Google Classroom is reported to support teachers and pupils, through electronic tools, when setting and completing online learning activities. This is confirmed anecdotally.
Its major impact arises from the automation of the workflow shown below, which is further supported by the other tools in the Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suite – Slides, Docs etc.
This is an introductory account and reflections from one teacher working with us through the CPD programme. We’ll share her discoveries using Google Classroom to support learning and teaching with one group of students. Look out for a future post highlighting considerations and feedback highlighted by the students themselves.
Food Technology students from Malet Lambert school used a portfolio template from their teacher to upload learning activities and projects to Google Classroom.
This became their individual online leaning portfolio where students uploaded their work and plans using applications offered by Google Apps for Education (GAfE).
Students responded to assignments given to them through Classroom using comments and further tools from the online environment, until the time to finally submit for assessment.
Hardware and Software
The project utilised existing hardware already in school and a personal teacher laptop for out of school use. Some students independently discovered how to use Google Classroom on their smart phones and the school also trialled a Toshiba Chromebook as part of their ongoing evaluations of ed tech.
Malet Lambert school had an existing educational GAfE tenancy and this allowed access to Google Classroom and Slides. In addition, students used locally installed Office software and Internet browsers.
Teacher experiences and reflections
Kelly-Anne was able to seamlessly share documents and assignments with students and interact throughout their project phases.
Students were enrolled into their assigned online area within Google Classroom using an auto-generated code for the class. This worked first time in most cases, with some exceptions:
- Additional set up requirements for some students meant Google accounts did not exist for them at the start of the project.
- There were a few unexplained logon errors, which appeared to be transient. These did, however, disrupt the lesson in some way.
Access to the students’ responses can be made from any location with an Internet connection and this allowed the teacher to review work on more occasions than had been practical without Classroom. She felt that this allowed her to make more extensive, meaningful and helpful responses to the students’ work.
“My experience of using Google Classroom has been more positive than I imagined it would be. As a teacher I am less ICT literate than I expect I should be in this day and age – but willing to experiment and give new ideas a try!”
I found it easy to upload new assignments and attach documents, without the need for printing and filing resources. Differentiating resources to students could be done much more discreetly and also extension material and exemplar work could be issued immediately. In a busy classroom situation, with strict timescales for completing work – any opportunity to avoid unnecessary wandering around – or digression from the task itself is welcomed!
The Google Classroom/Google Slides feature- that enables comments to be added to students’ work was a huge success. It provided students with an ongoing commentary regarding the progression of their project. I could highlight areas to focus my feedback and students could respond showing their understanding. The need for printing work – which is both costly and time consuming, drastically reduced. I am no longer the teacher who is lugging great piles of folders to her car on a Friday night! My laptop suffices.
My successes are predominantly on a practical level at present. As with any aspiring pupil – I am now keen to develop my techniques and look for ways to progress and develop my own teaching style – in addition the how Google Classroom can develop the skills of my learners – it’s an exciting prospect. I feel the experience has opened my eyes to this.”
Kelly-Ann Sibary, April 2016
Many thanks go to Kelly-Anne Sibary and her students at Malet Lambert, for their enthusiasm, reflections and willingness to evaluate new tools for learning.
To find out more about how we’ve supported other schools in Hull to implement their vision for learning, join us at the Tech 4 Change conference on Thursday 23 June.