Remote Learning with Google

Teresa Pan

We, the students of the Chicago Public Schools system, have used Google in our studies for a long time. In fact, most of us have had a personal “” email since we started elementary school, which is made possible by the Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. Naturally, we have made use of many Google applications like Google Drive and Google Classroom since the beginning, even before remote learning. Miguel Nogueras ’19 says “most of my teachers used [Google Classroom] frequently to give assignments and announce important dates.” To him, the Google family of apps “was pretty useful and easy to access.” However, he doesn’t think it’s the best tool out there, “but for what we had it, it worked well.” I believe most kids would agree with that statement, considering it is a very user-friendly platform that allows for collaboration very easily.

Since remote learning started, our school has relied on Google Meets and Google Classroom to learn. Parent Y. Xu of two Whitney Young students believes that “using the same company [Google] for all things school related is much easier than having a variety of apps that cannot be connected.” She is also in the Google Classrooms of many of her kids’ classes, making it easy for her to follow their studies. This year, more than ever, parents are focusing more on their children’s studies, so this feature is especially important.

The Google apps also have many extensive features for teachers. For example, they can create assignments in Classroom with due dates and a point value, and they can return these assignments with the grades included. Meets has breakout rooms, which helps with splitting people into teams virtually. There is even an attendance feature that shows the amount of time a student was in the meet. Ms. Carol Uhl-Alba, WY business teacher, has a suggestion for the future though. She hopes that Google will introduce “a piece of software that records the amount of time people show their faces. It would motivate teachers to see the faces of their students.” Although keeping your camera on is technically mandatory, many students choose not to do so because of a variety of reasons. However, it is easy to see how teaching a class of icons does not set a welcoming stage for teachers to lecture.