Google, the search engine that seems to rule the world, needs no introduction. But the number of products and services Google provides may be surprising to you. Google has their hands in a large variety of products from the classic Google Docs to phone plans. Today we will talk about a somewhat newer service, Google Classroom and Google for Education.
These services and products combine to offer an online classroom platform that allows teachers and students to collaborate anywhere, manage tasks and communicate in a way that works best for everyone. Teachers can distribute assignments, administer quizzes, send feedback and see everything in one place. Students can communicate with their teacher and even their peers. This offers an opportunity to help to students outside of normal school hours whether the teacher is online or if another student is available to help. This also offers an alternative way for students to talk with their teachers, when they may feel intimidated to talk in person.
However, with any technology, there are posed risks. If your child’s school is a Google school that can be a great thing. These services can help improve your child’s learning. But you do need to be aware of the risks and help your child be aware of the responsibility that being online holds.
Access to all apps
As mentioned before, Google has their hands in many different products and services. If you’re one of the 1.2 billion Gmail users, did you know that by creating a Gmail account you are then in turn creating accounts, or the access to multiple other sites? Having a Gmail address gives you access to Google Drive, Google Docs, Hangouts and a YouTube account. Schools that take on Google for Education are giving students Gmail accounts to students to use Google Drive, Google Docs, Hangouts which are all useful products in the classroom. However, the issue with giving students YouTube accounts is that they then can create and post videos without their parents knowing. As you can see, this is an issue especially for the younger generations who don’t fully understand the dangers of the internet.
If you remember, back in 2014, Google admitted to scanning millions of student email addresses to build profiles on those young users for targeted advertising. With Google for Education, Gmail is one of the key features every student is assigned to access all of the other apps like Docs, Sheets, Drive, Calendar and Hangouts. Even three years later, there is still concern that as more schools adopt Google for Education that Google is creating profiles on these students well before they leave high school. These profiles then are transferred into direct marketing and can be seen as invading privacy.
Like most technology, you must change and evolve to stay relevant. Even a giant beast like Google much change. Almost every year, Google has updates. This can make training and understanding apps challenging. However, being able to adapt and learn quickly is a great skill to teach children. With the constant updates, Google has the right to change their terms of service whenever they see fit. This can pose as a problem as children and young adults are using Google apps. When implementing Google for Education, administration is responsible for understanding the terms and services provided by Google. But during the use of these services the terms may change. Now this isn’t a bad thing by any means, however, administration must be proactive with these changes and always keep the students’ best interest in mind including privacy.
Although Google for Education has been around for a few years now, it is still relatively new to most schools. Do you have a child in a Google school? Are you a teacher using Google for Education? Share your experience with us!