Google Apps for Your Classroom

Google Apps: Search, Learn, Share!
*Session Handout


  • Explore a variety of Google tools for the classroom.
  • Select one or more that can be used in your classroom immediately.

FIRST DO NOW: Create a Google Account

  1. Go to If you already have an account, go to
  2. Click on "Create an Account".
  3. Complete the new account page.
  4. Go back to the Google Accounts or page and sign in.

Google Docs

SECOND DO NOW: Create a Google Form

  1. Sign into Google. When you are signed in, click on the more menu link on the upper left hand side.
  2. From the drop-down menu, choose Documents.
  3. From the Create new button drop-down, choose Form.
  4. Choose a Theme for your form and apply it. Then go back to editing the form.
  5. Enter the information for your first item.
  6. Click the +Add item button to add another item to your form.
  7. Enter all of the items you want.
  8. When you are finished, click the Save button.
  9. To test your form, use the URL at the bottom of your form. Copy it and paste into a browser window. Fill out your form and click the submit button.
  10. Then check your Google Docs account and look at the spreadsheet that contains the results of your form.

Google Earth

Google Groups

  • What is it?
    • Google Groups is a free, online service that helps groups of people easily share information and communicate effectively. Starting in January 2011 Google Groups will focus on mailing lists and forum discussions.
  • Why use it?
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Set up a parent-child book club
    • Create an online study group
    • Hold online discussion to enhance class time


  • What is it?*Video: iGoogle Mini Tour
    • iGoogle is a personalized home page that gives teachers and students at-a-glance access to key information from Google and across the web.
  • Why use it?
    • Students can use iGoogle to:
      • Stay informed with breaking news and current events.
      • Add gadgets such as class calendars, to-do lists, encyclopedias, and dictionaries that will help them organize and complete their schoolwork.
      • Create customized tabs for assignments, activities, or personal interests.
    • Teachers can use iGoogle to:
      • Keep up-to-date with blogs for their own professional development.
      • Add gadgets for planning and organizing the instructional day.
      • Develop a custom tab for access to their online professional learning network.
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Add gadgets that bring in election new, maps, polls, etc. during election time.
    • Add gadgets that show geo-physical changes, like earthquakes.
    • Add gadgets for "word-of-the-day", dictionary, class calendar, thesaurus, calculator, etc.

THIRD DO NOW: Set Up Your iGoogle Page

  1. Go to or Sign in if you are not signed in already and click iGoogle in top right.
  2. Personalize your iGoogle page.
    1. Choose a Theme.
    2. Add Gadgets by clicking the Add Stuff link on the right.
  3. Set iGoogle as your default home page.
    1. Open your browser's preferences (Firefox -> Tools -> Options-> General tab) and where it says Home Page, click "Use Current Page".


  • What is it?
    • Knoll is a service that makes it easy for anyone to write and share knowledge with the world. A knol is a unit of knowledge.
  • Why use it? *Video: How to Create a Knol
    • Students can use Knol to:
      • Conduct research in which they can verify the
        authority of information they find.
      • Publish a finished paper or project about a topic
        they’ve researched.
      • Collaborate with other students as fellow authors to improve the accuracy and richness of their knols.
    • Teachers can use Knol to:
      • Teach information literacy and how to evaluate the
        reliability of a source.
      • Publish lesson plans for colleagues around the world.
      • Provide a one stop, easy to use document covering school rules and expectations.
  • Instructional Ideas

Google Maps

  • What is it?*Video: Google Maps - An Introduction
    • Google Maps is an intuitive service for navigating global maps information. It enables you and your students to look up and study addresses anywhere in the U.S. and in many other countries and get point-to-point, draggable directions plotted on an interactive street map.
  • Why use it? *Video: How to Create a MyMap in Google Maps
    • Students can use Google Maps to:
      • Keep track of class pen pals.
      • Take virtual tours of countries where a language they are studying is spoken. (Include planning for local transportation, site-seeing, dining and hotel reservations!).
      • Learn about animal and plant life by embedding information in maps of different habitats.
    • Teachers can use Google Maps to:
      • Plan a field trip with students.
      • Create a map of the school or school events for parents.
      • Teach history by embedding primary documents into interactive maps for students to explore.
  • Instructional Ideas

FOURTH Do Now: Create a My Map in Google Maps

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the My Maps link.
  3. Click on the Create new map link.
  4. Create a map showing the route you take from your house to your school.
    1. Give your map a title by typing in the Title text box.
    2. You can give your map a description.
    3. Choose whether you want it Public or Unlisted.
    4. Use the tools at the top left of the map to mark your beginning and ending points.
    5. Draw the route in between.
    6. Play with changing the place marks by clicking on them and clicking the icon in the upper right of the dialog box. You can also add a description.
    7. Check your map out in Google Earth! Click on the icon or link "View in Google Earth" in the upper right of your map. A KML file will be created that you can use to look at your custom map in Google Earth.

Google News

  • What is it? *Video: About Google News Updates
    • Google News brings together news from thousands of different sources from around the world and makes them available in a single place.
  • Why Use it?
    • Students can use Google News to:
      • Compare and contrast current events from a variety of sources.
      • Find primary documents related to historical events over the past 200 years.
      • Access the news from their mobile phones – no computer lab required.
    • Teachers can use Google News to:
      • Personalize their news page to stay informed on topics they teach.
      • Search the news for stories relevant to a particular day’s lesson.
      • Model for students how to examine bias and reliability in the news.
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Create a "The World This Week" photo poster.
    • Students compare and contrast articles on a single event from different sources - nationally and/or internationally.
    • Provide foreign language reading and translating material from authentic sources.


  • What is it? *Video: Introducing Picasa 3
    • Picasa is a free application that helps you instantly organize, edit and share all the pictures on your PC or Mac.
  • Why use it?
    • Anything you can do in iPhoto, you can do in Picasa.
    • Picasa is free for both Mac and Windows.
    • Many students are visual learners.
    • Students can use Picasa to:
      • Organize and manage photos for projects and reports.
      • Quickly edit photos and other images.
      • Share photos of school events with friends and family.
    • Teachers can use Picasa to:
      • Create an album for each student.
      • Quickly create a slideshow for open house.
      • Share field trip photos online for parents.
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Take pictures of student work, presentations, or field trips throughout the year and quickly turn them into a slideshow that you can play at open house or during parent conferences.
    • Students can create a historical photo album by taking pictures of themselves in historical costumes and settings.
    • Journalism students can keep all photos for each edition of their newspaper or magazine in one location on their classroom PC, adding descriptions and captions that make them easy to find, re-use, and share.

Google Reader

  • What is it?*Video: Google Reader in Plain English
    • Google Reader allows you to choose to receive updates from particular blogs, news sites or other web pages. Google Reader constantly checks these sites for new content and then brings updates to a single location to be read, sorted and shared, complete with annotations.
  • Why use it?
    • Students can use Google Reader to:
      • Keep updated on current events and news that they care about.
      • Collect, annotate, and share research for collaborative projects.
      • Read items that are shared by their teacher to help with current assignments.
    • Teachers can use Google Reader to:
      • Keep track of student blogs all in one place.
      • Follow best practices in education by reading other educator’s blogs.
      • Share relevant news articles with students or colleagues through the ‘Shared Items’ feature. (Shared items can even be annotated with notes!)
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Subscribe to other blogs to see what students around the world are creating on the web, and then share the best posts with their own students.
    • Share news and current events on specific areas of interest and units of study.
    • Older students may have their own Google Reader account for conducting research.
    • Google Reader - Integrating Google Tools 4 Teachers

Google Search

  • What is it?
  • Why use it? *Video: Google Web Search Strategies in Plain English
    • Students can use Google Search to:
      • Research class topics.
      • Find pages similar to ones that are relevant to their school work. Simply click “similar pages” below a successful search result.
      • Search for images to use in multimedia projects.
      • Search the web right from their mobile phones.
    • Teachers can use Google Search to:
      • Translate web pages for English Language Learners.
      • Search for instructional materials in specific file formats including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF.
      • Use Google’s “Safe Search” settings to restrict the search results on student computers. On the Google homepage, just click the small “Preferences” link next to the search bar.
  • Instructional Ideas

Google Sites

  • What is it? *Video: Introduction to Google Sites
    • Google Sites is a tool that allows students and teachers to create custom web pages, adding content, attachments, and embedded media from many other services, including Picasa Web Albums, YouTube video and Google Docs.
  • Why use it? *Video: Google Sites Tour
    • Students can use Google Sites to:
      • Manage a to do list for their assignments and activities.
      • Create a personal portfolio of their work.
      • Collaborate and share ideas with other students for group work and peer tutoring.
    • Teachers can use Google Sites to:
      • Create a class web page, including handouts and tutorial videos.
      • Collaborate with other teachers on department or school-wide projects.
      • Manage a international project that connects teachers and students around the world. Ask students to create pages about subjects they are interested in.
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Example: Mrs. Richau's English Class
    • Example: School Ski Club
    • Politics Civics Literacy
    • Create a public website for posting announcements, a calendar of events, reading and spelling lists, weekly themes, fun stuff and more.
    • Create a private site to share information with parents, like curriculum resources.
    • Even More Ideas
    • Note: Students must be 13 or older to have a Google Account to add content to Google Sites or to view private sites.


  • What is it? *Video: Create Cool Stuff with Google SketchUp
    • Google SketchUp is a drawing and 3-D model building software application that is free.
  • Why use it? *Video: Getting Started with Google SketchUp
    • Students can use SketchUp to:
      • Visualize geometry and other mathematical concepts.
      • Model buildings and learn about architectural design and engineering.
      • Design interiors, landscapes, and buildings in 3D.
      • Easily share their designs with others via the web.
    • Teachers can use SketchUp to:
      • Engage students who are more adept visual learners.
      • Introduce the world of 3-dimensional design.
      • Illustrate geometry and other mathematical concepts.
      • Help students learn to model existing real world buildings, such as local historical or school buildings, and geo-locate them in Google Earth.
  • Instructional Ideas
    • Students design and create their own castle.
    • 3D Vinci
    • Teach 2D and 3D geometry concepts in math.
    • Students design and create green living spaces.

Additional Resources

Google for Educators
More Google Products
20 Technology Skills that Every Educator Should Have