Google Classroom is fantastically-easy, user-friendly Learning Dashboard. It allows educators to easily create groups to share announcements or assignments. It obviously integrates with Google Drive and YouTube but any files can be attached and shared to the group either a copy individually or a single copy issued (viewing or editing permissions can be set if collaborative) to be worked on collaboratively.
Students can then click a slider to notify the teacher when they have completed the task. They can also take part in a secure discussion with the group, either to share thoughts or ask questions to overcome misconceptions. It can be accessed from any location with an internet connection on any device that can connect to it.
I see it as a key tool in Blended Learning. I also see it as a teaching game changer. The formulaic Starter/ Introduction/ Development/ Plenary model of a lesson from the 1990’s is dead! It is finally realised that children have preferred places to achieve particular tasks. For example, if I was to watch an information video, I would rather do that on my sofa in my comfortable living room rather than at my office chair, restricted by my desk!
There is scope for the starter, introduction and plenary to be done away from the classroom, at home or any personal space in school that the pupil prefers. The only prerequisite is that it the starter and introduction tasks set by the facilitating teacher (not the Pulpit-ed, Sage-on-the-Stage, front of class Preacher) done before visiting the physical classroom where the application of the newly acquired knowledge or theory can take place. Google Classroom can play a major role in this for our school.
Firstly, as already mentioned, it allows the upload of video be it from Drive or YouTube and allows the child to click complete when done, notifying the teacher of its completion and by whom.
It has a secure chat facility that allows children to freely ask and reply to questions, notifying the teacher of new comments and replies. Only accessible from classroom members to provide an esafety and trust element.
This video may provide some inspiration:
A simple Blended Learning Starter/ Introduction/ Development/ Plenary model of a lesson.
Upload a video introducing the new topic or theory (NOT NECESSARILY DONE IN PHYSICAL CLASSROOM WITH ALL PRESENT FORMALLY). Children can discuss it via Classroom’s discussion board and formulate/ finalise their interpretation of the topic or theory viewed. They can click the slider to tell the teacher once they have seen it and Classroom will notify them whenever somebody has commented or replied on the discussion thread of that announcement or assignment.
Discussion either on school Learning Blog or Classroom to either share their formulated ideas, initial thoughts or developing opinions. A prime opportunity to ask questions to the community to develop everyone’s knowledge and overcome possible misconceptions. (NOT NECESSARILY DONE IN PHYSICAL CLASSROOM WITH ALL PRESENT FORMALLY)
Collaborative learning activity where students research online in groups and create an online project / blog. This could be done collaboratively using Google Docs fostering an ethos of teamwork, team planning with everyone having an integral role and whose input is required in order to complete the task. Possible differentiation; Guided Group session with fluid group who can join in part of the classroom and join discussion with teacher who can provide face-to-face learning that could help overcome the learning barrier. This utilises the teacher’s time and the pupils’ time advocating independent learning too.
Plenary (THIS CAN BE DONE AT ANY POINT, ANY NUMBER OF TIMES DURING THE LEARNING)
Online games to reflect on and consolidate learning. Post blog comment reflecting on new learning and replying to others or own blog. Possible blog opportunity to feed into Self Directed Learning project.
All of this promotes self-paced learning, where children take ownership of their learning decided when and more importantly where to watch it. A comfortable place conducive for good concentration.