We have many options to organize curriculum and course material for our students. Teachers present material, ask students to perform a task, then collect the product and anything else observable and give feedback. We collaborate with students throughout the process of creating.
Verbally, on a whiteboard, or on lined paper in handwriting are the fundamentals. We can introduce technology to help organize and clarify the fundamentals: print formatted documents, use photocopiers, and then integrate some form of a submission, collection, folder and filing system.
I can help as the Computer Instructional Specialist with word document software and helpdesk.lrhsd.org can help with the printer hardware. Filing is up to you and the cabinet.
We’re lucky to have so many technology options and support in 2015 (standing on the shoulders of giants, technology has come a long way), most teachers have some form of a website to assist in the process of learning.
On the most advanced side, I love collaborating with teachers who have online classrooms, we can inspire our colleagues with lesson ideas and push the boundaries of online learning and bring your own device. I can provide advice and support if you want the easiest system for online learning, or some blend of whatever works for you.
For beginners, my best advice is to identify all the frequently asked questions you receive as a teacher, then develop a resource page that helps answer those questions. I found that videos or specific directions in the style of a wiki help with this. Check out my CIS resource page. I send links to the answers via email when it’s a frequently asked question.
It’s been 10 years since Google Docs started the process of live editing word documents on the web according to wikipedia. I’ve been using it in class officially for 9 of the 10 years. Many of us are familiar with Google Drive’s basic features and it’s ability to replace the Microsoft Office software suite. Most of us are using it’s sharing and commenting features, which make it very powerful for collaboration and feedback.
For the past 4 years LRHSD has been officially connected to Google Apps for Education; LR teachers and students log in with LR email address and current password, then off we go!
Disclaimer: Google is one of the largest companies on Earth and many schools and universities are using the service. We have no guarantee that the service will last forever. We also have to have a plan for students and any data that will be in their portfolio for college and career. Once students graduate from LRHSD their user accounts are deleted. That being said, in my opinion, it’s still my choice and the very best option for teachers and students.
Currently, and most notably, Google Classroom (launched last year) integrates with Google Drive and creates a simple “stream” to send and collect assignments, questions and announcements. Students get alerts in their student email when teachers post in Classroom and they see what has been posted sequentially in the stream when they log in. Creating “template” assignments, sending copies to students, collecting them and giving feedback (even graded point values) to the students in the class is a breeze. It’s all archived in the Drive in folders giving you the ability to simply sort and reuse all your work.
Just this week Google released integration with Google Calendar, making the system complete in my opinion. Students can log in, go to their Calendar and see a complete list of all assignments and due dates to all their classes that use Classroom.
In my opinion it makes sense for anyone comfortable with trying new technology to give Classroom a try. To see a list of current LRHSD users for inspiration and support, click here. I can see a future with all teachers gravitating to Google Classroom. It would make it easy for a student to log in and see all their classes, assignments, and announcements in one place.
My setup is as follows (…this year! It changes every year!):
Major Daily Use:
- Google Classroom as the starting point for every activator, summarizer, and lesson (Bring your own device should work well, do you guys have any feedback on this?). Connects with Google Drive and alerts via LRHSD email. Check out this review for the basic functions. I think it’s the bees knees.
- Google Sites (wiki template) for all instructional support. I post all my “frequently asked question” answers here. Most times it’s a video detailing a multi-step process or solution.
- Youtube for all instruction video uploads. Interested in making tutorials? I can help you.
- Google Calendar for lesson planning, scheduling and sharing with students. Classroom is integrated with Calendar, automatically posting assignments in a sortable, color coded by class, calendar view; it speeds up the process!
Minor Daily Use/Periodic Updates:
Used to use:
- Eboard for grandfathered support and training. EBoards are no longer given to new teachers.
- Quia for quizzes and tests. LRHSD pays for the service. Keeps all your questions for future use and updates. No longer use due to performance exams and portfolio products being a better assessment in my classes.
- Schoolwires for classroom management, has apps similar to Google Classroom (assignment app creates assignments, links to Schoolwires calendar, no submission options, no feedback options, no grading options), but much less user friendly and less ability to collaborate and give feedback with students.
- iOS apps for specific tasks, we ran an iPad pilot program for 2 years and concluded that website based integration was easier than app based integration. In my opinion, “bring your own device” and connect to any teacher website (because it is more universal) is the way to go.
I will post updates to this list of core websites supported by LRHSD, especially if comments below are discussing other options that we are using. Please start the discussion here, or even better, join my Showcase Google Classroom-
Shawnee HS PD.
If you would like to join the Showcase Classroom and follow along please:
- Go to classroom.google.com
- Sign in using your LR Email address( firstname.lastname@example.org) and password
- Join as a teacher
- Go to “+” button top right and click “join class”.
- enter the class code: 1teiuxa