Depending on where you live, the leaves have probably started to change color and fall from their trees and your school year is way past being in fullswing. We've had a little bit of a break here at Google for Educators (
) but we are excited to reach out with some exciting new projects and an exciting new partner to help inject your lessons with the collaborative spirit - just in time for the holidays!
Do you find that your students work harder if their work is transparent to each other? If they can all see what one another is working on and show off just a teeny bit? We've heard that this is a trend from many of you, and we've also heard that kids respond to assignments that seem fun - who woulda thunk it? Google for Educators has buddied up with the good folks from the Weekly Reader to bring you a lesson on Revision Writing - With a Buddy (
). The talented writers at Weekly Reader
have worked with teachers all over the country to come up with tips and
checklists for incorporating buddy writing in the classroom. And Google Docs allows your students to
create their first drafts, brainstorm with and inspire their peers, all
while keeping track of each and every comma change, word replacement
and new stroke of genius along the way.
We'd also like to share a story that inspired everyone who heard it. A couple of years back, Google's Boulder office was contacted by a number of parents. Parents who told us that their children were having great fun and success with Google SketchUp, our 3D modeling software. What makes this story special, you may ask? The children using the tool were on the autism spectrum. Since stumbling across this bit of
information, we have worked with parents, educators and kids to learn
how SketchUp plays to the visual and spatial strengths often possessed
by those on the autism spectrum. Thanks to the combined efforts of families,
schools, our local autism society, the University of Colorado and a
dedicated team of Googlers, we are proud to launch Project Spectrum.
With Project Spectrum, we want to "open the door into
minds full of pictures." Visit (www.google.com/educators/spectrum.html
) to check out a video about these kids and download the Project Spectrum Manual of Lesson Plans.
We know you're busy teaching and haven't got all day to keep your head in email, so we won't keep you much longer. But we promise you'll be hearing from us sooner than later this time. Please keep your eyes open for our next newsletter in the New Year, where we'll be telling you about our series of online module training - on Google Search, both simple and advanced - delivered by one of our very own search gurus, Dan Russell.
Product Manager, Google Education