It’s no secret that we live in the Information Age. As the digital ecosystem we’ve become familiar with evolves, it’s important that both parents and children keep up with trending technology.
In recent years, innovation from Google has sparked a number of new products and services that have and will continue to transform the education space. As a recent college graduate who utilizes many of Google’s cloud-based services, I know firsthand the importance of integrating technology into student life.
My 14-year old sister is a freshman in high school and I’m working with her to ensure she has all the tools she needs to be both organized and successful in the years to come.
For many, the wide range of platforms offered by Google can be both perplexing and overwhelming. Fortunately, Google has a team of top-notch User Experience & Design professionals who work to ensure the learning curve is minimized for the intended user.
Some products by Google that will be beneficial include Gmail, Google Documents, Google Calendar and GChat. Here is a brief overview of each service and how they can help your student complete tasks more efficiently and get better grades.
Opening a Gmail account and using it as your primary email account has many benefits. You will have a fully integrated mail and calendar platform as well as access to premium Google products at no additional fee.
Google documents comes standard (free) with every Gmail account giving you the ability to create word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and drawings via the cloud. All files are stored remotely and accessible 24/7 over the internet.
Not only can you create, edit and save these documents, but you can share them with others who have Gmail and give them the ability to view and edit the documents in real-time. This platform works incredibly well for students participating in group projects. As a parent, you have the ability to easily review and edit your child’s work without having to open your email, download the attachment, make revisions and finally attach it to an outbound email.
- Access your documents instantly anywhere with internet
- Available for many file types
- Variety of information to share
- Intuitive, streamlined communication
- Collaboration tool
- Google-grade security
- It’s free!
In an increasingly fast-paced world, staying organized is more important than ever before. Google calendar not only gives the user the ability to manage their calendar, but easily integrates with both their Gmail account and Smartphone devices in order to form a more streamlined process and communication cycle.
By learning to customize your calendar settings, you have the ability to receive both email alerts and text messages as reminder prior to events. Taking advantage of the Google calendar is an easy way for students to ensure they don’t miss out on tutoring sessions, study groups or school events.
- Access anywhere
- Share calendars
- It’s free!
Gchat / Video Call
While most of us are familiar with Facebook chat, Skype, FaceTime and other methods of virtual communication, Google has effectively integrated both online text and video chat into the Gmail platform. Under one roof, users have the ability to chat with their peer’s online as well as video chat.
Previously, video chat was limited to two people, but Google completely changed the game when it introduced the notion of “Hangouts” through Google + (Google’s Social Network).
At present, groups of up to ten people can video conference all at the same time. Virtual study groups can now be more quickly organized and have a higher participation rate due to the added flexibility of being able to participate from anywhere with an internet-enabled device.
Students in the 21st century who take full advantage of resources like Google will become increasingly organized and more effective communicators; don’t let your kids fall behind the curve. Because only those with Gmail accounts can utilize the tools I’ve outlined above, students without Gmail will quickly find themselves incommunicado.
Daniel Black graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2011 and serves as an education outreach advisor for ClassesandCareers.com