The term “The Basic Suite” has evolved over the last several years. Most commonly when you think of a basic suite, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheets are the first items that come to mind. These types of tools have become a staple of the business world and education.
More recently schools have been implementing a cloud solution to go along with the core set of instructional technology tools being used at their institution. The two major companies battling it out for this position in schools are Google and Microsoft. Both are offering a suite of tools mentioned above, while Microsoft is looked at as the inventor of a lot of these applications, Google has taken it to a different level being more pedagogically focused.
Google’s focus on an education-driven product can be seen with G Suite. G Suite is a set of cloud applications that can be accessed from any device so a student cannot use the excuse, “I forgot my book in my locker.” Everything is accessible as long as the student has some sort of internet connection. Even in a slight emergency, they can access documents from a Google Drive using cellular data. G Suite makes sharing and accessing assignments and homework extremely easy with a flexibility factor that is not seen in the traditional classroom setting.
Through my experiences using G Suite, Google has been the innovator of bringing collaborative learning to The Basic Suite. Collaborative learning is an approach where students work together to complete a project or solve a problem (Benefits of collaborative learning, 2012). Since working independently isn’t something that often happens in the workplace the advantages of students being able to use a basic suite early on or even in higher education are obvious (The NMC horizon report, 2017). Peer review assignments being another piece of collaborative learning which benefits the students in many ways, learning from each other, focusing on goals, and help students understand the relationship between their writing and the coursework (Benefits of Peer Review, 2018).
In support of the facts mentioned above, I can speak through real-life experiences. The University I work for is a G Suite school, I have assisted many faculties in implementing projects using various Google tools. One project involving Google Slides and Sites really sticks out in my mind is The Oliver Street Project. The students from the University were assigned to work with grade school students from the city. Together they completed a museum in Google Slides that prompted collaboration between peers and allows collaboration between the grade school students. Since they were using technology they were familiar with it kept all of them excited and engaged. G Suite made this collaboration possible whereas it might not be as practical in a traditional classroom.
Benefits of collaborative learning. (2012, January 13). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042811030205
Benefits of Peer Review. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.southwestern.edu/offices/writing/faculty-resources-for-writing-instruction/peer-review/benefits-of-peer-review/
The NMC horizon report: 2017 higher education edition. (2017). Retrieved from The New Media Consortium website: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2017-nmc-horizon-report-he-EN.pdf