The transition to online teaching was daunting to many, but schools got by and lessons continued. While there’s ongoing inconsistency over the format of education in the UK, we thought it would be useful to compile a list of some handy tips for those teachers who use G Suite. These tips are just as useful for in-classroom teaching as online.
Let’s make teaching with technology simpler for all.
1. Use Google Meet with Low Bandwidth
Google Meet is the video-communication service from G Suite. It allows teachers to virtually deliver their lessons. A common problem is when students (or the teacher themselves) are suffering from slow internet speeds. In a household with basic broadband where two parents are on video conferences and three kids are in online classes this isn’t unlikely.
A G Suite admin has the ability to set the default video quality in the Admin console. If it’s more important to have everyone involved than to have everyone in high definition, lower that quality setting.
Alternatively, although normally a premium feature, you could record your lessons in advance and share them with students, or ask students to be on audio only for the duration.
Google’s Teach from anywhere resource site has some excellent tutorials to help keep education moving forwards.
2. Learn without a Connection
It is possible to use a limited version of G Suite without internet access. A G Suite administrator would need to setup offline access for everyone. There are some steps that would have to be carried out while still connected in advance for this feature to work correctly.
Any work that’s been done while offline would then be uploaded as soon as a connection is re-established. This brief article from Google sets out the required steps for offline access.
3. Q&A in Google Slides
Teaching remotely simply doesn’t have as much engagement as teaching in a classroom, but Google Slides can help a little. By using Google Slides to create a presentation, and then sharing this with your students, you can switch on the Q&A feature to enable them to submit their own questions as you’re going along.
4. Minimise Cheating in Google Form Assessments
In reality, you have no supervision over what your students are up to when they’re out of sight. To prevent quizzes and tests in Google Forms from becoming meaningless, there are a few tricks you can use.
- Shuffle the answer (or question) order to randomise the quiz
- Add sections within the form which can’t be previewed until the previous section has been answered
- Use page breaks to make alternative quiz routes – so every student doesn’t answer the exact same assessment and can’t share answers
- Ask different types of more challenging questions, rather than purely multiple choice, such as: sequence questions, matching questions, reading passages, image questions, free response questions
- Lock your quiz – Locked mode prevents students from accessing external resources during the quiz. Their tabs, extensions, chrome apps, and screenshot functions will be disabled.
5. Google Meet Controls
For safeguarding purposes it’s very important to control what policies and settings you have in place when live streaming lessons. Recent initiatives from Google include:
- Only meeting creators and calendar owners can mute or remove other participants
- Participants will not be able to re-join a Meet once the final participant has left (the teacher should always leave last)
To set up a safe and secure Meet, take a look at this brief guide from Google. Also have a read of our article on ‘Ten Safeguarding Considerations when Live Streaming Lessons’.
Explore the tools at your disposal
Google have a wealth of resources for Education, outside of G Suite itself. A few worth a mention are:
- Google Scholar: Mostly for working with older students. This is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines.
- Google Maps: Create and annotate whole maps – bring journeys and places to life to reinforce learning.
- Google Arts and Culture: This online platform features content from over 2000 leading museums and archives around the world.
Educational establishments in the UK are offered free access to G Suite, the digital learning platform from Google. If you’re already set up on G Suite and would like to explore some in depth teacher training around this we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have – plus we can put you in touch with reference schools who are confidently using these tools. On the other hand, if you’re not currently a Google school but would like to find out more, let’s arrange a chat.