In my ongoing quest to find quality, worthwhile tools to integrate technology in the classroom, I recently decided to follow the lead of some my colleagues in my building and across the district and I registered my class for a Google Classroom account.
Google Classroom is a tool available through the Google Apps for Education suite that allows teachers to create and collect assignments electronically. This is hugely important for me for a couple of reasons:
- First, I am always looking for ways to cut down on the paper being generated in the classroom. While I want my students to be comfortable with writing with pencil and paper, but I also want them to use digital writing, too, so that we don’t go through thousands sheets of paper.
- Second, one of the technology standards for fourth graders is to type a one-page document in a single sitting. While there is currently considerable debate on what a “single sitting” constitutes, it is definitely important for them to have plenty of opportunities to build their stamina in typing.
While my main focus will be for students to type responses, Google Classroom will allow them to upload various file types, including all those created through Google Docs and any files saved on Google Drive. I had my class use Classroom for the first time this morning with their daily journal topic. Up until now, the topic had been written on the whiteboard and then each student would write a response on a notebook. With Classroom, the topic is posted on the site and then each student can type a response and share it directly with me via Drive. What makes it even better is that I can easily track which students have completed the assignment and which students are still working.
I’m excited to continue integrating Google Classroom and expanding our use of 21st Century technology tools in our room! I also hope that my students’ stamina will grow and their ability to use these tools accurately and efficiently.