The online course “Google Workshop” on Schoology.com is designed for teachers at Prince of Peace Catholic School. It is based on the available technology and the standards and expectations in a Catholic school environment, and seeks to build technology skills in adult learners that are needed to successfully merge digital content into teaching and learning. The course considers the standards provided by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) for Teachers.
Understandings, and Skills Needed
Learners taking the course “Google Tools Workshop” should be able to identify the scope of Google as an organization. and identify the products, services, and devices Google has brought to market – that affect education. They should also recognize which of these are available at Prince of Peace. Learners should be able to distinguish a traditional Google account from a Google for Education account in our school environment, and understand which Google services are available in the Google for Education environment, and can be used in the school with students. Upon completion of this course, learners should be able to foresee opportunities to use Google for Education tools in place of some existing electronic tools, with the mission of leading students to think more critically as they learn.
Before learners can succeed in this course, and ultimately integrate technology into teaching and learning, each must have a strong working knowledge of computer hardware and software currently used at school. Learners without good “computer skills” will be a deficit.
Important Course Take-aways
The most important features of the Google platform presented in this course include how to access a Google account, Google Drive, Docs, and other Google Suite tools (apps); how to use the apps themselves; and the advantages the apps bring to teaching and learning in the K-8 environment. Explicit directions are taught about using the Google Tools through video instruction, while teachers are expected to draw conclusions about their value to teaching and learning based on their professional experience, the grades they teach, knowledge of the school’s professional learning goals for faculty, education standards that include the use of technology, as well as standards that can be better achieved through the use of technology.
Assessments for this course are competency based and are derived from facts obtained from the reading materials, and video instruction, primarily. Proof of skill will come from demonstrative ability to log into and properly use the account and navigate to different Google tools. By the end of the third week, learners will have gained a level of comfort getting to and navigating through apps. Although a summarize assessment is included each week, real proof of learning will be apparent during face to face coaching sessions with each teacher in the course.
Learners’ Contributions to Success
Teachers who elect to take the course need an attitude conducive to learning new technology skills. Above all else, the learner’s perception of the value and purpose of Google in education, and his or her willingness to learn more about technology are the biggest factors they contribute to their own success.
To effectively complete the course, learners will need to satisfy several prerequisites prior to beginning: have a working knowledge of teaching, basic computer skill operations on a windows 7 operating system, mastery knowledge of Microsoft Office products (Word), familiarity with other Microsoft Office products, experience organizing and saving electronic documents, access to an existing Microsoft Word document, and an existing google for Education account. Learners will need to be comfortable using internet resources and be acquainted with self-directed learning.
Experience using the Microsoft Office suite is important to the learners’ success because it stands as the basis of many explanations and assumptions. MAC users will need a working knowledge of Microsoft Office to equate the similarities to the equivalent Apple software in the examples given.
Learners will also need to understand the purpose for learning to use the Google Suite based on expectations set by the school. They will need to understand trends in education which have led to the school’s decision to adopt Google for Education, and local, state, and national/international technology standards for teachers and students.
The amount of effort they bring to the course will also contribute to their success. Learners must attempt to follow the directions demonstrated through the video materials and record any information that needs further explanation so they can gain clarity during a face to face sessions. Learners also need to be able to repeat the steps provided in the videos, by practicing on their own.
The course is designed as a blended learning course, so learners will have one-to-one support in their classrooms as needed. Teachers will need to take advantage of the help. By repeating the skills and experimenting with using the Google Tools, learners will gain the confidence and competency to begin using the tools with lessons. The primary material for learning each new skill is contained in the associated video and will be reiterated at subsequent coaching sessions, but learners need to practice in order for the new information be become easy.
Ensuring Learning Goals are Reached
For learning to occur, the materials (in this case reading and video information) must be current to ensure the tasks explained in the materials match the features of the Google tools. Pre-instruction about using the learning management system must be conducted prior to beginning the course, (including prerequisite knowledge and skill), and the course materials must be easy to use and contain clear instructions and reasonable expectations.
The overall scope of the course should be sequential and support the learning objectives or goals, which should also be available to the learner. The course should not contain too much information or set performance expectations that cannot be met in the allotted time frame, so as to avoid causing information overload and subsequently discouraging him or her from continuing.
Also, learners must have access to the instructor in a timely fashion in order to support their immediate needs, especially in the event of time sensitive deadlines. Finally, the school most support the activities and expectations of the course and its content to ensure continuing education credits will be issued upon successfully completing the course. To ensure learners are successful using the knowledge and skill during and after the course, the school must provide sufficient time and resources to enable the learners (teachers) and the instructors (Technology Director and/or expert Google tools users among faculty) to schedule face to face time for personal instruction.
An overview of the first three weeks of the course is provided below:
Course Overview of the first 50% posted in Schoology LMS
Week 1: What is Google?
During week one learners will begin with the course instruction page which provides a path for using the materials in order. It will provide information about the expectations that teachers will also meet with the Tech Director or a skilled coworker for face to face instruction following the week’s course work.
Week one will help learners understand the scope and value of Google in education. An assessment will provide evidence that the learner had adequate understanding to continue into week two. Learners are asked to think about how the Google organization has impacted education.
Week 2: Google Accounts
Week two includes instructions for the order of course work for the week, including a presentation to help the learner distinguish between types of Google accounts which can be used in the school environment. Learners will encounter conflicts signing in on computers that are shared. The conflicts will be addressed in the face to face sessions with each teacher. The weekly assessment will identify the learners’ understanding Google accounts designed for use at school. Learners will practice the login process as homework.
Week 3: Google Drive
Week three is very important and includes a substantial amount of information learners will need to understand to use Google Drive, the epicenter of the GSuite. As with other weeks, learners will begin with the Instructions document and complete tasks in order, including an assessment. Learners will view a detailed video tutorial from which they will gain knowledge about accessing and using the app. Learners will practice the steps in the video as homework.