Google Suites & More

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My school division does there very best to provide us teachers with as much technology as they can! In my own classroom, I have 5 Ipads, and two computers and a projector. In addition, my school has 4 computer carts in which teachers can sign out through a google doc—-which is funny, because google docs is going to be the main topic of this weeks blog! With technology we do have available to us, I have used google classroom in the past.

I have really really enjoy enjoyed using google classroom for many reasons. I used it mostly when I taught grade 7/8 however did have some of my grade ¾ class use it.  First, students loved going online and doing their work. The idea of going on a laptop instead of doing an assignment on on helped students be more engaged. Even if it was a topic or subject they did not enjoy, they would still put some effort into because it was on the “computer”. Next, I taught in a community school and many of the children I taught had learning difficulties. Many including writing. Google classroom helped them get their ideas down as they were able to type it, rather than struggle with writing it on paper. As well, students who had trouble with reading, there is something called read and write. Read and write will actually read what’s on the page to the students. This element was extremely helpful for those struggling readers.  Third, I was able to easily keep track of students work. Tracking the progress of students work and seeing where students are at was definitely a bonus. I used this information to either give students additional support, or to make something more challenging. In addition, when it came to marking, I could easily locate it and see who has completed the assignment as well who not. Lastly, I use google docs myself. I am a huge fan of it and have used it most of my university career. I liked that I could access my documents and presentation from any device. Overall, I have enjoyed what Google Suites has had to offer to me personally, as well my students!

In saying that, I would really like to try new types of technology in the classroom. In our own course prototype, we use something called Kidsblog. Kyla give a great description of it in her own blog. She describes it by saying:

Kidblog provides K-12 teachers with tools to safely publish student writing. Teachers can monitor all activity within a community of authors. Posts can even be public, but nothing goes live until a teacher approves it. Kidblog empowers students to write with a meaningful purpose for a real audience. Connect with other classes down the hallway, across your district, or around the world. Students practice digital citizenship within a secure environment. KidBlog is a new resource we have not accessed so we wanted to use something that was safe, free, and easily accessible for our students” (Kyla)

I think this would be an awesome tool to use!! I love blogging myself, so teaching my students how to blog is something I can see myself doing!

Flipgrid is another cool tool that I have used in a couple courses with Alec. One of my favourite parts about this tool in term of online learning is that it’s a great way to put a face to a name, and really get to know someone in an online format. Sapna discusses flip grid in her post this week and she described it really well. “FlipGrid is an easy way to pose a question and have people respond via videos. It can be used within many of the most widely used LMSs, so students do not have to set up a separate account on FlipGrid or navigate to a different place. Finally assigned teachers will give feedback and provide guides by tracing each students’ Flipgrid video” (Sapna).

Overall, I think online blended learning is super important important, as well incorporating some aspects of blended learning into a general style classroom. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives if the technology is used properly in the class.

Thanks for reading:) I looking forward to reading your post this week.

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