Google Apps


Below is a brief overview of the most commonly used Google Apps. In the upcoming weeks, a more in-depth module will be released that focuses on specific tasks geared towards each application. Please check back soon for each update. Until then, feel free to explore some of the features that your free Google Apps account offers.


After completing this module, you will be able to:
  • Describe Google Apps and some of its core features
  • Compose new email using Gmail
  • Create a Google Document
  • Open your Google Calendar
  • Create a Google Site
  • Create a Google Form

An Overview of Google Apps

Uploaded by Google


The first screen you will see whenever you sign into Google Apps is your Gmail account.  This is your email and if you have never used Gmail, it's going to look and feel a bit different from your traditional email program.  We'll get into Gmail in a lot more detail in a future module, but for now, make sure you are aware of the following:

1) Compose

Create new emails with a click of the red Compose button.
2) Search

Looking for a particular email?  Type anything you can remember about the email (who sent it, subject line, content), and Google will find it for you.

3) Settings

This is where you'll be able to customize your Gmail. This includes email forwarding, themes, and filters.

Activity #1: Using Gmail for the First Time

Log into or your organization's Google Apps site (For ETHS, it's  Try sending an email using the Compose button and search for existing mail using the search bar at the top of the screen.

Google Drive

Arguably, the most powerful piece of the Google Apps Suite is Google Drive (formerly Google Documents).  It is here where you are able to create new documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings.  Then, share your creation with anyone with a Google Apps account and you will be experiencing real time collaboration in seconds. 

Why Google Docs?

No more lost or outdated files

Google Docs automatically save and are stored in the cloud. Don't worry about losing a flash drive, because you won't need one! Also, when you open a Google Doc, you are opening the most updated version so there's no need to remember which file is the most current one.

Real time collaboration 

When you share a Google Doc with other users, you can allow them to edit the document and if you are working on the document at the same time, you'll see their edits as they make them. No more waiting for email attachments.
Free and easy to use

Google Docs are free to use, and provide users access to a suite of applications whereas traditional productivity suites could cost hundreds of dollars. Although fewer functions are included (power users may not be happy), the flip side is that document editors are uncluttered, and users can get to the core functionality that they need in less time. 

Activity #2: Creating A Google Document

Click on Documents or Drive (top navigation bar, next to Gmail) and Create a new document. Try sharing with another user and test out the collaboration features of Google Docs.

Google Calendar

If you share your time with anyone else (e.g. family calendar) or if you wish to show your events with others (e.g. class calendar), the collaboration benefits of using a Google Calendar are worth checking out. 

How I Use a Google Calendar

Shared Calendars

I keep a personal calendar, as does my wife, and we have shared calendar for events that we'll both need to be present. With Google Calendar, I have access to all three calendars, not to mention the schedules of my favorite Chicago sports teams. 

Access - Anytime, Anywhere 

With most smartphones and mobile devices, you can access all of your Google Calendar events, even when you are offline (no syncing when offline). This means that I can add, edit, and delete events from any of my calendars whenever I have access.   
Task and Grocery Lists

Occasionally, I use my Google Calendar as a task list as well.  If I am going to the grocery store, I'll create an event and even add a grocery list to the notes field of that event. Since my wife has access to my calendars, she can add items to the list at any time. 

Activity #3: Exploring Google Calendar

Try opening Google Calendar and setting up a few events. Share the calendar with another user and collaborate on event planning. 

Google Sites 

Thinking of creating a website but are intimidated by how to set it up?  Google Sites allows for a very easy solution that can have you up and running with your own website in minutes. 

Some Uses for Google Sites

Google Sites offer the ability to create websites for any of the following: 

Individual Teachers  |  Clubs/Organizations  |  Departments  |  Schools  |  Church Groups  |  businesses  | Non-Profits  |  Friends/Family Events

Activity #4: Getting Started with Google Sites

If you are using a Google Apps account, click on Sites in the top navigation bar. If you are using a Gmail account, click on More, Even More and scroll down for Sites. You can also go directly to your Sites list by opening a new tab and navigating to   Create a new site or check out the Sites module (coming soon) to get an in-depth tutorial. 

Google Forms

One of the more underutilized apps, and deserving of its own place in the navigation bar, Google Forms is a great way to collect data fast and organize it in a spreadsheet. 

Some Uses for Google Forms

Google Forms offer the ability to create data collection tools for any of the following: 

Student Project Submissions  |  Student Interests Surveys  |  Learning Profile Surveys  |  Help Desk Requests  |  Online Self-Grading Quizzes  |  Feedback Forms  

Activity #5: Creating a Google Form

Open Documents or Drive (that's where Forms are "hidden") and Create a new Form. You'll start with two items, but you'll certainly be able to add more.  Once you've practiced creating your form, send or share it with a few users to give it a test run. 

Checking For Understanding

Feeling a lot more Googley now?  Ready to share and collaborate on documents in real time?

Test your knowledge.   Take a quick quiz below and see how well you do.  Click on "Start Now" and receive immediate feedback on how you do.

Not satisfied with your learning progress?  Please submit a feedback or issues support form found on the bottom of this page.

Additional Links