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Google Apps

Google Apps

 

The nature of school computing is rapidly changing. Connectivity is now essential for students. So much of education now relies on students being able to communicate,research, compile and collaborate effectively. To stay with these initiatives Parklands provides a platform for these streamlined systems that are productive and easy to use. Google Apps for Education provides students with access to an online toolbox of productive and helpful utilities.

Google Apps are a collection of online tools that promote sharing and collaboration between students and teachers. These collaborative projects really make for an excellent education experience not only because students bounce ideas off each other and improve each other’s writing skills, but also because the process itself teaches them how to work well with others – a valuable skill for everyone.

Some of the tools students can use are:

Email… Gmail
Gmail makes email easy, fast and accessible. With more than 7,300 megabytes of free storage, students will never need to throw messages away. And with a powerful built-in Google search engine, you no longer need to set up folders, file your mail, or remember where you stored your messages.

Google Calendars
Students and staff can organise and share their schedules. This function will allow the college to advertise special events, share calendars with specific groups and provide the wider college community.

Google Docs
Google-SitesWith an office suite comprised of document, spread sheet, presentation and more, students will have access to document processing and storage space “online”. That means that they can do their work where ever they are even without Microsoft applications or a USB. Google Docs also promotes greater collaboration between students and teachers because its ‘online’. So students will have access to more information and more support, while teachers will have the benefit of a dependable and connected working environment.

Perhaps the jewel in the Apps suit is Google Sites. Sites give us the ability to move our curriculum online, enabling students to access unit content from anywhere in the world. The staff at Parklands have created a diverse range of sites for secondary subjects. Each child can access these invaluable sites to download resources, term overviews, assignment task sheets and much more. Some sites are set up as information portals, whilst others are designed as tutorial stations. Every year these sites evolve and become more user friendly as we refine our online content. We look forward to seeing where this technology can take us.

FAQ’s

Does using Google Apps mean my Microsoft Office software is obsolete‌?
Not at all. Google Apps still has some limitations, so we suggest students use their usual software and upload documents to Google docs only when needed. The beauty of this system is that students can upload and manipulate any version of Word document, Excel spread sheet or PowerPoint presentation without those annoying version errors. Students can also edit these things with friends online and in real-time.

Do I have to buy anything for my child to take advantage of these new initiatives‌?
No, as long as you child has a device connected to the internet, there is no expense associated with these initiatives.

Should I have a computer at home connected to the internet if my child is in primary school‌?
Yes. We recommend that students have access to a computer that is connected to the internet throughout their primary & secondary education.

My child already uses Gmail and online tools, surely they already have the necessary skills‌?
It is our experience that whilst this generation of children are using many new online resources, most students still lack technical expertise in a wide range of programs and software. In particular, students need explicit instruction and guidance about how to become cyber smart and proficiently in online environments.

Is there any safety issues I should know about‌?
Yes. Online environments are real-time and widely accessible. This means that students can be engaged in chat or email conversations that are fast flowing and easy to abuse if not correctly monitored. Web page “push technology” means that some web sites will produce “pop-ups” that may lure students to venture onto sites that are inappropriate. At Parklands we have good systems in place to monitor and police online traffic therefore minimising the potential for misuse. However, nothing is fool proof.

At home, parents should look into adequate filtering software that may assist in the monitoring of what your child is doing. However, nothing replaces good old fashioned supervision. Take a look at http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/ for more information.

Will Google Apps work on my child’s iPad‌?
Yes, absolutely. Devices like iPads were made for this type of online experience.

Are the teaching staff using Google Apps‌?

iPad & miniTeachers have been using Google Apps for the past 4 years. At this stage, we are satisfied with all that Google offers educational institutions. Secondary teachers are required to create and maintain Google Sites, forming the basis for their planning.