Many teachers are taking advantage of technology to streamline their homework assignments for students by using Google Classroom and Drive. This can certainly help to eliminate the age-old excuse that “my dog ate my homework,” although it may create some other challenges as well. Here are a few tips to make the experience a successful one for students, parents, and teachers.
Determine what type of device students will use at home. While Google Drive and Classroom are accessible from home via the Internet, tablets and smartphones require apps. In turn, this means parents/guardians will need to know which apps are required in order for their student to successfully complete the assignment.
Teach students how to navigate and use the tools expected to complete homework. Navigating to Google Drive and Classroom on a Chromebook looks different on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone when a student is at home. This can cause frustration for all parties involved, so it is worth the instructional time during the school day to explicitly teach students what it looks like on a specific device.
Communicate with parents/guardian about expectations and tools needed. Feel free to make a copy of this parent/guardian note to communicate how students will access Google Classroom and/or Drive from home, what apps may be required, etc. It is also beneficial to consider and communicate if it will be a blended learning experience, in which you may assign paper and pencil homework assignments occasionally and online homework assignments occasionally.
Ensure that everyone has fair and equal access. As hard as it may be to imagine, there are still some students who do not have devices of any sort or have limited access after school hours. Consider different options for those students, such as a before/after school homework club at school or paper and pencil alternatives.
Technology can certainly enhance a student’s homework experience, in much the same way it can enhance the learning experience in the classroom. Communicating well with both students and parents can make it a successful experience, but digital homework also needs to be supported with ensuring the right tools are in place. If you need further support, connect with your instructional or technology coach.
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.