Education is in the midst of a tumultuous technological transformation. Staying on top of all of the industry changes can be a full-time job. Thankfully, there is an army of experts online sharing best practices and tips to any who spend the time to find them.
Educator Alice Keeler is one such expert for Google’s suite of apps, including the relatively new Google Classroom, the search engine giant’s answer to the modern-day learning management system (LMS). Keeler recently cowrote a book on the subject, 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom.
Keeler’s blog, Teacher Tech, provides educators with invaluable technology advice and how-tos they might not get from their school system. It was recently named one of EdTech’s 2015 "50 Must-Read K–12 IT Blogs."
“Google Classroom solves a lot of problems that made a blended classroom challenging,” says Alice Keeler, an educator, blogger and author.
EDTECH: How did you get started in this industry, and what's kept you in it?
KEELER: I am a teacher. I have a degree in math and started teaching high school math in 1999. I did not want to be a teacher but was offered a job. Turns out I love it. I started blogging around 2007. I was the “techie teacher” on campus, always helping other teachers with how to do things. I would send out schoolwide emails with how-to tips when I was asked questions. I finally figured out it was more efficient to blog the answers to these questions. This gave everyone access to the answer, and when asked the question again, I could refer and link back to the blog post.
EDTECH: You've become a well-recognized Google Apps pro. What made you gravitate to Google's platform as an education solution?
KEELER: Google Apps is an amazing platform. I use it because it works. I do not use it because I am a "fanboy." I will gravitate to the tools that are efficient and help me teach and get my work done. I was a power user of Microsoft Office, and I would make a lot of Access databases. I cannot remember when I started switching over to Google, but the ability to post the documents online for my students to access has been a game changer.
EDTECH: Many of your posts feature tips for using Google's Apps for Education lineup. What are your thoughts on Classroom, now that it's had a full year under its belt?
KEELER: I actually just wrote a book on Google Classroom. 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom is now available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. Google Classroom makes it possible for teachers to have a blended classroom. It makes the process so much easier that teachers who were hesitant are now enthusiastically jumping in. Google Classroom solves a lot of problems that made a blended classroom challenging.
EDTECH: The past five years have seen classrooms evolve with some tremendous technological innovations. Do you foresee a similarly turbulent future in terms of technological progress?
KEELER: Absolutely! The growth of technological innovation is exponential. I predict that online education in particular will be practically unrecognizable in the future. Constantly we are seeing innovations that you could not even imagine. I do not see less of this happening. We are moving away from being a society of manufacturing to a society of creatives. Creativity and innovation are the new types of jobs our students will have. They will be doing things that are beyond the scope of my imagination. I am excited about it.
EDTECH: For education bloggers starting out, what's one writing tip you'd offer that you've seen readers respond to the most?
KEELER: Write, and write often. I got better by posting a lot. If you think it is helpful to you, then blog it. Get into a mentality of being someone who shares what they do. Do not worry about the quality of the post; that will get better over time. It is better to share than to wait until the post is perfect.