Saturday, April 25, 2015

Learner Centered Classrooms and Google Apps for Education

Google Apps for Education has changed how I teach and how my students learn. A few years ago I agreed to pilot Google Drive after spending years using Microsoft Office and Smart Technologies to support teaching and learning. Up until that time, Google was only a search tool that help with research in and out of the classroom. My students collaborated on a some in-class activities, but we rarely collaborated using digital tools. My classroom was very teacher centered. We focused on content first and foremost and student skills connected to learning was an afterthought. 
I can't tell you that I started using Google Drive and I immediately became a different teacher. It was probably a full year before I fully engaged in Google Drive. Today I rarely touch an Office Tool or Smart Notebook file. They are great products but no longer meet the needs of my classroom. My classroom has become a learner centered space with content supporting the development of critical student skills. 
The change in tools also brought a change in my teaching. Today the activities in my classroom start with the 4 Cs (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity). Google Apps for Education provides me with a great set of tools to support these skills. 
Since I shifted my classroom to be more learner centered, my own learning has shifted to a greater reliance on my personal learning network. I've learned a great deal about Google Apps for Education and a student-centered classroom and I am always driven to learning more. I learn the most by sharing, so here are a few resources that I've found or created to support learning in a student-centered classroom using Google Apps for Education: 




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