Head back to school with Drive: Teacher Edition

Posted by guest blogger Wendy Gorton

Wendy Gorton is an education consultant for organizations around the world. She’s a former classroom teacher, Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, and is passionate about creating learner-centered environments using tools like Google Apps for Education

Follow the Drive Google+ page this and next week for daily tips and suggestions for using Drive in the classroom.

Google Drive is the all-in-one tool I wish I had my first year of teaching. It not only keeps all of your lesson plans, activities, and research organized, but it's an outstanding way to engage your students, give them feedback, and give their writing a real audience—like their peers or classrooms around the world.

Here are 3 tips to help teachers prepare for going back to school with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms

1. Use Slides to get to know your students 
A great first-week introductory activity is to create a single slide deck, and then invite each of your students to share a bit about themselves on their own personal slide. It’s a fantastic get-to-know-you activity for the first week of school and you’ll be amazed by the creativity that comes out of your students! 

The screenshot below shows how Google Student Ambassadors from 9 different countries used Slides to introduce themselves before gathering to meet each other at an event in Indonesia this summer.

Want to get this going with your students? Easy—create a new Slides deck on the first week of school, click the blue Share button to invite your students, and give them a little direction for their individual slide by adding comments.

2. Use Docs to create a classroom “Bill of Rights” 
The first week of class is that precious transition from the “honeymoon” period of angelic children to learning the norms of your classroom culture. Help start the year off right by inviting students to co-create their ideas of citizenship and a happy learning environment, Docs style.

Start by creating a copy of this template and then invite students to join in with you to add their ideas, ratify by adding a comment, and use their editing prowess to come up with a final copy to live by for the coming year.

3. Use Forms to get to know your students (and their prior knowledge!) 
Get to know your classroom as soon as possible, using Forms to gather information about their needs, interests, and abilities beforehand. Consider creating a simple Form for a survey for your students (and for your parents!) and have fun showing the data on your projector and learning about your class as a whole.

Forms can be used as a very quick getting started activity before any lesson as well—take this example from a social studies classroom before talking about population. By placing a quick Form on your classroom site or emailing your students the Form, you can quickly grasp your students' prior knowledge—before you start teaching.

In this case, our team was a bit off, but helped us not only talk about population but estimation and numbers in general (answer? 7.1 billion and counting. My favorite answer? One ‘goggle.’)
One last tip: Google Apps for Education
You know this is way easier when your school has its own Google Apps for education set up, right? It’s free, and no technical expertise is needed to get started.

I hope you give one of these ideas a try and let me know how it goes on my Google+ page.

Meet the 10 next gurus of education on YouTube

Ever since Sal Khan uploaded his first video (on Least Common Multiples) to YouTube in November 2006, the demand for educational content on YouTube has been growing and growing - to billions of views last year. Last month, we teamed up with Khan Academy to search for bright and inspiring educational content creators who have what it takes to build a global classroom - and we were overwhelmed by the response. More than 1000 creators applied, sharing videos on everything from science techniques to music theory. We whittled the group down to 10 YouTube EDU Gurus who we hope will continue to contribute to the great corpus of educational videos that make up YouTube EDU - more than 1000 channels at last count.


 Get to know our newest educational channels below! And be sure to subscribe to their channels to get their latest videos.


  Austin Lau, YouTube Creator Programs, recently watched “Sesame Street: Street Garden Cooperation”.

New features for teachers

It’s World Teachers’ Day, and to honor the hard-working and talented people in front of classrooms everywhere, we’ve put together some new resources to make YouTube even more useful for learning. (Oh, and we’re celebrating teachers in the YouTube logo today too! Check it out!).

First, we’ve created a special YouTube EDU Creator Playbook Guide (download it here), full of video best practices for online educators to learn from each other. The Guide suggests ideas for organizing curriculum videos on YouTube, attracting a bigger audience to your educational content, and explains how to use YouTube features like annotations and playlists to make educational channels more interactive.

Second, we asked James Sanders, KIPP Bay Area Innovation manager (and former YouTube teacher-in-residence), to create a presentation on 10 ways teachers can use YouTube to build a 21st century classroom. It’s full of great, proven ideas for using YouTube to bring educational topics to life. For more advice, and playlists of educational videos visit YouTube.com/Teachers.

Today we also hit a great milestone at YouTube EDU - more than 1000 educational channels to learn from. So whether you’re a teacher looking to make physics more fun, an art student looking for inspiration, or a parent needing help with algebra homework, there’s a channel on YouTube EDU for you.

If you create great educational content and are interested in having your channel added to YouTube EDU, you can nominate your channel here.

And to teachers everywhere - thank you for all you do!

Arthur Woods, YouTube EDU team, recently watched “Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation”.

Finding the next generation of talented video educators with YouTube Next EDU Guru

Across the Northern Hemisphere, students and their teachers are heading back into the classroom for another year of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. While what we learn has broadly stayed the same for years, how we learn is changing rapidly as technology advances. The rise of online educational videos is giving learners access to the world’s greatest thinkers and teachers, leveling the playing field for all.

We believe that inspiring online educators can come from all walks of life, and we want to find the next generation of educational YouTube stars - people with a talent for explaining tough concepts in compelling ways, and the passion and drive to assemble a global classroom of students. YouTube educational channels like Khan Academy, CrashCourse, Veritasium, Numberphile, MinutePhysics and Ted-Ed have grown to millions of views and subscribers - could you be next?

Today we’re teaming up with Khan Academy to start a search for the Next EDU Gurus--10 super talented and engaging content creators who we’ll support with training, promotion, and a $1000 B&H gift card for production equipment, so they can take the next step in their YouTube - and education - careers.

Do you set historical events to music? Doodle your geometry? Sing your Shakespeare? We’re looking for content creators who create all kinds of curriculum-related videos, from grammar to geography, history to histograms. You can submit any style of video as long as it’s educational and family-friendly--just bear in mind that we’re looking for content creators who can take people on a journey through a topic, so if you could imagine making ten, twenty, or fifty more videos on the topic in the future, all the better!

The 10 YouTube Next EDU Gurus will be selected by a panel from the YouTube Education team and the Khan Academy. One of these 10 will also be awarded the Khan Academy EDU Guru Prize. The program is open to creators in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand; it opens today and closes on October 1.

Our new EDU Gurus will help meet the growing demand for great educational content on YouTube. In the last year, you all spent 50% more time learning from YouTube Education’s 700,000 videos, and the number of subscribers to YouTube’s educational channels more than doubled. Check out the YouTube.com homepage today for the latest videos from some of our most engaging educational creators. You can also see a playlist of their latest and greatest below.


If you’re an educator, visit youtube.com/teachers to view more than 300 playlists curated by teachers to align with common education topics. And if you’re looking for inspiration about incorporating YouTube in your school curriculum, see how one school from Kent, WA uses YouTube to experience the world beyond the walls of their classroom.


Angela Lin, YouTube Education team, recently watched “Capitalism and Socialism: Crash Course World History #33.

From snowflakes to surfactants: meet the YouTube Space Lab regional winners

At the end of January, we invited you to choose your favorite YouTube Space Lab experiment ideas from sixty finalist teams, and today we have our winners! More than 100,000 of you cast your votes that combined with the scores from our panel of judges to decide the regional winners for the final stage of the competition. Find out who won below and you can meet them all on the Space Lab Channel.

14 - 16 year old regional winning teams
17 - 18 year old regional winning teams:
The six regional winning teams will travel to Washington, D.C., where we’ll announce the two global winners (one team from each age group). These two winners will have their experiments performed 250 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed on YouTube as part of a global event celebrating science and space. While in Washington, all the teams will take part in a series of activities to honor their achievements, including the opportunity to experience weightlessness on a ZERO-G flight.

Space Lab invited budding scientists to submit a YouTube video describing an idea for an experiment that could be carried out aboard the ISS. The channel, which serves as a launch pad for discovering great space and science videos on YouTube, has received more than 50 million views worldwide throughout the course of the competition. This week we’re uploading interviews with the winners in their hometowns, so subscribe to the channel to keep up to date with all the latest from here on Earth!

Zahaan Bharmal, YouTube Space Lab lead, recently watched the “ESA Education (English)” playlist.

Homework got you stumped? Our new lineup of educational channels is here to help.

As I wrote in the Huffington Post recently, we here at YouTube believe that great educators can come from all walks of life, and we want to see more teachers - in the broadest sense of the word - turn YouTube into their global classroom. The demand on YouTube for educational content - from math to science to history and beyond - continues to grow. We did some math of our own recently, and found that views of educational content DOUBLED in the last year. We also found that nearly 80% of the views for this content came from outside the U.S., suggesting that our vision for a global classroom might be becoming a reality.

So for all you knowledge-hungry people around the world, today we’re welcoming the first six new educational channels coming to YouTube as part of the new original content initiative we announced last year (more to come later this year). Without further ado, and In alphabetical order … (what else?) ….

Crash Course
A weekly dose of world history, from one half of the vlogbrothers, John Green. The first episode tackles the agricultural revolution, and over the year, the show will tackle the entire 15,000 years of human civilization. Insider tip: the show is written in conjunction with John’s high school history teacher!

Deep Sky Videos
Back in the 1700s, astronomer Charles Messier was hunting for comets … and kept getting frustrated by objects that were NOT comets … so he made a list of these non-comet objects, which went on to become one of the most famous lists of cosmic objects in science. This channel is a quest by Brady Haran to make videos about all 110 so-called Messier Objects … starting with M1 (side note: Brady’s collaborator on another YouTube channel called periodicvideos is Professor Martyn Poliakoff, who was today awarded the Ron Nyholm Award for his role in chemistry education - congratulations!)

Intelligent Channel
This new channel hosts luminaries from education, art, and culture as they discuss the most topical subjects of the day. The hosts of the shows are actor/comedian Richard Belzer (from Homicide and Law & Order, and Paul Holdengraber of ‘Live from the New York Public Library’ fame. “Richard Belzer’s Conversation” will feature interviews with actors, comedians, directors, musicians, and writers. “The Paul Holdengräber Show will engage award-winning writers and artists about their work and passions.

Numberphile is a channel for people who love numbers and want to find out the stories behind them, also from Brady Haran. Numberphile’s very first video appeared on an auspicious date (the last binary date of a generation) - 11.11.11 - and of course, the video was all about the number 11 - and barcodes. The channel has gone on to feature videos about 98, 15, 31 … teaching us about grafting numbers and hexadecimals and Mersenne Primes in the process.

From the other vlogbrother, Hank, SciShow aims to teach scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand way, covering everything from particle physics to DNA. The first episode is about "non-newtonian fluids," and the second episode focuses on the Higgs Boson particle and includes interviews with the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The Spangler Effect
YouTube was only five months old when Steve Spangler first taught people how to turn a bottle of Diet Coke and a roll of Mentos into an exploding geyser. Science videos are among the most popular viral videos on YouTube, and this channel will set out to make science more approachable and a whole lot more fun.

We hope you enjoy these additions to our YouTube Education corpus, which today has 700+ partners and more than 500,000 videos. If you’re a teacher, check out youtube.com/teachers for a set of education resources that includes more than 300 playlists of videos that align with core education standards. And if you want to make YouTube more accessible in your school, check out YouTube for Schools.

Angela Lin, Head of YouTube Education, recently watched “The Agricultural Revolution: Crash Course World History #1”.

Geoffrey Canada and Capella University livestream panel on education reform

One person can make a difference. Just ask Geoffrey Canada, an education reform advocate whose groundbreaking work in Harlem schools set a precedent across the United States. It’s even inspired U.S. President Barack Obama to apply his model to cities across America.

On December 28 at 3:00pm PT, Geoffrey Canada will deliver a keynote speech about education reform, hosted by Capella University and streamed live on YouTube. The keynote presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on critical issues with leaders in the field of education reform, including Dr. Steve Perry and Dr. Christy Hovanetz. The panel will also answer questions submitted via YouTube here.

In the meantime, here’s some of Canada’s past work:

So check out the live event at 3:00pm PT on December 28 on Capella University's Inspire Ideas YouTube Channel, and we hope you enjoy.

Jen Howard, Education Director at Google, recently watched “YouTube for Schools: Join the Global Classroom Today!

Opening up a world of educational content with YouTube for Schools

When I was in school during the 90s, watching videos in the classroom was a highlight of any week. The teacher would roll in a television on a cart, pop in a VHS tape, and then we’d enjoy whatever scratchy science video my teacher had checked out from the school video library that week. Sight, sound and motion have always had the power to engage students and complement classroom instruction by bringing educational topics to life.

We’ve been hearing from teachers that they want to use the vast array of educational videos on YouTube in their classrooms, but are concerned that students will be distracted by the latest music video or a video of a cute cat, or a video that might not be appropriate for students. While schools that completely restrict access to YouTube may solve this distraction concern, they also limit access to hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube that can help bring photosynthesis to life, or show what life was like in ancient Greece.

To address this issue, we’ve developed YouTube for Schools, a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.

We know how busy teachers are, and that searching through thousands of videos sounds like a daunting visit to the world’s largest library, so we’ve also worked with teachers to put together more than 300 playlists broken out by subject -- Math, Science, Social Studies, and English Language Arts -- and by grade level. Teachers can find them listed out at youtube.com/teachers. Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without your input -- teachers, what videos do you use in your classroom? Suggest your own education playlist here.

YouTube for Schools is just the latest initiative in our ongoing efforts to make YouTube a truly valuable educational resource, and to inspire learners around the world with programs like YouTube Space Lab. So how do you get started? To join YouTube for Schools or learn more about the program, head on over to www.youtube.com/schools.

UPDATE: For detailed step-by-step instructions on how to sign up please this YouTube Help Center article.

Brian Truong, Product Manager, recently watched “The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Transporting a Mars Rover.”

School’s out for summer, but still open on YouTube

Summer is a time for teachers to get some well-deserved R&R, but it’s also an opportunity to develop new methods for the coming school year. One of our YouTube EDU partners, Teaching Channel, shares advice on how teachers can stay busy this summer on YouTube.

June brings dreams of lazy summer days, vacations and the old “no more pencils, no more books.” But with the changes in education today, summer’s less of a languorous break and more of a brief pause from the pressures of teaching. Year round learning, adjustments to new teaching guidelines and the constant race to keep up with requirements often mean that educators are more likely to be looking for professional development than singing “
School’s Out For Summer.”

To support teachers’ professional growth,
Teaching Channel captures great teaching on video – sharing knowledge with anyone looking to improve learning for students. On our YouTube channel, you can see everything from using rhythm in teaching reading to explaining the beauty of haikus with fruit. Many of the lessons are aligned with the new Common Core standards being adopted by many states for implementation in the coming school year.

If you have a great idea for a video, know a teacher we should check out or just want to discover some great ideas, subscribe and post feedback in our channel comments. You can also come by and see us at the NEA (June 30-July 1) or AFT (July 13) conferences. Because guess what — we’re too busy to take a summer vacation this year, and school’s always open on YouTube.

Guest to The Official YouTube Blog Candice Meyers, Teaching Channel Head of Product Development, recently watched, “Is 'Teach' a Big Word?