Gone Google: How do you integrate all things Google into your classroom?

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By Kendra Spira
Secondary Science Teacher
Upper Grand District School Board

Like most things in my life...this site is still under construction! Please be patient!


After twenty years of teaching, Google Apps for Education has allowed me to change the way my students share their information with me and that I share information with them! The addition of Google Classroom was the final piece in coordinating and simplifying the sharing of information. I will share how Google Apps for Education is used in my classroom and invite you to explore what it can do for you and your students.

Work flow in our Classroom


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Google Classroom

This is the hub of our classroom. It allows quick distribution and collection of information and assignments without the hassle of ensuring accurate permissions. It also allows a continuous discussion between teacher and student for improvement of student product. It is extremely easy to use and register students. This is an updated presentation that I made with my colleague Michael Fricano II at ISTE in July 2015 that explains some of the features of Google Classroom.



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Google Sites

I loved my binders, full of information, activities and lesson plans. Google sites have become my new digital binder. It is a place for me to store most of the information and activities that I use to teach from. What is so amazing about Google Sites for me is that it integrates beautifully with everything Google and it allows me to share my resources with my students, their parents and colleagues all over the world. It is also an excellent place to showcase student work (with the correct permission forms!). The best part of Google Sites is that I am not a tech wizard but I can make a basic website in minutes. However, you can also make your website much more complex if you want.

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Google Drive

Google Drive is my go to for almost everything. We use Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets for most projects, but there are so many other features that can be used. Add-ons like Mindomo, Pear Deck and We video make the possibilities endless. We are a Google Apps for Education Board so all of my students have a Google account. This allows for collaboration both in and out of class.

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Notability


This is not a Google Product. Google Keep is trying to emulate this amazing software but so far I'm still using Notability. Notability is an iPad app that I use in my classroom to take notes. It has replaced my blackboard and overhead. The added benefit is that it integrates seemlessly with Google Drive. You can import and export notes between the two. This allows me to upload a handwritten note to Google Drive, convert it to a Google Doc and insert it into my website.


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Explain Everything

Explain Everything allows students a blank space on which to demonstrate their learning. Students can add drawings, pictures, videos, and then record their explanations. This app also integrates seamlessly with Google Drive. You can upload a project file or export your project as a video. These videos are also easily inserted into a Google Site to allow a showcase of student work or to allow you to flip your class.

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Blogger

Blogger has taken on several important roles in my class. Blogger allows students to track their learning and engage in discussions with their peers. We have used this to have groups share their learning on a topic, share results of their experiments and to ask questions both within their groups and between groups in class. This allows the groups to share their learning without having everyone present all their work. Blogger has provided a forum for students to discuss current topics with peers outside of their classroom. When we have had more than one Grade 10 science class running in a semester each teacher had a blog to share a current article on a topic and students were expected to respond to one article. It didn't have to be their teacher's blog. This allowed our Grade 10 teachers to meet students who were outside their class and was one of our favourite projects.

Blogger has allowed everyone in my class to have a voice. We often use blogger to carry on on-line discussions before and/or after an in-class discussion to ensure that everyone feels that they had a chance to heard. This also allows students who have difficulty participating in face-to-face discussions a chance to be heard.