Monday, July 21, 2014

GAFE...Not Just Another Acronym

Two years ago, Howard County introduced GAFE. For at least six months of that year, I had no idea what GAFE meant, and I just figured it was another acronym I would never understand or care about.
I finally found out that GAFE stands for Google Apps for Education, and that still didn't help me much. I decided to attend a professional development that same year, and come to find out, I didn't have the administrative access to the GAFE on my laptop. Ugh.

However, my computer was finally fixed, and I have to say, I have loved using GAFE, especially since every student in Howard County has a GAFE account and access. It was super easy to organize my Google Drive, where all of my documents, presentations, rubrics, etc. can be stored in folders. You can see how my Google Drive is organized (right now, at least) by my English class and seminar folders. This is just because it's summer. Once school picks up, I'll have many more folders!

One way I have used GAFE is through Google Docs, and it makes my job as an English teacher much easier. Through using Google Docs, I am able to share assignments and rubrics with my students. Below is one of my rubrics I was able to share with my students, which was great because now students won't lose it:

Additionally, multiple students are able to work on assignments like papers, poems, or PowerPoints, and as long as they are shared with me, I can comment on them as the students work. Right now, my GAFE is pretty plain, but I have it all organized and ready to go for next year!

I had only used Google Docs a few times last year, but the students loved it, and it made my job much easier. Students have always loved the quick feedback I can provide, and I can grade faster because I have already read the student's work several times. I also would like to use Google Forms in order to complete my student surveys in the beginning of the year--it would be much easier than keeping track of hundreds of papers! I'm still thinking of more ways to incorporate GAFE into my instruction...I just wish it wasn't another acronym.


  1. I, too, am in love with the GAFE for many reasons. Organization, saving paper, student collaboration, comment function, etc. You should come check out my Advanced Google session I will be leading at the county-wide PD we have the first week back to school! My focus will be on how to use it to encourage more collaboration amongst students.

  2. I was at a meeting yesterday for SLA and saw your name on there! I'll definitely think about showing up. I liked how there was the Beginner Google session and then your Advanced session. Finally, something that makes sense with PD!

  3. Wow! This might be the most expansive tool that we have talked about. Like you, I did not have a clue what GAFE was for a while. Now that I have gotten a descent grasp on its structure and uses, I feel confident that it will do exactly what you said - make my life my easier. The amount of sharing that can be done with students will also make their lives easier in terms of efficiency. I am so excited to finally be getting better at this!