Google Apps have become a standard tool in most K–12 schools today. Many schools, including Platteville, Mineral Point, Boscobel, Lancaster, Darlington, Prairie du Chien, Seneca and Shullsburg, are currently using Chromebooks and Google Apps in some capacity.
On May 20, a group of local teachers attended the first meetup for the Southwest Wisconsin Google Education Group at UW–Platteville. Founded in 2014, the Google Education Group (also known as a GEG) serves as a free resource for teachers looking to become more familiar with Google Apps and network with fellow teachers. There are well over a hundred Google Education Groups world wide, but only four in Wisconsin.
Jessica Brogley, an academic staff member in the UW–Platteville School of Education, started the group to bring educators, staff, and leaders together in learning how to integrate Google Apps in transformative ways.
“After connecting with so many educators across the Midwest, I just want to bring that same experience here,” said Brogley, a Google Certified Education Trainer and Teacher.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction entered an agreement with Google in 2011 providing free access to Google Apps for Education to all state K–12 schools. Google Apps for Education features web-based tools that allow students to communicate, collaborate, and create in ways previously inconceivable.
Joining and participating in the GEG is free for anyone.
“I am so excited about being part of the Southwest Wisconsin Google Education Group,” said Laura Hartline, a 7–12 Spanish teacher from Potosi. “I look forward to growing as an educator and collaborating with other teachers who have embraced Google Apps as I have.”
The GEG inspires teachers to keep collaborating with each other, learn new tools, and understand best practices for transformative integration. Hopefully, GEG participants will share their enthusiasm. “I’m excited to take what I learn from the group back to my colleagues in my own district,” added Hartline.
“Our teachers use Google Apps in the classroom to break down the walls of traditional classrooms and allow students to connect with content and each other on a much deeper level,” said Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center principal Kris Brown. “The collaboration and creation capabilities in Google Apps is a great platform for our students to become confident 21st century learners.”
“At this point, the GEG will only function online as a Google+ community with one, small face-to-face meet-up a year,” said Brogley. “Even though this is a grassroots group, I’m really happy that teachers want to collaborate. It shows there’s a need for collaboration, specifically in Google Apps.”
Teachers interested in joining the Google Education Group can contact Brogley at jbrogleyUWP@gmail.com.