Thursday, February 11, 2016

The 4Cs and Google Apps for Education

Over the year's I've always looked to improve the way I teach and my students learn. Google Apps for Education has changed how I teach and how my students learn more than any other resource or idea. 

A few years ago I agreed to pilot Google Drive after spending years using Microsoft Office and Smart Technologies to support teaching and learning. Google was only a search tool that helped me find lessons and my students research ideas. My students collaborated on a variety of in-class activities, but we rarely collaborated using digital tools. My classroom was very teacher-centered. We focused on content first and foremost. The skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity were an afterthought. 

I won't tell you that I started using Google Drive and I immediately became a different teacher. I was probably a full year before I fully engaged in Google Drive.
The shift to Google Apps for Education also brought a change in my teaching. My classroom has become more student-centered. We focus on using the content to teach essential skills.

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 in a learner-centered classroom. 

Since I shifted my classroom to be more learner-centered, my own learning has shifted to a great 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 we've found or created to support learning in a student-centered classroom using Google Apps for Education: