Teacher Blogger | By Lori
The Google for Education (GSuite) website claims it has the potential to make learning accessible for all and research has begun to evaluate its efficacy. Astute educators rely on research to inform their practice and then further evaluate whether or not assistive technologies truly have the ability to transform student learning or if they are simply a reflection of oligarchic infiltration of educational institutions. While educational stakeholders recognize the value of quantitative research in supporting pedagogic decision-making, strong qualitative lived research is more valuable in informing the design of educational experiences, which remains a critical consideration in the authenticity of inclusive education practices. According to Perelmutter, McGregor & Gordon (2017), “if Assistive Technology helps learning purely in a numerical sense, but is uncomfortable or socially stigmatizing to use, then advocating for it might cause more harm than good” (p. 2).
With little success and much frustration using past assistive technologies, it seemed as if Google’s intelligent web-based apps, extensions and add-ons would miraculously transform student learning experiences with the click of a mouse. While every teacher at my school received a short Professional Learning workshop in Google for Education, I was one of the lucky three educators on our staff of thirty-five who was further trained in implementing Google for Education as an assistive technology for students with exceptionalities. This training would serve me well and would have also benefited dozens of other educators on staff who could not receive the training due to logistical, budgetary and policy constraints.
Friend or Foe
Specialized training made me extremely eager to implement GSuite after I was gifted the opportunity to work one-on-one with an amazing student who attended school for partial day programming, but with whom I had already connected given our shared enthusiasm for maker education and various digital technologies. The process was unhurried and I was patient because I knew that I needed and wanted to really know my student and build a trusting relationship in order to get them to continue coming into the building every day, which was a major challenge and the most important goal decided upon by our Special Services Team. Continue reading “Gauging Googles’ Gains: A K-6 Educators Perspective”