Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On the GOogle for Summer

Great teachers are experts at integrating real-world content or realistic experiences into their instruction.  With a summer full of activities, travel, and fun experiences, teachers can easily use their mobile devices to capture artifacts and experiences that can be used for instructional purposes during the upcoming school year.  Integrating real-life experiences into instruction provides sustainable and lasting impressions on students that create connections to solidify learning.  Here are some suggestions on easy ways to collect great experiences and moments using Google mobile apps.

**Although links are for the Apple Apps Store, apps can be used on any mobile device.**

Google Drive - Taking pictures or videos with your mobile device while you are traveling, exploring, or enjoying the summer can be a great way to make connections for students.  Any media content can easily be stored in your Google Drive from your mobile device.  You'll then be able to access your files from a laptop or other devices for easy integration in the classroom.  Check out this quick video for some of the great features Google Drive has on an iPad.

Google Slides - Google Slides has quickly out performed Power Point with presentation features and ease of use.  Last month Google released updates that make the Slides applications even better including the capability to add images from any mobile device to a presentation.  It's now easier than ever to put your photos from those summer experiences into an award winning presentation.  Sharing your summer escapades with students in a presentation is an easy way to create relationships and motivate them to use their own experiences for demonstrations of learning.

Google Maps - Most people use Google Maps as a navigation tool on a regular basis as an excellent resource.  What most people don't know is that Google Maps has a number of other very useful features especially for instructional purposes.  One of the greatest features is that you can create your own maps that highlight specific places with detailed information.  Once you've created a map, it can be shared with anyone to share the great places you've discovered or visited.  Check out this great blog post that gives more detailed information on creating Google Maps for instructional purposes.

Photo Sphere - This amazing app creates countless engaging and realistic learning opportunities. With Photo Sphere, you can take 360-degree or panoramic photos that can be linked to Google Maps. If you've ever seen Street View in Google Maps, Photo Sphere is what allows users to create their very own personalized street views.  This incredible app provides a wide variety of options for engaging, real-world instruction with students.  As you travel or engage in summer fun, take photos of the locations you visit with Photo Sphere and upload them to your custom Google Map.  You can then have students engage in a scavenger hunt when they return in the fall to learn more about you and your personal interests while learning about geography, history, science, and more!

Whether it's during the summer or any other time of year, these tools can be extremely valuable when planning engaging and personalized learning opportunities for students. Creating strong relationships with your students is more possible than ever as they learn about you and your personal interests along with a variety of locations around the world.  If you have questions or would like additional support with any of these great mobile tools, contact your EdTech Coach. Have a great summer!

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This is a professional blog associated with the Ed Tech Department of Aurora Public Schools. Comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated, but please keep in mind that this can be used in classrooms and viewed by anyone.