I’ve never shied away from technology in the classroom. I’ve had a class website for years, one that I used as a place to update and remind students about homework and assignments. Several years ago, I started using it as a place for students to interact with each other. It worked well.
However, this year our school received cart loads of Chrome Books and life changed. We’ve started to use Google Classroom, and I quickly discovered that it was not only going to be a much more accessible platform for our class, but also one that is far more powerful. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
1. It’s a very slick way to post an assignment. My blog was by no means cumbersome, but Classroom is just easier. I post my instructions and then choose whether or not to upload a file from my computer, Google Drive, Youtube, or another link. Below is an example, of what my twelfth grade students saw for their Macbeth social media assignment last semester:
2. It’s PERFECT for snow days. Sometimes snow days are for relaxation; other days, there’s work to be done. Today is one of those days. Here is what my tenth grade class will see today, as well as the steps I followed to create the assignment:
3. It allows for easy collaboration among students. When you share a document on Google Drive, you can decide whether or not others can just view the document, or if you want them to be able to edit. Editable documents allow students to work together on an assignment. Had we been in school today, my IB class would be in groups, discussing Act I scenes iv and v of Macbeth. Using Drive and Classroom, they can still do it at home. Below is the document I shared with their groups:
4. It can be an effective tool for formative assessment. The comment section of Drive allows me to highlight sections of student work and give them feedback. I can also just highlight sections, and get them to figure out why it’s highlighted, putting more responsibility on them. Use two different highlight colours — one for good work, and another for areas that need improvement. Google Forms are an easy tool to use for exit tickets, as is the “question” option on Classroom.
Now, if your school does not allow you access to Google Classroom, don’t despair. You can still use all of the Google apps, like Drive and Forms. You’ll just need to make sure all of your students have a g-mail account, and then set up an email list for that class.
How do you use the Google apps in your classroom?