Easy Fix to Bring Technology into your Teaching: Why You Should Use Google Classroom
Updated: Aug 18, 2018
My top 10 reasons for using Google Classroom!
1. Simplifying 21st Century Learning for 21st Century Learners
To some, I may be considered a younger, tech-savvy* teacher, but I always feel like I struggle to find authentic and purposeful ways to bring technology into my classroom. And if I don't include technology in my instruction, I am excluding essential skills that my students need to develop, computer literacy. Google Classroom had hands down been the biggest game-changer in my teaching with technology component of #teacherlife. It makes all aspects of using technology in the classroom easier for both the students and myself. Plus, it is incredibly user-friendly!
2. Free is For Me
That is right, Google Classroom is 100% free. It doesn't lure you in with the "free" version while constantly sending you emails or pop up adds persuading you to upgrade to the full version; there is only one version of the tool and it is completely cost-free. And I don't know about y'all, but while I am lucky to be given funds for instructional supplies from our school's budget and then the PTA, those funds are limited. I budget how I spend that money very carefully, every penny counts! Making any and all free resources a welcome addition to my classroom.
3. Central Location for Communication
A procedure I teach my students right away is that when they log in to their Chromebooks, Google Classroom is their first stop. This is where they can see their specific assignments for that day, access links to commonly used websites, refer to older assignments/resources, you name it, it's there! This makes life so much easier for all of us. I especially love that I no longer have to write incredibly long URL links where one / that was supposed to be \ ruins everything.
4. Student Collaboration
Students can post questions, comments, and respond to each other in google classroom! Student led discussion is a huge part of higher level learning, Google Classroom makes it easy to collaborate while also using 21st century skills, two things off your #proudteachermoment checklist!
5. Multiple Assignment Options
If you want students to complete a graded assignment, like a presentation or a report, all you have to do is click create an assignment. Students can create a google doc, slides, sheets, etc., submit it to you as soon as their done, and you can grade it right in Google Classroom as well! Another centralized location! While they are working on the assignment you can even have virtual conferences by using the chat and comment features!
Another option you have is when you want your students working on an assignment or resource continuously, like with an interactive notebook or a reader's journal, you can post it to your classroom, make a copy for each student, and they can continuously work in that assignment throughout the year! You can even go into their copy and write comments for feedback!
One of my favorite ways to do a quick check for understand (CFU) is to post a question as a part of students morning "must do's" (I will post about must do's vs rotating centers soon). One question and I can see who is getting a skill and who isn't. It is also a great option if students need practice with certain types of testing language.
Remember how I said our funds and resources as teachers are limited? Paper is on that list of limited resources! Using Google Classroom will save you SO MUCH paper!
7. Student Feedback
Very often we need feedback and information from our students, and Google Classroom makes this much easier. If I want to take a vote, poll student interest, collect lunch orders for a field trip or anything along those lines, I post a question to Google Classroom.
8. Front Loading Plans
Google Classroom has a simple yet amazing feature that allows you to schedule posts for in the future. You can schedule all your posts at the beginning of the week/month/as far in advance as you'd like, saving you time and keeping you organized!
Oh, that is right, you can differentiate your instruction right in Google Classroom. Say a formative assessment showed 5 students still have not mastered using context clues or finding the area of an irregular object. You can post a video with follow up questions and only assign it to those 5 students within your classroom. It can also be used with gifted students and only giving them more challenging enrichment assignments to work. The ways to differentiate in google classroom are as varied as the needs of your students!
10. The End of Excuses
"But I was sick on Monday"
"I am going to Disney World next week and I need all my assignments for when I am gone...and I need them tomorrow"
"I can't find it"
"I lost it"
or my absolute least favorite phrase
"You never gave me that!"
Are you as tired of hearing those words as I am? With Google Classroom, any and all resources you choose can become accessible in your Classroom and students can access them from anywhere they have internet access! That is just music to my ears!
I hope this has persuaded you to explore Google Classroom and try it out in your classrooms this year! I am including my favorite resources I have either purchased from TPT or made myself! Would love to hear from y'all about your experiences with Google Classroom/Education programs, or your favorite google resources!
Lauren Mary Medlin
*Me calling myself tech savvy would make many of my friends from college laugh hysterically due to the number of times I called apple support begging them to try and find a term paper I lost in the cloud somewhere...only to be repeatedly told it does not work that way apparently