It's been a while since we posted anything explicitly Google so I am unashamedly going to do so today. Google Classroom, the Mission Control of the G-Suite Apps, is by far the best e-learning platform I have ever encountered. As a FREE tool and the hub for everything I do in my classroom, I couldn't imagine a world without it. This post is centred around my infographic on my top 6 tips for making the most from Classroom - there is an assumption that readers will already know the basics of Classroom. If not, please check out this video and the associated website before going any further:
So, if you're this far in, you're established in your use of Classroom (or at least have classes set up and can understand the basic functions). I genuinely think that these little tricks will take your use of Classroom to a whole new level and save you time and effort in the process!
1. Use the About Tab - Use the 'About' tab to share year-round materials. I always like to put in the syllabus, links to the lesson overviews, useful websites and video resources for the whole course. I also add assessment criteria and model answers (WAGOLLs) on here too - this can become a really useful point of reference for students & teachers. WAGOLLs are a concept coined by Andy Griffiths, Director of MALIT Ltd and Author of Engaging Learners and Teaching Backwards. Follow Andy on Twitter @OTeaching and find him on his website: http://www.malit.org.uk/education-consultants/andy-griffith/
2. Ongoing Feedback - Real Time - Use the comments features to edit, challenge, stretch, improve student answers. Get students to comment on each others' work (with clear guidelines) so the feedback is multi-layered. No need now for students to wait for feedback - do it as they go, like a working draft. Numerous studies indicate that feedback is most effective when it is given immediately, rather than a few days, weeks, or months down the line. In one study that looked at delayed vs. immediate feedback, the researchers found that participants who were given immediate feedback showed a significantly larger increase in performance than those who had received delayed feedback. Another research project from the University of Minnesota showed that students who received lots of immediate feedback were better able to comprehend the material they had just read. Of course, it's not always possible to provide students with feedback right on the spot, but sooner is definitely better than later. Classroom lets you do this amazingly.
3. Save The World - Save time at the photocopier when you use the “make a copy for each student” feature. When assigning a document, make sure you select this option and as such as students open it, they will have their own copy in their own Drive. No more multiple copies or versions. Now I know that this might not make the big difference to climate change that is necessary for our planet's survival but remember, we can't do everything but we must do something. the average secondary school makes over 2 million paper copies per year; even halving this number by using online versions and digital turn-in and marking is worth the effort.
4. Add Detailed Descriptions - Adding descriptions to assignments with the question "What would an absent student need to know to complete this?" saves time in the long-run when not having to repeat instructions. Not only for those not in the class but parents and cover teachers who may be non-specialists. Spelling out all of the details makes for easy reference later. Perhaps thinking about how you would verbally give instructions and replicate this in digital form - you could even video your instructions through Screencasting. I personally use Screencastify - click the image below to find out more.
5. Reuse Posts - Why reinvent the wheel if the wheel is still working? You can re-use materials you used in the previous school year. You can easily grab an assignment or an announcement from one of your last year’s classes (or assignments from the Classroom Drive folder), add the changes you want then share it with your students. You could even number posts so that you can easily find them going forward.
6. Differentiate With a Click - Possibly the biggest time-saver is found in how easily you can share personalised assignments/documents with students. Rather than assigning a post to All Students (default), you can tick (check) the students in groups based on ability/interest/prior attainment or any other differential. This really makes the learning individualised.
Enjoy the infographic and let me know your top tips below.