S'Cool Tools Edsurge Google Classroom Product Review

What product are you writing about?

Google Classroom

What was the problem in your classroom or school that you were trying to solve when you implemented this product?

Several challenges; I teach middle and high school Spanish. I move between classrooms and buildings every day. Time is precious and organization is key. I implemented GC to improve my handout and resource sharing, as well as students' assignment submission workflow. To reduce my time spent grading, I moved my formative assessments to google forms/sheets, using goobric and doctopus: add ons. Additionally I decided to implement GC as the method for sharing formative assessments with students.

Describe how you used the product.

I use GC to assign homework, short in-class projects, youtube videos for notes, as well as formative assessments in my class.

What worked and what didn't?

GC solved problems, and created unexpected new challenges. GC made it convenient to have student work turned in and automatically organized on my Google Drive. I now have access to all of my students' work anywhere on campus. One unexpected challenge I encountered is with regards to an increased amount of time spent on inserting information into online calendars and entering grades twice. My district uses Infinite Campus and our K-12 school’s calendar is through Edline (Blackboard). This means I’m entering calendar dates three times: once on GC, once on Infinite Campus when uploading grades, and once on Edline. This was a time drain. Another challenge is assigning multimedia projects. I would like to assign voicethread videos, glogsters, podcast recordings, and online animations. Students were blocked in uploading these kinds of multimedia to GC. It is easiest to push a google doc and then have students turn in their copy instead of uploading various file forms.

GC solved the problem of assigning formative assessments seamlessly, which was a problem I wanted to solve. As I have continued to use GC, however, I want to support my students' ability to reflect on their personal growth.  The user experience misses the mark here, because in a way it has become a storage portfolio for their projects and assessments. If student-created portfolios are to be a place where students monitor their growth, then ideally their “turn-in” process should be linked with the tools that empower their reflection. I would love to see more SEL (social/emotional learning) in my students' digital world.

I'm moving to a website based portfolio system next year where students will track their progress and "turn in" assignments simply by posting to their own webpages and reflecting directly on that page. I'm also trying Kiddom as a growth-based monitoring platform with Google Drive integration. Kiddom appears more aligned with the American Council for Teaching Foreign Language’s (ACTFL) world language proficiency standards and has more tools for monitoring growth, both from the student and teacher perspective.

Additionally, with GC, I can’t post assignments ahead of time to a class page because they are automatically visible to students. This forces me to post assignments on a daily schedule instead of organizing the unit in GC ahead of time. McGraw Hill's Connect (Language specific online system that goes with Connect textbook used in Higher Ed) has a "hide" feature for assignments that are pushed to students on their online platform. It’s a useful feature that allows me to curate assignments, hiding some while sharing others. This was critical when using GC to distribute formative assessments. Real-time posting means manually timing assignment release, rather than GC doing it automagically.

Overall, GC was net positive for my MS/HS multiple classrooms split teaching. Next year I plan to use GC to share rubrics, collect presentational writing, and share formative assessments. I intend to replace the “turn in” feature with student portfolio websites for assignment submission and student growth tracking.

lxd, k12, LMSTara Gilboa