Google Apps in schools
Posted September 24, 2009on:
What do other people think of it? Chris Dawson who is far away in Massachusetts and a fan of Google Apps seemed pleased for us, but he had this concern:
With the relatively high number of homes with computers and broadband access in Singapore, one has to wonder when communication and collaboration via Apps will be encouraged among students.
I too share that concern. The technology should be placed squarely in the hands of learners and the pedagogy in the that of the teachers. (Of course, the teachers should use Google Apps too!)
Students need to explore, create and critique. Teachers need to design, implement and manage. In theory at least.
One barrier will be mindsets. Cloud computing is the return to the mainframe-terminal model of computing. Everything is stored online in the cloud. People will find it hard to let go of their standalone copies of MS Office tools sitting in their hard drives.
Cloud computing allows one to share and collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously. Instead of working in selfishly in silos, we can work more openly beyond what we currently perceive as borders. This is the future of the way our students will work, so I think that the adoption of Google Apps is one step in the right direction.
But let us deal with the mindsets, particularly that of teachers. Let us provide professional development, not just on the technologies but also on the pedagogies that facilitate learning as enabled by the technologies. Just as important: Let us in NIE, the only teacher preparation institute in the country, have Google Apps too!