Google Apps are quickly becoming the biggest competitors to Microsoft’s suite of office programs.
In general, there are three Google Apps that require curricula:
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
- Google Forms
We’ve already discussed how you can teach Google Apps in a technology curriculum. We’ve also covered our module on Google Apps fundamentals.
At AES, we've designed customizable Google App lesson plans ready to go in Business&ITCenter21.
That means whether you want to teach Google Apps in middle school, high school, or a CTE classroom, you can do it with Business&ITCenter21!
On this page, we’ll talk about what a good Google Apps curriculum requires, what you can do to make your own, and how Business&ITCenter21 can help.
We’ll start with Google Docs.
1. Google Docs Curriculum
Google Docs is Google’s in-browser word processor. It’s laid out like Microsoft Word, but it has different features and functions since it’s used in a web browser.
In a Google Docs curriculum, it’s important to emphasize:
You can do this with two simple steps.
The best way to introduce students is to give them a tour — just like you would with another word processor.
That could mean anything from turning your students loose on Google Docs individually or walking them through a presentation.
Either way, you get your students acquainted with the product.
Business&ITCenter21 streamlines this process with a hand-crafted introduction. It also comes with PowerPoint presentations if you prefer to direct your students instead of setting them off on their own.
Throughout the lesson, students work interactively with Google Docs to keep them engaged.
After all, Google Docs is a computer program. The best part for students is getting their hands on it!
After that, students experiment with fonts. Fonts are one of the most fun parts of Google Docs because it allows students to express their creativity in what they write.
Every student will find fonts they like and others they don’t.
Either way, they’re learning the program and having fun as they do it.
Finally, students take a quiz that you can customize specifically for their needs — even if you want to add your own questions!
By the end of the lesson, students can navigate Google Docs and create a basic document.
That’s when the next step comes into play.
The next Google Docs lessons build on the previous.
With the basics down, it’s time for students to learn how to format documents for different needs.
Google Docs has most of the functionality of Microsoft Word. That means paragraphs, typefaces, lists, images, and even hyperlinks are all options, depending on what’s appropriate for a document.
It’s important to run students through these options because these are the most common functions students will use when creating a document.
Everything from changing fonts to manipulating images is fair game, even if they don’t think they’ll use that skill in the future.
With that in mind, Business&ITCenter21 hits all of those major points (and then some) with its Google Apps curriculum.
The Google Docs module comes with a lesson based around students creating an invitation.
That requires them to change headings, add images, and incorporate design elements all at the same time.
That means this simple task covers everything that a student learned in the introductory step, plus some extras that expand their skillset.
Just like the previous lessons, Business&ITCenter21 comes with developed projects that you can alter to fit your needs. That includes quizzes!
All in all, that means Business&ITCenter21 prepares your students for virtually everything they need to know in Google Docs.
Plus, because Google Docs is so similar to Microsoft Word, many of your students’ skills will transfer from one app to the other.
But the best part?
Google Docs is just the beginning!
2. Google Sheets Curriculum
Google Sheets is Google’s in-browser spreadsheet creator and manager. It’s similar to Microsoft Excel, and it’s helpful for everything from manually tracking data to automatically pulling coded information from websites.
In a Google Sheets curriculum, it’s important to emphasize:
- Data tracking
In that respect, Google Sheets can do pretty much anything.
But that’d be too much for students to take in all at once.
Instead, it’s better to introduce students to common spreadsheet functions and uses.
This keeps lessons cleaner, simpler, and more engaging. If some students find it too easy, then they may be candidates for learning Google Sheets’ upper-level functionality.
But the lion’s share of students will do just fine with the program’s basics — tracking inventory, crunching numbers, and the like.
Just like with Google Docs, a Google Sheets curriculum is comprised of two general steps.
Students learn Google Sheets best through guided instruction. This is because a Google Sheets curriculum can include an incredible amount of content that requires different degrees of expertise.
So while it’s crucial for students to get hands-on experience at first, it’s equally important that you actively guide their education.
Business&ITCenter21 does this by showing students how to work with cells, rows, columns, and formulas.
It even covers cell references so students can use complex functions (like pivot tables) later.
All of this is paired with instructional materials that you can use to keep your students on track.
That turns your classroom into a blended learning environment, which is statistically proven to yield better results for students than traditional classrooms.
In a nutshell, you can introduce concepts to your students and tell them the theory behind those concepts.
Then, they launch into independent, interactive work on their computers.
The result is a change in gears that keeps students engaged and motivates them to work.
This idea of blended learning is a major theme in Business&ITCenter21, but it’s especially prevalent in our Google Sheets curriculum.
Google Sheets is such a complex program that it requires something more than regular teaching.
That’s equally true for the next step in the learning process.
Google Sheets lessons work best when you give your students a scenario that they have to think through, step by step.
This forces them to figure out how their previous lesson applies to real-life scenarios, just like they’d find in a workplace.
Entering the data, formatting the cells, organizing the columns — all of these are important to creating an organized spreadsheet.
Business&ITCenter21 prompts students to play the role of a clerk tracking overdue library books. This scenario may be a little dated, but its principles are universal.
This form of inventory-tracking and price-booking is one of the original purposes of a spreadsheet.
There’s no easier way to keep an accurate record of multiple items, their whereabouts, and their costs.
Whether one of your students actually works at a library or becomes the CEO of their own ecommerce company, this is an essential skill for any employee in today’s workplace.
But a Google Sheets curriculum deals more with the inner workings of a business.
What if someone needs to present that data in a concise and engaging format?
3. Google Slides Curriculum
Google Slides is Google’s in-browser presentation program that integrates with other Google products.
It’s most closely related to Microsoft PowerPoint, which almost exclusively operates offline.
In a Google Slides curriculum, it’s important to emphasize:
Guided instruction helps with Google Slides, but it’s not quite as important as with Google Sheets. This is because Google Slides has a much more focused design, which reduces its versatility.
Still, it’s an excellent presentation aid for any student.
Just like with Google Docs and Google Sheets, you can use a two-step process to educate your students about Google Slides.
Introducing Google Slides to your students is a little easier than the previous two applications.
With Slides, you can actually make a Google Slides presentation about Google Slides.
This lets you illustrate points as you bring them up, allowing your students to get the theory and see an example at the same time.
This goes for both Google Slides as software and presentations as a concept.
Business&ITCenter21 covers this with PowerPoints, lesson transcripts, and a vault of ideas you can use to show different parts of Google Slides.
Just like the last two Google products, our proprietary materials for Google Slides are 100% optional. They’re intended to support you and help you save time — not take over your classroom.
These lessons cover simple functions like using templates, applying themes, changing layouts, inserting new slides, and more.
This supplemental information is ideal for any time you want to teach presentation skills. The two topics dovetail perfectly, which also engages your students better than discussing one topic alone.
Plus, when it comes time for students to actually use Google Slides, you’re incorporating blended learning into your classroom — just like with Google Sheets.
But this is only the beginning.
Implementing Google Slides can be much more interactive and fun than Docs or Sheets.
By creating a presentation with built-in game capabilities — like Jeopardy or memory — you can engage an entire class in the learning process.
Creating interactive step-by-step lessons with goals is another great way to keep students learning. Google Slides is a robust program, and if you want students to take full advantage of it, it’s helpful if they can follow a step-by-step guide.
Business&ITCenter21 comes with games and photo albums that you can use to keep students engaged.
Coupled with quizzes and hands-on instruction, these games and albums are a great way to help students retain information in the long run.
Plus, they come with interactive lessons, just like Google Docs and Google Sheets. This lets students uncover new parts of Google Slides all on their own, giving them a sense of discovery and responsibility.
4. Google Forms
Google Forms is Google's proprietary survey tool. It's designed to gather information and then organize it either within Google Forms or integrating with Google Sheets.
The primary purpose of Forms is to make it easy to get information from one person to another. This most often takes the form of multiple-choice or short-answer surveys, but that's just one use.
Other uses include short quizzes, preference scales, scheduling, file sharing, and more.
Still, no matter how you plan to use Google Forms, the questions need to be crisp, clear, and concise. It's also important for students to figure out which questions they should ask — and which style of question they should use — to get the best possible response.
Google Forms also gives students the chance to test a form before sending it to anyone they want, all from the same screen.
The last step to using Google Forms is analyzing the data that students receive.
With all of that in mind, it's important to emphasize the following qualities with Google Forms:
Thankfully, you can do this with the same two step process as the other Google applications on this list.
The best way to start a unit on Google Forms is to show students what the application looks like.
You can start with a blank form or a pre-made one. Either option only takes a few clicks to open in the Google Forms interface, which makes it a snap to look at examples.
With that done, you're in a prime position to hand off the bulk of learning to a digital curriculum.
Business&ITCenter21 introduces students to Google Forms by walking them through a brief tour.
This tour then leads into students creating their own questions and eventually splitting a form into "segments."
Toward the end of their introduction, students even get a chance to design their Google Form however they'd like!
After the introduction, it's time for students to get into the details of Google Forms.
You can demonstrate the utility of Google Forms with a simple step-by-step process that lets students make their own surveys, quizzes, and more.
Then, you can cap it all off by having them test and distribute the completed form with a few of their classmates!
This kind of lesson is great because it lets students flex their creative muscles a little bit more than the other Google Applications on this list. Students can come up with questions about anything they want, send them to a friend, and get the answers back in real-time.
Business&ITCenter21 does this by having students specifically create a quiz.
Then, students distribute it to whomever they'd like before analyzing the responses they got from the recipients.
Whether they want to analyze it based on right-wrong, statistical feedback, or any other method is up to them.
At the end of this lesson, all of your students will take a quick quiz to help them remember what they learned in Google Forms.
Bonus: Google Collaboration
You may have noticed that our bullets on Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Forms all have one point in common.
This is because there’s one consistent element in all Google Apps products that deserves special attention.
All Google Apps products empower users with quick and easy collaboration options.
This is the key point that makes Google Apps so much more accessible than Microsoft Office.
Multiple users can work on the same document at the same time, and it’ll update right before their eyes.
Users can comment in real-time, and the recipient will get an email notification so they can address it.
If someone has a question, someone else can answer.
If someone has a problem, someone can offer a solution.
Plus, Google Apps are all available on smartphones. So if someone needs help with a project on the go, they can ask and answer questions right from their phones.
This is why Google Apps is getting so much more attention than Microsoft Office.
It’s more robust. It’s more accessible. It’s more affordable.
It’s more collaborative.
Business&ITCenter21 walks students through collaboration at basic and team levels.
The basic level introduces students to concepts and team lets them interact with one another.
This “scaffolding” model of education lets students learn what they need and then add to it in increasing levels of complexity.
It’s one of the most effective ways to learn, especially when it comes to long-term memory.
Once a student masters collaboration, they’ll be able to utilize any Google App to its fullest extent.
And best of all, all basic Google Apps are totally free for individuals!
The AES Approach to Google Apps: The 4 Phases of Learning
You’ve probably noticed that Business&ITCenter21 uses the same systems to educate students on Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Collaboration.
This is intentional.
We use the four phases of learning in all of our curriculum products so students retain as much information as they can — even after your class is over.
The four phases of learning are:
- Learn & practice
Explore introduces students to a concept and lets them find what they like about it.
Learn & practice lets students implement theory and application to create a product.
Reflect emphasizes review so students can brush up on ideas they may have forgotten.
Reinforce tests student knowledge to ensure information stays in their long-term memories.
We’ve been using this system for more than 30 years, and it’s had exceptional results.
Our business teachers tell us 100% of their students pass MOS exams. They save hours and hours every week. They bridge the gap between the classroom and workplace.
In a nutshell, their students succeed.
Our goal is to make your life easier as a teacher.
That includes helping your students succeed as much as possible.
After all, when you can do your job more easily, the benefits go right to your students.
Start Teaching Google Apps Today!
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