Thursday, November 12, 2015

10 Reasons Your Colleagues Should Use Google Classroom

Kids like knowing what to expect, and they want to be self sufficient. Well, at least that's how I translate the 20 questions I usually have to answer about what we're doing on any given day. There's no magic app for that.

With Google Classroom, my students are asking clarifying questions with more substance. They know roughly what we are doing and are expected to reference certain resources or tasks when asking questions. And this routine becomes easier and easier to teach the more students are familiar with Classroom.

I don't suggest that teachers push a tool on a colleague. That would foster ill relations and set up the conditions for poor learning. But we have to be ready for the question, "Why should I use Google Classroom?"

Here are some reasons your neighbor, colleague, or whoever you work with should use Google Classroom.

1. It's Basic

The purpose of Classroom is to share content, communicate expectations, recieve student work, and provide feedback.

2. Drive Integration

Classroom solved the problem many educators faced when they started using Google Drive with their students. How do we share work and provide feedback efficiently?

3. Email Blasts 

The ability to email an entire class with a few clicks is crucial for the 21st Century educator. What's more, the ability to email students who didn't turn in their assignment is pre-sorted. Tell your colleague to try it and see.

4. Student Forum

Sometimes we just need a quick check for understanding, an exit ticket, or have a silent discussion. The question tool does this in Classroom.

5. Monitor Student Work

Post a link to a Drive folder in which students can add their docs. As they work, you can monitor their progress. This may be a bit advanced for some of your colleagues, but it's a concept that 21st Century educators should try a few times a year.

6. Return Work Immediately

You've probably thought something like, "If only Sarah could get this paper right when I'm finished writing these comments. She'd have it ready in the morning and be all caught up."

Classroom gives you the option to return work digitally with one click.

7. "Because Everyone is Doin It!"

This is not a good reason to do anything, yet let's consider how easy it will be to manage if most of the students' other teachers are using Google Classroom.

8. Manage It with a Mobile Device

Forget about logging into your computer to update an assignment. The Classroom app works well and the browser version works almost as well on mobile devices.

9. Automatic Notifications 

It's not another thing that needs to be checked. We all use email at this point, right? Classroom will send email notifications when a student posts a question to the stream, and students recieve an email when the teacher posts a new assignment or announcement.

10. Co-Teaching 

This year was my first with a co-teacher. When he was apprehensive about using classroom, I sent him an invite be a co-teacher and he caught on immediately. Your colleague may only need a little direct support.