A couple of years ago, Sara Bongiorni published a book called A Year Without Made in China.
It followed her family as they attempted to get through an entire calendar year without using products made in China after discovering that most everything found under her family’s Christmas tree came from there.
The digital equivalent would be a year without Google.
Is this even possible?
Think of your classroom and your life. What would the tradeoffs be?
- No Google Classroom (the NEXT BIG THING!)
- No Google Drive or apps
- No Google search
- No Youtube
- No Google Now
- No Gmail
Did I miss anything else major? Android devices and Chromebooks should be on this list too I guess.
For about a year I’ve been working to wean myself off of my reliance on Google’s products. When I began to realize that they had my email, my documents, my entire search history, my RSS feeds and I was using their browser, it was time for a change. I’ve since switched to DuckDuckGo, I run my own email server and I’ve switched over to Firefox. A few changes. Nothing dramatic. The loss of Youtube in my classroom would be huge since I use it a lot for everything from 30 second video clips to longer documentaries. I’ve searched high and low for open source or self hosted equivalents to even just the Google Docs portion of Drive, but I can’t find anything. Losing that product would be a blow to collaboration in my classroom.
As for the rest of it? Meh. I can find equivalents to almost all of it. I really don’t believe that Classroom is a transformational product. The “My worksheets are there!” type of enthusiasm just doesn’t say educational renewal and change to me. It may make things easier when it comes to handing out and collecting and collating digital worksheets and even communicating with parents, but it’s all walled garden to me. I’m hoping for more when it comes to changing education.
A year of learning without Google. What would we lose? What would we gain?