Jun 12 2015

How Google Play for Education Fits into K–12 Learning

Experts from Colorado’s Challenge to Excellence Charter School explain how they navigated Common Core standards using Google Play for Education.

As one-to-one initiatives gain speed, more apps are making their way into the classroom and into teachers’ hearts.

The Google Play for Education store is one way for teachers to find and download student-focused apps that have an impact on learning. In a recent EdTech webinar, four K–12 educators were asked how they incorporate Google Play into their technology programs.

The free recorded webinar, “Getting Started with Google Play for Education,” features four experts, including two from Colorado’s Challenge to Excellence Charter School: Beth Mossholder, a technology coordinator and K–8 technology teacher, and Julie Stewart, the school’s team lead for grades 2 and 3.

During a follow-up interview, Stewart and Mossholder discussed the role of technology and Google Play for Education in their school. Read the Q&A below, then register for the free recorded webinar to learn more.

EDTECH: How do Google Play apps fit into Common Core?

STEWART AND MOSSHOLDER: One of the great benefits of Google Play for Education is that many of the apps list Common Core standards, which is helpful for teachers choosing an app that aligns with those standards and the current curriculum. Google Play for Education also lets educators review an app by looking at grade-level assignments and tips that have been written by teachers who have used the app in their classrooms.

These added pieces allow teachers to see what has and hasn’t worked, so they can gauge whether it’s worthwhile for them to try the app with their own students. They can also have a voice in sharing what they did with their classes and how the app either worked or didn’t work for them. Google Play for Education has been a successful addition to our school’s technology program.

EDTECH: What sort of initial and ongoing training do teachers receive?

STEWART AND MOSSHOLDER: At Challenge to Excellence, we provide opportunities for our faculty to receive training on the devices they are using. We want our teachers to feel comfortable when it comes to using technology in the classroom, so they can then show their students how to use it effectively.

When we have our scheduled professional development days, there are usually several hands-on sessions that allow teachers to see firsthand how other teachers are using technology in their classrooms. We even offer teachers an option to schedule appointments to go and observe other teachers during the regular teaching day.

This allows them to learn from a peer and then take that knowledge and apply it to their own lessons. Their classrooms are covered by our administration, so no substitute is required. It has been a very successful program!

EDTECH: What solutions are you using to filter inappropriate content kids might find when they’re performing research on the Internet?

STEWART AND MOSSHOLDER: We have LanSchool, which monitors our students’ computers in real time. It allows teachers to view our students’ active applications and last-visited websites.

The students know that their accounts are being monitored, so when someone tries to go against our digital agreement, they are not surprised when their account is locked and investigated. We have been very fortunate to have only had some minor instances where students did not make good choices.

Another thing that has proved effective is that we teach digital citizenship and really stress how every student must do his or her part to make sure that our school remains a safe place to explore the world on the Internet. Our students report things when they think a student may not be using a device appropriately. We believe that our students are taking ownership of our program, and that is why it has been so successful.


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