What is Google Apps?
From the people who brought you the Google search engine, Google Apps is a suite of web 2.0 applications "for communication and collaboration" developed by Google. These tools can help you get better organized and stay in touch with colleagues, family, and friends. Some of the more popular applications from Google Apps are Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Reader. See the full list of Google Apps here. Also, Google continues to create new apps - you can explore these Google experiments at Google Labs. The Standard Edition of the Google Apps is free, but if you need more storage, there is a Premium Edition that costs $50/yr. Additionally, a free Education Edition is available for educational institutions.
- Gmail is Google's email client. Gmail provides users with much more free storage space than competing email clients, has a very good spam filter, and allows users to search their email. If you aren't sold on Gmail's features yet, read 10 Reasons to Use Gmail. Also, watch this video overview to find out how Gmail will help make you more productive. For more specific Gmail questions, check out this playlist of how-to videos from the creators of Gmail.
- Google Calendar is Google's online time-management application. Google Calendar allows users to store and share their schedules online. Read 7 Reasons to Use Google Calendar to find out more. For more specific Google Calendar questions, check out this playlist of how-to videos.
- Google Talk is Google's text and voice chat client. With Google Talk, you can instant message, do free PC-to-PC voice chat, send and receive voicemails, and transfer files to your contacts. Here's a short video introduction to Google Talk.
- Google Docs is Google's word processing application. It allows users to create, store, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms online. Take a tour of Google Docs.
- Google Sites is Google's wiki application. With Google Sites, users can create websites and group wikis. See an overview here that contains some example sites.
- Google Reader is Google's RSS feed aggregator. Users can subscribe to feeds from blogs, news sites, or any other site with an RSS feed, to stay up-to-date. Take a tour of Google Reader. Watch Getting Started with Google Reader to see how it works.
Here are some ideas for using Google Apps in the classroom:
- Change the language of any of the Google Apps to help foreign language students practice using their target language
- Create a course website with Google Sites
- Use Google Talk to facilitate interaction with scholars and native speakers
- Have students set up a Google Reader account to keep track of relevant sites
Where can I get started using Google Apps?
Google Apps Training - Take this tutorial to get acquainted with the various features of Google Apps
7 Things You Should Know About Google Apps - From the EDUCAUSE series
Google Docs in Plain English - Introduction from Common Craft
Where can I see how others are using Google Apps?
Testimonials from schools and universities - Find out how educators across the country are using Google Apps Education Edition
Google for Educators: Classroom Activities - A wealth of teaching ideas that incorporate Google Apps