That year, we also began learning how to use the Basic Suite. Of course, my favorites of the three programs were (and still are) word processing software and presentation software. Today, the Basic Suite is so essential to my classroom that I often forget to think of it as a tool. It’s like air or a pencil in my classroom. We are almost incapable of getting through a day without it. That being said, Google apps have redefine my view on the Suite and made each software program easier to use and more (if it’s even possible) essential to my classroom.
The Google Basic Suite include Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides with all created files saved and organized in Google Drive. As a neat freak and a sucker for organization, Google Drive is an amazing tool that allows me to keep all my classes, novels, and skills neat and tidy. The basic functions and capabilities are the same as other Basic Suites; however, Google apps has one function that establishes it as top dog. With Google apps, students can create and publish documents to the Internet. What’s the benefit in publishing files? For one, it’s the final step in the writing process, and Google apps actually allows students to follow through and publish their work on a grander scale rather than lying a typed document on my desk and walking away.
So, what can they publish? Using the Google Basic Suite, students can create basic word processing documents such as essays, reports, and more. Roblyer (2016) gave the example of using word processing software to create a Civil War-era newspaper, which is a great idea, but there are so many more options. With word processing software like Google Docs, students can publish interactive book reviews following a round of independent reading. Google Docs allows students to electronically enhance their reviews with book cover images and links to Amazon. Using Google Docs, students can create annotated bibliographies using the Research tool. They can read, cite, and evaluate sources all in one place. With Google apps’ amazing sharing capabilities, students can even work together from multiple computers and locations to write a collaborative story.
Presentation software allows students to do equally as exciting things. Specifically with Google Slides, students can write, format, and publish e-books, children’s books, and how-to documents like cookbooks and manuals. Google Slides allows students to embed videos into a slide, which further enhances a file’s educational potential. Students can also easily link to other slides in a presentation or to other locations altogether.
As an English teacher, I do not use Google Sheets as much, but as a component of the Basic Suite, it offers just as many benefits and advantages as its counterparts. For example, by sharing a spreadsheet with parents, signing up for parent-teacher conferences has never been easier. Additionally, the flashcard add-on allows students to quickly turn a spreadsheet of vocabulary into flashcards that are ready to review.
The possibilities are endless with the Google Basic Suite and the Basic Suite in general. As Roblyer stated, the Basic Suite allows teachers “to support any directed instruction or constructivist activity” (2016). This versatility is what I find so attractive and essential in a technology tool. As a universal tool, the Basic Suite aids students and teachers in countless ways. It saves time, enhances files, simplifies collaboration, and so much more.
Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7 ed). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc