Coming into the #CUE 18 Spring conference I wanted to make sure that I focused only on enhancing what I am already doing in my classroom. This year I have been given the opportunity of 1:1 Chromebooks with my students. I have been using Google Classroom, and feel pretty confident with the basics. Not only did Lainie give me an abundance of new ways to use Google Classroom, but her pedagogical message was inspiring.
The message is building relationships and enhancing communication outside of the classroom. This can prepare students under the age of 12 to move into their teenage years ready to be a responsible and curious consumer of digital learning.
To start, she created a platform so that we, the teachers, could look at Google Classroom from a student perspective. This was great, because the students see different features than the teachers see, and the nuances are powerful tools that I didn’t know existed. During her presentation I connected to my very own Google Classroom to apply her tips to what I am already doing in my classroom.
Her first tip is to number all the assignments #001, #002 etc. This allows for you to search the assignments, but also refer students to the assignment number rather than the assignment name which can get confusing if you name your assignments “Quiz”.
In using collaborative notes and allowing students to edit documents, you assume some risk of misuse. Lainie recommends that you remind students “There are no anonymous posts in Google Classroom”. Students who push this limit can easily be “muted” as a consequence.
The way that Lainie released the “lessons” to us was quite brilliant. She used the “saved posts” or “Drafts” as a tool. Her lessons were pre-set, but not yet released. With each lesson, she went over the instructions, and then released the question to the student. The student only needed to wait a moment and refresh their screen and they received the assignment instantly. We, the students, were then able to follow the directions we were given. This was great, because, as I am sure she knew, if we had been given access to the material before she gave us the instructions, we would not be paying attention because we’d be sucked into what we thought we were supposed to be doing. (Ever notice how teachers act exactly the way that students act… is it an education thing, or a people thing?)
A couple important tips about creating assignments vs creating questions: When creating an assignment, students might not be able to collaborate. When creating a question, there are more opportunities for students to respond to each other in live time.
I am incredibly grateful for Lainie to have her presentation available online at www.lainierowell.com. She gave us so many resources she wasn’t able to cover them all in the short amount of time we had with her.