Being immersed in classes, in a traditional educational setting or online, usually means having to complete several research papers. The papers are meant to supplement the coursework from lectures and textbooks. They are also a way for your instructors to evaluate your understanding of the material. The advantage students have now, over just a few years ago, is the number of resources available for research online. Several of these resources are available through Google and its newest version, Google+.
Google Search Plus poses questions
Google+ is Google’s answer to the wildly popular Facebook, with many similar features. Google however, not to be outdone by Facebook, has taken the social network to a whole new level, adding features like Google Docs, Google Voice and Google Search Plus. The latter feature is meant to customize your search experience, which can be helpful when you’re surfing casually. Google Search Plus has its place, but it heavily filters out potentially useful information in an effort to maintain results that fit your personal preferences. Personal preferences however, aren’t what you need when writing at a college level, so it’s a good idea to turn off Google Search Plus when using Google for research purposes.
That being said, Google and Google+ are still powerful tools for digital research—especially if you’re engaged in online learning. Google has created a group of apps specifically for education, appropriately entitled Google Apps for Education. The apps, which include Gmail for Education, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Video, Google Talk and Google Calendar, are provided to students engaged in either offline or online learning. The apps are connected to each student through the Gmail account created specifically for the educational intention and once the student has left the school, and the account is deleted, everything connected to it is also deleted.
Google+ as a research strategy
Using Google+ strategically can help you incorporate this powerful online tool into your educational pursuits. Perhaps the most important thing you can do if you want to use Google+ for education is to create an entirely separate Google+ account that is strictly for everything related to your learning and not personal pursuits. Link your Gmail from your school’s Google Apps for Education account to your new Google+ account, so everything else related to your education also links back to that Google+ account. Your fellow students and instructors can now interact with you through Google+ and your personal account with friends and family are kept safe and confidential. You can, of course, add fellow students and educators to your personal account, but it’s at your discretion.
Using online applications to enhance your educational experience can be accomplished through the use of Google Apps for Education and incorporating Google+ into your suite. Maintaining separate personal and educational accounts for using Google+ also keeps your personal information private and makes organizing your apps easier. Google has made higher education not only easier to manage; it’s made writing a research paper a pleasure.
About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.