We have a wide array of tools at our disposal to assist with this process. I know many of our teachers are utilizing these tools and many more would like to learn more about how to use the tools. I have heard from many teachers over the past two weeks through this survey they would like more training and time to learn how to utilize some of the tools we have available. I am here to assist with this process. I had the distinct pleasure of working with teachers at Brooks Junior High, Brooks Composite High School, and Griffin Park School this week. We discussed ways in which the tools could be used in their classrooms. In addition, I was able to go outside my comfort zone and teach Grade 3, 4, and 5 students how to use the tools. The excitement they had was really energizing. But, the tools cannot just be toys - the learning is the most important part. The students and I discussed how they could collaborate with each other, their teachers and students in other schools. They spoke about how they could learn more from other people. They were very excited, so were the teachers.
I also wanted an opportunity to share with you, in the voices of the teachers, things they are doing in their classrooms. Jeff Mason, a Social Studies teacher at Brooks Composite, agreed to share some of the things he is doing. I hope that our guest column becomes a regular part of this blog. If you want to share some of the things you are doing in your classroom, whether they are technology related or not, please send me an email.
Guest Contributor: Mr. Jeff Mason
Hello everyone, my name is Jeff Mason and I teach high school social studies at the Brooks Composite High School. Sean asked me to share a little about what I am doing in my classroom. I thought I’d use the opportunity to discuss how I use Google Classroom in my classes.
Google Classroom is an app you can use with your Google account.
I find Google Classroom particularly helpful for my classes. The app essentially acts like a private Facebook stream for your class. You can easily post pictures, videos, web links, or documents from your computer. (Similar to Moodle) You can allow students to post and comment as well, or you can make it so that only you can post. The class is completely secure, meaning others cannot get into the online classroom if you do not allow it.
In the above picture you see a post I made for my 10-1 social class. We are learning about how language impacts identity and how globalization impacts language. I posted a quick PowerPoint and a few web links that we explored as a class.
You can also create assignments for students in Google Classroom.
This was an opening assignment I had my grade 10 class complete. We went through some of the most important current events of the last year at the beginning of the semester. They then had to write a paragraph response on how one of the current events demonstrated that we live in a globalized world. The assignment capabilities of Google Classroom is handy, as it keeps all the students work neatly organized, reduces paper use, and allows me to provide feedback digitally on the assignment. Google Documents save automatically as well, so there is less chance of students losing their work from not saving.
I use Google Classroom in a variety of ways in all of my classes. It is great for “flipped classrooms” where I post videos or websites with content and ask the students to learn content at home and come to class prepared to have a discussion on the content. Almost daily we discuss current events in the world. Any pictures, articles, or short video clips on the current events we discuss are put on the stream so that students can revisit the information. Web quests are super easy to set up. For example, I can link four websites on the Residential School system in Canada and have the students explore the links and gather information from the sites. (or I can have the students find the websites themselves and share with the class). I can have trivia competitions with the students as they gather information. For example, I had students gather information about the Rwandan Genocide online; I then posted questions about the genocide on the stream. The students had a competition on who could find the correct answer first. There are other ways to utilize Google Classroom, however I worry that this post is too long already. I encourage you all to explore this app when you have an opportunity. It has certainly become a part of my classroom routine.