I want to share a website with students. I want to see my students’ initial drafts as they type up their documents or create their presentations to provide feedback, but I don’t want to print. I want my students to comment on each other’s work through peer editing without having to print. I want to grade my students’ final drafts and/or presentations at home.
When working with technology-based assignments, a teacher has to determine how best to manage these components, and Google Apps for Education (GAFE), more commonly referred to as Google Drive, has a user-friendly learning management system known as Google Classroom. Google Classroom is not only user-friendly for teachers, but students can navigate it with minimal distractions. This first of two blog posts will provide an overview of Google Classroom.
In the Classroom, teachers have two options: join a class or create a class. This allows teachers to participate in professional development classes as “students” while still offering the option to create classes for their own students. Once a class is created, it auto-generates a class code to share with students to allow them to join the class.
There is seemingly no limit to how many classes a teacher can create in Classroom. Because the Classroom platform streams (similar to Facebook), with the latest announcement, assignment, or question posting at the top, the ability to create a class for each subject area prevents students from having to scroll endlessly searching for their next task. The only option to move elements is limited to “Move to the top,” but does enable a teacher to keep specific content at the top, if desired.
After creating a class, a Classroom folder will appear in My Drive for teachers (when students join a class, a Classroom folder will appear in My Drive for students). The use of this folder can be confusing, but it is important to remember: DO NOT DELETE THIS FOLDER. It stores all resources and student work as it is accessed and collected in the Classroom. (Note: Resources cannot be added to Classroom by putting them into the folder, resources must be added in Classroom, and then they will show up in the folder.)
As mentioned above, there are three elements used to post in the stream of a class. All three elements allow files to be uploaded, website links to be shared, or files within Google Drive to be accessed. Announcements can be used for sharing classroom news or reminders, but is a great option for simply sharing a link. Assignments are the best option for sharing teacher-created templates, complete with a “Turn In” button for students to click when work is ready to be submitted. Questions are the Classroom’s version of a discussion forum if using the short answer option or can be a check for understanding with the multiple choice option.
With the right learning management system, implementing technology-based assignments and projects becomes feasible and practical. Google Classroom has the potential to simplify the process. Next month, we’ll take a look at exactly how to create a class. Stay tuned...or contact an instructional coach or tech coach to get started now!
I am a technology integration coach for a school district supporting one preschool, fifteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Check here for the latest updates on instructional technology.