Skip to main content

Google Classroom - learning in the virtual classroom

Most educators would say that they are learning all the time.  This is certainly true for me; I love reading about pedagogy, sharing teaching ideas and collaborating with colleagues online via Twitter or in the real staff room where I teach. This term, I have been pioneering the use of Google Classroom with a number of my classes. Our approach has very much been bottom up as opposed to top down and I have been at the heart of the push to bring this tool into our classrooms.  To ensure success I have been moving slowly so that, for my colleagues, I can instill confidence in the benefits provided by this excellent online tool.

Here's a brief account of how I have used this tool so far and why I think it is so effective.

So far I have only really used Google Classroom to set an assignment where my students can complete some extended writing in readiness for their controlled assessment.  I use the word 'only' quite loosely as this has, in fact, been an excellent way for my students to work and for me to provide fast feedback.  As you can see from the image below I have not simply corrected work, I have asked questions and given feedback in a way that encourages my students to reflect and take on board advice.
Once I have given feedback I am then able to send each student an individual message and they can then correspond with me.  

All of this interaction and feedback takes place without the need to print any paper which is, in my opinion, a massive bonus.  For students, no more lost work and for teachers no more books to cart around and, crucially students can build a growing body of work that they can take with them as they move on through each stage of their education.  
For me, another plus is the ease with which I can create a document that can be shared with each student in my class.  I am also able to send a message to the class along with the document.  Students then work in their document which I can view, at the click of the button even before the work is due to be submitted.  
I have not, yet, tried a class discussion but I have one set up ready for January.  I am looking forward to 'crowdsourcing' a set of good expressions and structures from my Year 10s.  In addition as you can see from the image below, I can embed videos and I can easily see who has completed the task (one of my students even responded today - Wednesday 23rd December!).
Here's her response. 


I think this is all powerful stuff and I know that at the moment I am only just scratching the surface.  I am looking forward to setting group tasks where students can collaborate with each other and using EDpuzzle to set quizzes for the videos I embed.   For more information on @Edpuzzle click here for my previous notes on this excellent tool.
I am enjoying learning to use Google Classroom and I think my students are enjoying using it too. It seems to be a win win situation.  As you can probably tell, I am by no means an expert.  Nonetheless, I am looking forward to helping my colleagues set up their own Google Classrooms.
I intend to write some more about this tool as I learn more.  Undoubtedly I will be in touch with Rachel Smith who tweets at @lancslassrach.  She tirelessly answers my numerous queries and I am indebted to her for her help in setting this up with my classes and for tips on how to use the tool effectively.  For more info you could also check out Teacher Tech Alice Keeler as she is the Google Classroom guru.  
If you are already using Google Classroom, let me know how in the comments box below.
















Popular posts from this blog

Google classroom - using the question feature

I have in previous posts shared my enthusiasm for Google classroom.  It is a perfect tool to enable collaboration amongst students, to ensure fast and effective feedback and at the very least to keep tabs on the work your students have and haven't done.

Google Classroom allows you to post an announcement or set an assignment attaching any kind of document you want, be it spreadsheet, document, picture or presentation. The attachment can be copied for each individual student in your class and they can then work on the document whilst you are able to keep tabs on the work they are doing.  Furthermore you can make comments on their work, having highlighted any particular issues and talk to them directly via the chat tool. Other options allow you to reuse any previous post if so desired. However, one element that I like but I have not really made the most of is the question feature. 
This is a very simple tool where you simply post a question,  set a due date (or not, as you wish) and …

It's Quizlet - but not as we know it.

This past academic year I did not use my iPad in lessons as much as I would have liked.  Previously I have given out my one iPad and let students use it to create little digital postcards or books using the book creator app or using tellagami they made spoken presentations hiding their anxiety behind an avatar of their making.  Each student has then shown the next student how to make such a presentation using the prescribed tools.  This has been a system that has worked well and given all the students a chance to be creative and enhance their learning and demonstrate their knowledge.
However, this year, just past, I have focused more on a few tools such as google classroom, which you can read about here and here. I have also used Edmodo a great deal as my students have been involved in a collaborative project with students in France.  Edmodo is an excellent and safe platform for a project such as this. Both Google Classroom and Edmodo allow for collaboration and give opportunities too…

iDoceo - marking in the 21st century

The very title of this blog may lead you to believe that I am an out and out technophile.  To a certain extent, this is true; I love to make the most of technology in my classroom and redefine what I am able to do with my students.  Increasingly, I explore technology options for managing my own day to day planning.  I can see and understand the benefits of google drive and documents for me when communicating and collaborating with colleagues and friends.  A shared document is easy to work on and I appreciate the way I can link in photos and so on.  This being the case when I was introduced to iDoceo I could see so much potential.  It was clear to me that I could do away with my traditional mark book and use this new option.
Firstly, I was easily able to import the class spreadsheet from our school information system along with all sorts of details that I wanted to use. 
Once my mark book was in place it did not take me long to sort out my calendar linking it to my school outlook calen…