Have you ever said, "I'll have to Google that!”? Or used Google Maps to find your way somewhere? Maybe you use Google Calendar or Gmail? Have you ever watched a YouTube video? If you said yes to any of those, you, like most people, have used Google, but many of us don’t know or use even half of the tools Google makes available to us for free. Google offers a number of tools that are not only useful in everyday life but have particular benefits for us in adult education.
Beyond the tools I mentioned above, for everyday productivity, Google Drive provides us with at least 12 tools and apps that can help us get things done. Google Drive itself gives us a place to save our documents that can be accessed on most of our devices, PCs to Macs, Android phones to iPads. No more emailing ourselves that document we started at work and need to access at home. Just save it to Google Drive from work and open it from the Google Drive at home. Basic Google Drive includes 15GB of memory as part of our free accounts. Plus, if we use Google tools to create our content, Google doesn't subtract anything from those 15GB.
Some of the most useful tools and apps Google Drive gives us access to include Google Docs (similar to Microsoft Word), Google Sheets (similar to Microsoft Excel), Google Slides (similar to Microsoft PowerPoint), Google Forms, Google Draw, and Google Sites. Instead of paying for software, downloading and installing it or working with old software versions, Google tools are always available for us to use in the latest version just by having a Google account. For us in Adult Education, all of this means we can be using the same software that looks and acts the same across platforms; our students can access their materials on their smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, or on a personal or public computer. Students can develop transferable skills by using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides that are very similar to their Microsoft Office equivalents. With Google Forms, teachers and students can develop self-scoring quizzes. Teachers and students can make their own websites using Google Sites. Google has also developed lessons on applied digital skills using their tools:
where both teachers and students can learn how to use all the Google tools through short videos and projects. If you don't already have one, get yourself a Google account and try at least one of these tools today. We will be offering workshops on using Google in Adult Education at the NYACCE Conference this year. Hope to see you there.
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