“Context is King,” – Google ecosystem


“Context is King,” – Google ecosystem

9 May ’20 Teaching 0

“Context is King.” Google ecosystem. Let me explain.

I have been spending more time in and around the Google ecosystem. It started with a review of the “tech giants” offer to education. That concluded with a simple observation that it is the “suite” of tools that makes the difference to workflow and collaboration, not which giant you side with. Google or Microsoft.

Every crisis presents opportunity.  The first opportunity was to observe three home-schoolers (Reception, Primary and Secondary) learn remotely and a parent support them. What I learnt was that the learning setting is as important and precedes the delivery and instructional models employed, that, and the degree to which learners can direct their learning – matters enormously. “Content is King.” 

Second, I got to witness (and experience) how “one home” (our own and not a representative sample) interacted with distance / remote learning. The first key point – the primary interface for learners and parent – the mobile device (with the exception of the Reception learner). Beyond hardware and connectivity, file formats and printing, I received an insight into opportunities-limitations of digital and offline tasks, the variation in what our children were being set and how they were supported. Meanwhile, over on social media two instructional debates seemed to drown out most of the others. “Consolidation vs new learning” and “AI / automated / instant / self marked feedback vs teacher led feedback.” Maybe a post to come back to – however I think I have possibly already answered it – “Context is King.” 

On devices, though mobile devices may be a driver, products are cross operating platform through apps much more today than five years ago. That said, it is worth considering at a strategic, whole organisation or school level in terms of device procurement.

As a teacher I have seen enforced innovations / iterations (delete as you see applicable) to teaching, primarily Remote teaching, versions of “Flipped Learning” and new approaches to teacher PD using a combination of the former. In my professional view, few innovations (a few new Video Conferencing features or backgrounds do not count). It has been more a question of rapid adoption than innovation. And yet, despite this rapid adoption, post lockdown, I have predicted little will change for most school leaders and even less for most teachers. Where does the greater opportunity lie? Workflow and collaboration and the cloud-assisted work. Live feedback, translation, search, voice. Not sold on voice?

Third as a teacher I have explored the “Tech Giants” wider offer. After the product itself, for the most part productivity “suites,” there is the level of support to consider, staff training resources and cost, the extended offer of products, integrations and innovations. There is the hardware offer. And finally, I have landed at where it is all happening – the browser. 

Setting aside which browser, Chrome, Edge or other? Workflow, efficiency, of the browser is an important consideration. Where we browse, search, work, relax, learn, has moved. 3.5 billion Google searches daily, 50-60% are from mobile devices, and increasing. (Not forgetting voice search). 

Remember “Context is King.” Your Google account, your G Suite productivity, your everything, synchronises with Chrome. What is more, your browser is you. Whatever the hardware, static or mobile, you are working on, your browser moves with you care of Chrome syncing. That is all your accounts. 

Next – whereas your browser used to be a search tool, it is now a Swiss Army knife of tools. Perhaps this where Chrome is ahead of the pack right now. Behind my, anywhere I go browser, are my extensions. Small “applications that run inside the Chrome browser and provide additional functionality, integration with third party websites or services.”

Share, send, clip, cast, curate, add voice note, pdf, check an email… even write the email with voice. Learn more at the Google Chrome Support pages

Share a webpage to your social profile, send a webpage directly to Google Classroom, via email or chat, clip a screenshot, cast a web page to another screen, curate resources around a topic, add a voice note for faster feedback, create a hard copy or PDF, check emails all without leaving the browser. As long as it is the right browser. As I was saying – “Context The browser is King.”


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