While it doesn’t seem to have as much of a social networking focus as the soon-to-be-launched Yahoo! Teachers, Google for Educators is already up and ready for anyone to use. It’s been around for a while, but I thought I would highlight it here since we haven’t yet (see Katrina’s post about Yahoo! Teachers for a reference on some of the interesting features being developed there).
What you really have with “Google for Educators” is existing Google tools highlighted for Educators and some nice extra information. They have an email list that tells you about upcoming GfE news, a good set of pages that tells how each tool (like Gmail, Docs, Page maker, etc) can be used in education (here is a good example of ideas for using Blogger in class), free posters for your classroom (including this nice, simple tips for better Google searches), and a discussion group for educators.
With Yahoo! also now creating tools for teachers, it could be interesting to see where competition might take both products. If Google takes this seriously, and really starts to integrate some of it’s existing tools, they could get a good lead in this area. But that will probably only happen if they develop an interest in it.
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.