This year, 7th grade teachers, Mrs. Hammons and Ms. Lavoie are piloting Google Classroom with their English Language Arts classes. Google Classroom helps teachers and students to collaborate online by providing productivity and organizational tools for students. Following is a description of the initial experience of using Google Classroom by Mrs. Hammons and Ms. Lavoie.
Although 7th grade students have only just started working with Google Classroom, it is clear that this is going to revolutionize English class and here’s why:
First, it is extremely accessible. These students are tremendously tech savvy, so this is second nature to them. Classroom’s design is communal, and therefore allows students to connect with their peers, teachers, and themselves in a constructive and interactive fashion.
Student to Peers:
If a student wants to peer review, they can share their document with other students, who in turn can leave comments on the strengths and weaknesses of their writing. This type of commenting also helps to foster editing skills. We’ve noticed a bit of healthy competition as well. Students like to comment when they have completed an assignment, which in turn encourages others to complete the assignment! Finally, we anticipate that they will be able to start using Google Classroom to break down a heavy workload by crowdsourcing information. This will save time and energy that can be better spent on revision during the writing process.
Student to Teacher:
By far the greatest advantage we are seeing with Google Classroom is with writing instruction. With the large class sizes and shorter class periods, it is often difficult to conference with each student individually about their writing in a real and transformative way. With Google Classroom, it is possible for teachers to comment directly on student writing and students can in turn see that feedback in real time. Teachers and students could be virtually editing a document simultaneously. Additionally, they could log on from their smartphones, computers, or any device with WIFI to access their work. It eliminates the issue of carrying papers back and forth between home and the classroom. Lastly, classroom allows the teacher to grade each student’s work, and turn back a numerical grade to them instantly. They receive an email alerting them to grade completion, and teachers are able to download a convenient breakdown of the data.
Student to Self:
Classroom allows students to be more self sufficient and independent. If a student is having difficulty with a writing assignment, they can view attached samples or review the instructions more closely to clear up their confusion. Many students find this to be a comforting alternative to asking for help in front of peers. Additionally, they can access documents, lessons, and class information by logging on at home in the event of an absence.
We are looking forward to exploring what else we can do with Google Classroom, and learning with the students as they embark on this truly incredible journey.