"I want to (read and) write books that unblock the traffic jam in everyone's mind." ~J. Updike
There are so many apps and technology tools available now for educators that the task of wading through all of them can be daunting. Yet, Google has made the task a little easier to navigate with their introduction of Google for Educators. This site has piled some of Google’s most useful resources on one handy dandy resource link page.
This week I have been playing with the Google Apps for education and the new Google Apps for the desktop. You wouldn’t believe how much time I can waste exploring these cool new tools (toys)! Or, maybe you can. Anyway,after much time spent browsing, installing, uninstalling and contemplating on how each App could perhaps be used effectively in the classroom I have listed here my favorite top 7 Google Apps for the classroom.
There are, of course, more than 7 apps that could useful but I chose 7 for the very unscientific reason that I like that number and I couldn’t make a top 50 list or that would defeat my purpose. However, I encourage you to explore these resources and then go on a quest and peruse the tech for yourself.
Check them out and share your ideas of how any of these can be used in your classroom. Or, if you have a favorite technology tool that you use and has been proven effective in your classroom please share below in the comments.
Desmos is an online graphing calculator that can plot graphs in real time. CEO Eli Luberoff says, “We think we can make math more engaging for people who weren’t interested in it before.” The App is free and will launch within any browser. This makes it accessible to even the Google deprived. According to GigaOm Luberoff is committed to keeping the calculator free. However, they building partnerships with various publishers in order to create digital textbooks that are more interactive and student friendly. For example, one tool we can look forward to in the future is a math textbook with an embedded interactive Desmos graph. Of course, after playing around with with the app it becomes quickly apparent the capability for it to engage even the most reluctant student. Just look at one fun example of what you can do with the app:
A web app that helps you get the most out of your smart board. Includes activities for math, language, science, and much more!
Gynzy is a web app that helps you get the most out of your interactive whiteboard / smart board. It works with any interactive whiteboard.
Gynzy makes the general use of the interactive whiteboard much easier, by having the most used features like opening images, YouTube videos, timers, and other widgets right at your fingertips.
Gynzy includes many interactive K-8 activities for you smart board in the areas of mathematics, language arts, science, social studies and much more.
Read, personalize and share enhanced children’s books.
INTRODUCTORY OFFER – Receive All, YES ALL BEAUTIFULLY illustrated and enhanced books featuring many of your favorite titles FREE.
READ each book with audio playback, word highlighting and automatic playback! Want to read it yourself, just click the pause button, and then turn the pages manually.
See what PARENTS and TEACHERS are saying:
“MeeGenius is one the absolute best app…Of the hundreds and hundreds of apps I have used, MeeGenius is, without a doubt, the best app I have come across…” –Parent and Teacher
“My kids absolutely love these ‘smart books.”–Parent
“An awesome app, a must have for developing early reading skills in a kid friendly way.” –Parent
“As a homeschooling mother I am so happy to find educational apps for my children, especially my little ones. I love the classic story collection. My children do, too!” – Parent
“ Has been a great “center activity” for my reading rotation block!”~ Teacher, 1st grade
Spongelab is an online community focused on science.
The application gives science-minded individuals a place to meet others with a similar focus. The website gives users a place to build a profile and add their science content.
Users can transform content into useful lessons that can be assigned to an actual class. The user can access previous lessons and content through their profile.
The community area provides users with a glimpse of all Spongelab-related content posted to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Users can also earn credits by completing activities on the website.
The user can use credit to purchase access to premium content or purchase credits with actual money. Leaderboards are also updated, showing the top levels and point earners.
However, a lot can be done without purchasing the premium content.
5- Read&Write for Google™!
Make files and the web accessible for those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, struggling readers & writers, and ESL/ELL.
Read&Write for Google™ works on PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks to add many powerful support features to the web and common file types in Google Drive, including:
Read & Write for Google provides great quality text to speech tools for Google Docs and in Google browser. Texthelp offers Read & Write for Google as a 30 day trial with its premium features of a talking dictionary, basic word prediction, four highlighting colors with the ability to extract the highlighted text. Extracting text allows creation of a separate study note document in Google Docs.
The text to speech provided with download in the Google browser is easy to use and offers a hover tool to listen to words when the cursor hovers over the word. Basic, but does the job with a good quality voice and easy controls.
After 30 days the premium features of Read & Write are not available, however the text to speech features in Google docs and the browser remain – For Free!
This is a great tool for struggling readers and writers using Google Chrome. In my opinion, at present, Read & Write provides the best options for struggling readers and writers who depend on Google Chrome.
Thanks Texthelp for providing tools for Google Chrome that allows struggling readers access! ~Carol Leynse Harpold
Easily send video tutorials by Google to parents for basic computer functions like video chat, sharing photos or sharing your online calendar of school events.
AAC Communication Boards for Google Drive
Picto4me for Google Drive allows you to create, edit, play and share communication boards straight on the Google Drive.
It claims to be the the easiest online application for designing communication boards, and the integration with Google Drive is pretty slick:
1) Create new boards directly from the “Create New” menu,
2) Edit board just by clicking on them,
3) Share boards as you share any other Google Drive document
4) Play the boards using switches, mouse cameramouse or keyboard
5) Give natural voices to your pictograms
6) Two level keyboard
7) The powerfull Autodesk Pixlr Image Editor is seamlessly integrated with Picto4me editor.
8) Download your board as PDF
9) Insert images images from web, your computer, or straight from your web cam
10) Play all projects or one projects
11) Initial board thumbnail
“This is a great idea! I’ve used it only once so far but it appears quite feature-packed. I can only hope that support and development continue.
The inclusion of CC-Licensed content and the use of free/open-source software to further development of this app gives me hope that it will remain as a viable option for revenue-deficient schools and service providers”.~ Adam Hogan
Apps I thought were pretty sweet but not as easy to navigate
A free online planner for students, teachers and lecturers designed to make your study life easier to manage.
My Study Life is a planner for students, teachers and lecturers designed to make your study life easier. My Study Life stores your study life in the cloud making it available wherever you are.
My Study Life isn’t just your average school planner, diary or tasks list. Classes, tasks and exams are integrated to show you not only the information for the class, task or exam but also related information such as tasks due for a class.
Also available on Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone and coming soon to iOS.
Check out these screen shots:
Lesson planning made easy for teachers.
Planboard helps teachers streamline lesson plans, find resources, and collaborate with others. Align with school’s schedule. Integrate and track curriculum standards. Share lesson plans to the world and collaborate with colleagues. Planboard requires an internet connection.
✓ Plan Classes
Planboard helps you easily plan and view your academic year. It’s quick and easy to add items for each class. Need a synopsis on weekly schedules? Just hit the week button. Have a lot on your plate? An overview of your day is just a click away.
✓ Track Standards
Ensure your students have the knowledge they need to be successful by integrating and tracking standards. Choose from a selection of Common Core State Standards, Ontario Curriculums, TEKS or create your own custom standards.
✓ Collaborate Worldwide
Collaborate between teachers worldwide to create the best lesson plan for a particular subject. You can also easily find public lesson plans by searching for keywords or the exact standard codes that they need to meet.
✓ Live Assistance
Adopting new technology can be difficult. With Planboard Assistance, whenever you run into a problem or need help figuring out a feature, your own personal support assistant will be available to help you, live or via Email.
What Teachers Say
“As a teacher who wants to maximize my time, Planboard is a life saver. I am able to stretch out my curriculum planning, and look at the big picture of a week or condense it down to a daily lesson. The program has shortened my planning time and given me more time to dedicate to other parts of the job.” – Heidi Yost, Lustre Christian High School, USA
“I have been looking for an online teacher planner for a long time now. I have searched and tested extensively. I believe your solution is the Holy Grail. I have been searching for. Being able to input my own countries standards and the ability to see when I have used the standard is perfect.” – Mark McComas
A review from appstorm says, “Even though there are many things that I don’t like about Planboard, I still think it has some potential. One thing that I did appreciate about it was the fact that the app was easy to setup and very easy to use. If Planboard is able to add features to make the app appeal to a wider audience of teachers, then they possibly have a shot at doing well.”
As always, do not underestimate the powerful collaborative tool of
For some excellent research on ways to implement Google Drive ( and other Google Apps for Education) in your classroom click on these great resource articles: