Friday, April 17, 2015

A Teacher's Thoughts

Mrs.O and Google Classroom

I love technology. I love it mainly because I can collect information and store it silently.  I am not surrounded by cluttered bookcases full of binders and I don’t need to spend large amounts of money on professional books. So, when I heard about Google Classroom, I decided to give it a try.  What I found was a very user friendly site -- my basic instruction included a very brief (about 10 minutes) introduction and I was good to go.
Google Classroom is AWESOME!  I loved Hapara but I have decided that Classroom/Google works better for me and it is FREE!  First, I just love how it looks when I open the app.  I can customize the backgrounds for each folder and the backgrounds are bright and colorful. The folders - one per subject - include a myriad of choices for teachers. My favorite part is the “assignment” feature. I can assign work that includes a specific due date, set of instructions, comments, and a return button that helps me keep track of finished work. I can also grade the work, make comments,  and then return the results to my students. With a click of a button the grades are instantly transferred to a spreadsheet -- no more writing grades in my gradebook. However, the best part is that I can attach videos, documents, links or attachments to all assignments.  For example, I can send a video to my students, the kids can view the video, and then open a document and write about the video. Because documents created within each assignment are automatically shared with me, I can easily find the completed assignment. There is also a blog option which can be used for interactive comments.  This feature can be turned on or off.  Fifth graders love talking to each other online!!
I also love the “announcement” button.  This feature gives me the option to post any information or tutorials that I want to share with my students and I can do it within the subject folder. No more paper handouts stored in binders, folders, or just jammed into the black hole. All assignments and announcements are easy to find because an icon and explanation appears with each addition.
Finally, the “News and Announcement” page gives me a place to post more links, attachments, videos and documents -- another place to store or share.  I could also turn this page into a classroom blog or interactive board.

So, my suggestion is to give this awesome “Google Great” a try.  Have fun exploring the possibilities.

Written by Barbara Osburn
5th Grade

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