One area in which Google Apps is finding increasing favour is education. While the UK is still rather slow on the uptake, in the USA using Google products is fast becoming the norm for many educational establishments from schools to universities.
One such school is Back Bay Continuation High School where Google Apps apparently have become a huge part of helping improve students’ mathematics ability.
The application itself is called BuzzMath and is aimed at middle school pupils – aged around 13 and 14, I think.
The major benefits include introducing and reviewing mathematics concepts, the ability to assign lessons to individuals or whole classes and the chance to monitor progress; and perhaps more importantly, differentiate instruction.
For students it seems they can work at home or at school, and practice without being told off by a teacher for not knowing what they are doing. In short, it takes the fear out of doing maths.
For students who do find maths difficult it also allows them to get immediate feedback on their progress.
For teachers the program has obvious advantages as they do not necessarily have to deliberately set particular tests. Yet it can be used as a group facility when necessary.
Back Bay school is apparently one where low achievement was accepted as the norm. However, since using this particular piece of Google software the mathematics ability of most, if not all children has improved tremendously.
What’s more, it has even kept their interest. By any standards that in itself is a success.