Google Classroom for the win!

16 Nov

This week, we were asked to choose, and use, an assessment technology that is new to us in our classrooms. Although not new to me as a classroom productivity suite and Web 2.0 tool, I chose to focus on the assessment aspect of Google Classroom, which I have never used before.

I have been using Google Classroom in a very basic and limited way for the past couple of years. I have mostly used it in my Phys.Ed/Wellness classes to post assignments that we were working on outside of the gym, especially assignments that we were using technology for. I have found it very easy to set up, post assignments to, and I love that students can access it from anywhere if needed. Students have the ability to turn assignments in, and then I am able to easily open and assess these assignments.

However, all I have really been doing is marking them on the screen – usually while making notes on paper – and then just simply entering that mark in gradebook. When I hand back the paper copy rubric – usually not in the gym (they lose so many papers in there..) it is not timely feedback, nor do they have their assignment in front of them. Also, if students hand things in late on google classroom, after I had finished marking, I didn’t know, unless I was constantly going back and checking. As I had only been using it for single assignments – I am not going to lie, checking google classroom is something I would forget to do. This has been a major downfall of google classroom in my eyes, and honestly, I haven’t really “bought in” to using it fully.

As I happened to have an assignment set up on google classroom in the past week, I decided that I want to explore and use the assessment pieces of google classroom. My Wellness 10 students were writing a “Letter to No One” as part of our Mental Health unit. If you haven’t heard of the Understand Us – an amazing local organization in Regina which is passionate about starting and keeping going positive conversations about mental health – please please check them out!!

I have heard my English teacher colleagues speak super highly of being able to provide immediate feedback and comment and highlight right on students’ essays or other work, and I wanted to play around with feature. Once I opened up a student’s letter, I found this commentating feature super easy to do. I also found out that you could create a bank of generic comments that you can quickly enter in. How neat is that?!

Students are able to see these comments immediately, and if needed, make necessary changes or use the feedback I provided to improve in the future. This ability to provide immediate feedback is such a powerful part of assessment technology, and is one of the way technology enhances assessment as described in our required reading this week.

I also hadn’t ever actually entered the marks students received in google classroom before. By doing this, I found it not only kept google classroom more organized for me – I could see exactly who’s had been marked and who’s hadn’t – and also who handed things in after I had marked the assignment. I found that upon receiving their marks on google classroom, the next day I had more questions from students about whether they could make changes based on my feedback and resubmit, and also those who hadn’t handed it in had an urgency of completing it that I hadn’t seen before. It is clear that the timeliness of the assessment technology was impactful for both myself and the students.

I can’t even pretend that I have scratched the surface of how you can use google classroom for assessment purposes. I know you can create quizzes and polls, and I think it could be very useful for not only summative types of assessment as this, but also formative assessment. I have yet to use google classroom with my math classes, as I find students struggle to use computers with writing or completing math equations. I would be interested to hear from any math teachers who are using google classroom at the high school level for assessment!?

As I think about math especially, and formative assessment, my goal in the future is to play around more with Flipgrid. Aside from using it for our introductions in classes with Alec, I have yet to use it with my students. After reading Jana’s blog post, I am more excited than ever to introduce this to my students and use for formative assessment in my Math 9 class.

As a teacher who considers myself fairly tech savvy, and passionate about helping my students become better digital citizens, I still do have a lot of room for growth in how I use technology in my classroom for assessment. As Jana said… #assessmentgoals!

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