We’re a team that loves using Google Apps and so do our users. Thousands of people on the Chalkup platform are operating in schools that use Google Apps for Education (GAFE) every day.
(Super fun and nerdy Chalkup fact: over 500,000 files have been shared in Chalkup via Google Drive! How cool is that??)
We recently wrote an e-book to help GAFE-using schools select edtech that compliments the GAFE suite. In researching and writing we noticed one big thing, which we didn’t share in our e-book, that Google gets right about building tools for education. Thought it would make for a nifty blog conversation.
It occurred to us that the GAFE suite of tools combine simplicity with connection. I mean, yes, you probably know that. But let’s take a sec to highlight why that is actually something special.
When it comes to building education tools, we’ve found that few products put a real emphasis on building platforms that are intuitive. It’s something that means a lot to us, which we’ve not seen much of elsewhere. (Clarification: we’ve seen platforms that claim to value easy-to-use tech, but their user interface says otherwise.)
But what’s special here is the way GAFE is able to layer collaboration on top of simplicity.
Google Docs are easily edited by several people in a class. Information is so easily shared. Commenting features just beg for teamwork. These two factors - simplicity and collaboration - are a real one-two punch in edtech tools. Putting something in classrooms that everyone can use (drastically cutting training/onboarding time) and then using those tools to spark engagement (another huge tenant of learning for us) is kind of the holy grail as far as edtech products go.
To curate an innovative, collaborative, and engaging experience for students, we must build out the GAFE suite with other, more personalized tools that create opportunities that match the goals you’ve set for your students.
That’s why we view GAFE tools as a foundation. A simple, collaborative base for teachers to personalize on top of in classrooms. Because to truly curate an innovative, collaborative, and engaging experience for modern students, we need to build out the GAFE experience with other, more personalized tools that create the opportunities in classrooms that match the goals you’ve set for your students.
For us, that’s always meant crafting a platform that connects classrooms and builds stronger, smarter workflows for students and teachers.
It means using the brilliance of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides and allowing educators to use those tools for awesome assignments and then grade everything with a sharable rubric. It means building something that handles document-sharing permissions on behalf of students so it’s so much easier for students to collaborate on class projects.
It means keeping it simple and collaborative, but sprinkling in extra edtech goodies that make the GAFE workflow that much more powerful and awesome.