Today marks the start of the 4-day show at Kensington Olympia: The British Education Technology and Training Show, or BETT for short. I have been invited by Google to join them on their stand on Thursday, so I am going to do what I originally set out to do when I first started blogging – let you guys know about Google Apps, how you can use them, and my feel that the internet is a great device for use in schools, and that the authorities are too worried about minor things such a viruses, which is why they filter any website containing a picture the wrong side of a stick man.
I know, it’s a lot to fit into one blog. Still, here goes.
Today, in Maths, we uploaded (or should I say, tried to upload), some of our previously completed revision material for our Unit 1 Maths external GCSE exam. My school’s Virtual Learning Environment crashed 3 times in that one-hour period. It is a fantastic scenario to prove that Google Docs is the bast way to encourage, not only more efficiency in the uploading stuff, but also it encourages more group/pair work in the classroom. Even on its back doorstep, you can feel many times in ICT (speaking as a student taking the subject for GCSE) a bit lonely. It doesn’t matter what kind of task you may be doing; whether it be planning for a drama storyline, working on a History project, or simply doing an extra-curricular task.
I’m telling you this for free, so pay attention. When hard drives disappear from computers in the next 5 years, Google Docs will be the main force behind all document editing and collaboration. It will be so exciting for pupils doing a computer task, being told to work in pairs, but having to use separate computers. Instead of one person doing all the research, one doing all the flashy presentation effects, Google Docs will allow you to work on the same document at the same time, so everyone can contribute to all aspects of the task.
(Wouldn’t it have been better if we just uploaded all our stuff onto Google Docs, and shared it with the whole class? With our school’s VLE, you have to click on one thing, then another, then another to get to where you want to. On Google Docs, it’s just there.)
If I had to suggest one hint of improvement, is that you can make folders for all your documents to be manually organised into. This allows you the best of both worlds, because while you’re and you’ll still be used to organising files on Windows Explorer, but you’ll still be exposed to the new ideas and concepts of Google Docs.
That’s my review, up to you to make a decision. See you at BETT 2012!!!