Did you ever discover something, like a secret burger recipe or a new restaurant, that you can’t stop talking about it? The same thing happened to me when I learned about the use of Google apps for Education. But unlike the secret burger recipe, teaching others about Google apps is a bit more challenging especially when you talk to a crowd of more than 30 educators. I had a similar event last December 12, 2014 at the MSU-IIT Center for e-Learning. Our GEG chapter organized a Google apps for school administrators training and we were delighted to have Google apps trainer Inyaki Yuson of Pixsell Singapore as our head trainer. Inyaki has a few tricks up his sleeve in teaching Google apps when he conducted the training. I took down some notes and below are 8 hacks that you can use when you will conduct your own Google apps training for your GEG chapter, school, or community.
1. House rules. After some quick introduction and setting-up of computer units, it is good to agree upon some set of house rules before the training starts. Some examples of house rules are: participants can raise their hands when they have questions or concerns, interrupting the speaker is (or is not) allowed, participants should always direct their attention to the speaker during lectures, opening other sites during the workshop is not allowed, participants cannot download anything unless told to do so, etc. Just take note that house rules may vary from one culture to another, so just be sensitive to the needs of the participants. Also, some house rules can be specific to the venue of the event. Like in our case, eating and drinking is not allowed within the premises of the e-Learning center.
2. Macro level perspective. While Google apps are very specific and practical, it is desirable to talk about the macro perspective on why education has to go digital. Share about how learning Google apps upholds the betterment of the education system and how it can help you as a teacher in making a difference in the learning process of the students. As a trainer, you can also become personal by talking about your favorite teacher and how that mentor made a difference in your life. Then link those qualities to the kids today. The current students who are part of the Internet generation and their need for 21st century learning skills.
3. Paperless society. Aside from the benefits in the educational setting, you can also talk about how the world is moving towards a paperless society. Companies are becoming more and more digital nowadays and the current school system should support that. Lastly, highlight some benefits on going digital such as time-efficiency, easier collaboration and other features.
4. Constant Change. Talk about how Google apps are constantly changing. For instance, the “create” button in the Google Drive is now a “new” button in the newest version of the app. The interface is constantly changing and that is just how apps operate these days.
Nenen, a Google apps trainer from the e-Learning center, shared her experience on how she was surprised that Google forms changed its interface on the day that she conducted a training. I can imagine the look on her face in front of the participants.
5. Single sign-on. Discuss about how Google employs single sign-on system. A type of access control that allows you to go to other apps by just signing on with your Gmail account. You can show this through a demo or creatively through the use of Google apps logos on sintra boards or cardboards.
6. Cloud storage. Talk about the concept of the cloud and how it is revolutionizing file storage these days. Describe how the Google Drive native files and alien files differ. Documents created online using Google apps (such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc.) are considered native files and they have a higher storage limit in the new Google Drive. Documents uploaded to drive (such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc.) are considered alien files and have a lower storage limit.
7. Easier collaboration. A highlight of a Google Apps training is the process of real-time collaboration in Docs, Sheets, Slides and other apps. To show this feature, ask three participants to collaborate on one document while the other participants will observe the process first. Write the names of the three participants on a single document and tell them to place their cursors right after their names. Then, write an open ended sentence and tell them to add one sentence each to continue the story. For example, you will write: “Once upon a time there once lived a frog who…” See how the story will have a funny twist and turn.
8. Forms. First time users of Google apps are always amazed by what Forms can do. It’s a cool thing to somewhat have a mash-up between Forms and Sheets. To end the training with a bang, you can teach about this at the close for this will surely encourage them to learn more about Google apps.
There you have the 8 Hacks on How to Teach Google Apps. Your teaching style will eventually change over time as Google apps continuously change too. For starters, you can apply some of these hacks on your next training. Share some ideas in the comments below too.