In this series I am giving some glimpses into the journey my school is taking into the world of Google for Education. I have been at my new school for seven months and leading the move to Google for Education for four months. As I enter my third year of being a Google for Education Trainer, it’s great to be taking this journey again with a new school. Benefactors from all areas of the school are beginning to see how this powerful cloud technology can impact learning, workloads and budgets. So far in the series I have blogged about the first steps we took into Google and then how we made the switch to Gmail and Google Calendar.
In this blog I want to share our next steps. After Easter it will be a requirement for all teaching staff to set homework, of any kind and for any class, through Google Classroom. This was announced at a staff training day two weeks ago and we are in the process of holding various CPD sessions to make sure that all teachers know how to use Google Classroom. At the same time we are also continuing our Tuesday morning Google Breakfast CPD sessions. This morning we looked at the Google Drive File Stream and Confidential Mode in Gmail.
So why are we moving to Google Classroom for homework? First and foremost it is for the students. A good school removes barriers to learning and increases accountability, Google Classroom will help us do this. It will provide our learners with:
Greater accessibility: Students will be able to access their homework on any device, no matter where they are.
Notifications: With the Google Classroom app they will receive notifications about deadlines, new work, feedback and any other communication through Google Classroom
Parental insights: When parents are invited into Google Classroom, they will receive regular newsletters to their email inbox outlining their child’s work and deadlines.
Google Calendar integration: Any homework set with a deadline will enter their Google Calendar as an event, to keep them organised.
Feedback: Students will receive feedback through Google Classroom
Streamlined Resources: For teachers who set work through 3rd party quizzing apps, e.g. Quizlet and Socrative, they will post a link to Google Classroom allowing learners to access all work in one place.
An online learning community: The Classroom stream will allow students to share and talk about their work.
We are also moving to Google Classroom to benefit our teachers, leaders and budgets. Google Classroom will provide us with:
Greater accessibility: Teachers will be able to post homework, give feedback and check data on any device, no matter where they are.
Notifications: With the Google Classroom app teachers will receive notifications about deadlines and any communication from students.
Google Calendar integration: Deadlines will enter our Google Calendars as events, keeping us organised.
Accountability: With subject leaders as co-teachers the leadership can keep track of the frequency and quality of homework.
Quick communication with students: The stream can be used to communicate with students if something needs to be shared or announced.
A mark sheet: When grading homework in Google Classroom or when Google Form quizzes are automatically marked, a mark sheet is populated, which can also be viewed as a Google Sheet.
A digital platform for non-digital homework: Even if teachers set homework that do not require technology e.g. a paper based task, they can collect data by setting the homework on Google Classroom to accompany the non-digital task.
A decreased printing bill: The more we set digital homework the less printing, reducing costs.
So, why wouldn’t we move to Google Classroom for Homework? There are other platforms for homework, such as Show My Homework, however Google Classroom is free. It can also be used in lessons and for so much more. What about students without a device? The small amount of students who do not have access to a device will be able to use a computer at school. Why are we only using Google Classroom for homework, when it is primarily a powerful classroom tool? We don’t have 1:1 devices in classrooms. However teachers who teach in computer suites are using Google Classroom in lessons.
Moving to Google Classroom for homework is a no-brainer for our next step into Google for Education. It will mean that all teachers will have to become proficient in the ways of Google Classroom, which will open the doors to them discovering the many more G Suite tools that can benefit learning.