State University can give you a strong background for pioneering educational change.