Google Apps for Education: So Much More than Email
Most people, even those at schools with Google Apps accounts, see their google account as (maybe) three things: email, calendar, and docs. What makes the Google Apps account so great is the myriad other functions that come with the account. Below are some ideas for some day-to-day things a teacher might want to do and how the services in their google apps account can take care of it for them. (Note: most of these shots come from screencasts I’ve done during presentations; I have tried to remove most of the background noise.)
I want to…Make a phone call from my computer.
When parents of a student live in different states, sometimes it’s hard to make a call to the out of state parent because the school phones don’t allow for long-distance calls. Meanwhile, the spotty nature of cell service (like at my school), makes using your cell an untenable option. Google apps allows you to make calls (even long distance) within your email.
I want to…send text messages to students without using my personal phone.
This one is great because many teachers worry about giving out their personal phone number to students. Using Google voice through Google Apps allows teachers to send texts to student phones without using their personal phone numbers. Meanwhile, a record of the text is kept on your email.
I want to…customize my email so that I can see my calendar when I open my email.
Google apps also, through the labs function, allows users to set a widget on their email page that allows them to see and add things to their calendars right on the same page as their email. I use this constantly so that the moment I confirm an appointment, I enter it into my calendar without ever having to leave the email page.
I want to…stop that terrible email I just sent from reaching it’s destination.
We’ve all done it. We’ve hit send before we had a moment to think about what we were actually writing. Or we “replied all” instead of just “replied.” Well, Google labs has a function that allows people to undo a send up to 30 seconds after the email was sent. Take a look:
I want to…have a video chat with another class (or five other classes)
Now that Google Plus has been enabled for EDU, teachers can set up video chats with people around the world–up to ten different people in different locations. It’s as easy as enabling your Google plus account and clicking on “hangouts.” See below.
There’s plenty more options with google apps for edu. Play with the site for awhile and you’ll find it can make your life as an educator so much easier.