As I sit here at my desk on my last Saturday of fall break, I’m excited to start anew with my integration of Google Classroom. This August, I finally gained access to the G-Suite through my district. Looking back at the past nine weeks, I know that I can do a better job of blending my classroom. There were some hurdles that I encountered which definitely stunted the start of my school year. Here are some of the obstacles I will need to overcome in the coming weeks:
- Lack of computers everyday. I do not have a class set of computers and I am limited when checking out a laptop cart from our library (two days a week if they are not already checked out).
- Adding students is restricted. Whenever I get a new student in my class (either new to the school or switched to my class) I need to email our district contact to have the student’s Google account activated. At the the beginning of the year, this process lasted multiple days and didn’t allow new students to jump right in to some of the classwork online.
- Myself. Due to some of the setbacks I have been reluctant to go all-in. With the lack of computers, I’ve been relying on the “traditional” method of classroom work (lots of copies). My goal is (mostly) paperless. I will have to trust my students to get access (on their phones and at home) when they have assignments due online.
There have been many, many positives in the first quarter of the year. Some highlights:
- Collaboration is amazing. Having a group of students work on the same document and hearing them discuss the assignment and delegating the work has been amazing. It gives each student ownership of the assignment and helps them focus on their specific role.
- Feedback and communication has been improved. I’ve had some great conversations with students about the assignments when they send me a message after viewing my feedback.
- It is so easy to add supplemental materials to the class page. My favorite so far has been creating a gallery using Google Arts & Culture (Anglo-Saxon Gallery) and having students comment on their favorite piece. I also showed them in class how to take a virtual tour of the British Museum.
- Google Forms has been an amazing resource. I use it for study hall checkout (students fill out a form and let me know where they are going for tutoring) and I’ve used it for giving quizzes.
Overall, the positives have outweighed the negatives and I’m excited for another quarter of using Google Classroom. I’m excited for the new Classwork page as well and I’m hoping that my assignments will be better organized going forward.