How to use Google tools in Project-Based Learning

When you think about some of the key features of Project-Based Learning (PBL), what do you think of? PBL should be student-driven, with a real-world connection. It should be core to learning, include structured collaboration, and have a multifaceted assessment. Giving students a real problem to solve, getting them engaged in their work, having them work with others, and assessing their work with more than just a grade sounds a lot  like how many things in the ‘real world’ work, doesn’t it? After all, aren’t we trying to prepare students for the world after school?

Many of the tech tools used in classrooms are made especially for classrooms. This is a great thing in many ways, but if you can integrate tools that students will also encounter in the real world, that should be considered a bonus, too. So why not dig deep into your awesome Google Toolbox and build your project based learning tasks to use these tools? On top of being things your students will likely use once they’re out of school, they’re free, they integrate seamlessly with one another, and you likely already use at least some of them. If you think this is a smart idea, but aren’t sure where and how you can implement some of the tools, take a gander at our handy graphic below. And as always, if you have awesome ideas you think we should include, give us a holler! Drop us a line in the comments below,mention @DailyGenius on Twitter, or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and say hello there!

Google tools and project based learning

Planning:

Where do you start when deciding on a project your students will spend significant time on, have some say in, that will address a number of learning goals and be meaningful and relevant? Start with what most people know Google for: Search. Whether you’re exploring current events, looking back on history, or seeing what’s popular around the globe, you’ll be able to find it with Google.

Inquiry:

Once you’ve decided what the students will be focusing on, they’ll need more information on the topic. Google’s general search is a great place to start, but there are a number of other more specific tools that can help them both become better searchers and narrow down their searches a bit.

Connecting and Collaborating: 

As a part of their work, students will likely need to connect with others – with collaborators in the classroom and with folks around the globe that can help them learn about what they need to know.

Student Voice:

An integral part of PBL is students having a voice in their work. When you need to get feedback from your students, put Google Forms to work for you. You can pose specific questions and pool the answers. Alternatively, creating a Site for your class can allow for a collaborative online space. A discussion forum using Groups can keep everyone in the loop and give everyone a voice.

Sharing, Presenting, Feedback, and Assessment:

PBL encourages sharing work and getting feedback that is more meaningful than just a grade. Students will be sharing their work with more than just the teacher or the rest of their class. They can build websites, create photos, videos, maps or multimedia presentations. With many of these tools, the ‘showing’ doesn’t need to be static. The documents and products can continually evolve along with the project over time.

Google Tools and PBL (Conflict Copy) (1)

Written by Katie Dunn

Explorer, eternal learner, animal lover. Perpetually drawn to the ocean. Adventure ready. Suffers from wanderlust. Likes chasing things down the sink with the little sprayer thingy.

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