No matter what the school environment looks like for your kiddo this year, chances are they’ve become a whiz at learning with technology. From home to the classroom, many teachers are turning to Google tools to help their students learn and stay engaged. To help parents understand these constantly evolving tools, families.google has info on all of the Google tools used in classrooms, as well as some other resources that may help your kids learn at home!
Curious About Chromebooks?
Many schools have issued Chromebooks to students for distance learning. Unlike the laptop you may have at home, this one runs on the Google Chrome operating system. Since it works in the cloud, your child’s files, apps and even the computer’s desktop lives online (not stored on the device). However, files can be stored locally and many of the features can be used without Wi-Fi which really comes in handy. Learn more tips and tricks for Chromebooks on Google Families.
Teachers (and parents!) love the built-in settings, easy to use apps and security features that keep user information safe. Designed with accessibility in mind, Chromebooks help learners of all ages and abilities to experience information in a way that works best for them. There are various keyboard options—type using a touchscreen or mouse, or use handwriting or diction to enter information. Audio can be adjusted to meet a child’s preferences and closed captions can be viewed.
Stay Connected with Google Classroom
If you’re a Gmail user, then helping your child navigate a Google Classroom will be really intuitive. This free online platform allows teachers to create a virtual classroom that can be accessed from anywhere, featuring core Google products like Docs, Drive, Calendar and more. Teachers can post and review assignments, share announcements, send messages, add comments to schoolwork and set up Google hangouts for face-to-face learning via video. Assignments are automatically added to the calendar (yay for easy organization!) and your child’s work is saved on Google Drive. Since it’s all paperless, the “dog ate my homework” excuse will never fly.
Ramp up Those Reading Skills
Some educators use Read Along to help their students practice reading. You’ll definitely want to turn to this speech-based app at home (especially over the summer!) to continue to strengthen those skills. Kids read engaging, diverse stories with the help of an in-app reading pal named Diya. As they read out loud, she uses speech recognition technology to chime in for real-time assistance with pronunciation and provide positive feedback.
Feeling stumped? Socratic helps students problem solve their way through a variety of subjects, including Science, Math, Literature and Social Studies. Using text and speech recognition, the app surfaces relevant resources and visual explanations from the web to help make more sense of concepts. Socratic is a great partner for parents when kiddos ask a question we don’t have an answer to!
Guide Them to the Good Stuff
Not totally sure what your little ones are up to on those devices? Use the Family Link app to set parameters for digital usage. Use Family Link's parental controls to set screen time and app limits for your child. Receive notifications to approve or block apps your child wants to download from the Google Play Store, as well as manage in-app purchase or hide specific apps. Plus, you’ll get awesome recs for teacher-approved apps you can add to your device.
Families.Google has great tips from Common Sense Media to help you make the most of online learning with your child:
- You may be a pro at doing video calls for work, but it’s a whole different ballgame when Zoom is where your kid spends their day. Get schooled on how Zoom works as an educational tool, plus more info on the key features and safety settings.
- There are a variety of programs teachers use to manage their classroom’s online activities. Parents can download those mobile apps to keep tabs, too! Explore daily lessons posted by the teacher, review schoolwork, and read messages on your own device if your child is using: