ARRRGGHHH! That’s what you could hear me screaming one Sunday night last month. I was hoping to set up my students on Doctopus, so that I could send out a document, but our grading program wouldn’t let me download their email addresses. Just when I was about to throw my computer out the window, I remembered an email that I received about joining Google Classroom.
Each year, I “fall in love” with some new technology program that makes my teaching life easier. Two years ago, it was Edmodo. Last year, it was Doctopus. This year, I have fallen in love with Google Classroom. Not only was it easy to set up (obviously, since I was able to figure it out one Sunday night), but it is much easier than Doctopus. I didn’t need to upload any email addresses; I received a classroom code much like Edmodo. My students were able to sign up on their own.
The greatest part about Google Classroom is that it creates a template of your assignment for you and you are able to send it out within seconds. Your students don’t have to “share” the document with you, nor make a copy of the document that you send them. It also gives you the choice, like Doctopus, whether you want students to be able to just view the document, edit it as whole class, or allow each student to write on it individually.
I also love that students have to “turn in” their assignment on the Google Doc once they are finished. This way, you aren’t grading a paper before the student has fully completed it. At a glance, you can also see how many students have completed the assignment and who hasn’t. Once they have “turned it in,” the student loses editing rights so that no further changes can be made.
You can leave them a grade and comments, and it will email the student to let them know their assignment is graded. When you “return” the assignment to them, it gives them the ownership back. I love this part because they are able to make the changes and “resubmit” it to raise their grade with the changes that the teacher has recommended.
Students can view upcoming assignments, along with assignments that are also late now.
There is also a place to put announcements for students, but since I use Edmodo for communicating with my students, I don’t use this feature.
Of course, every program isn’t perfect. I wish that there was a timer on when I can send out an assignment, like there is on Edmodo. In other words, I could set it up now, but it wouldn’t send it out to the students for another two days. I wish that I was notified that a student resubmitted their assignment for another check in from me. I also wish that I could create small groups, so that I could differentiate a little more with the assignments. Maybe there is a way to do all of this, and I just haven’t learned it yet, but if there isn’t, can someone contact Google for me? :)
I’m sorry, Doctopus, but our love affair is officially over. I appreciate the joy that you brought me last year, and but I am moving on. It isn’t you, it’s me (the dreaded break-up line)! I just need to move on with my life.
Edmodo? You are still number one in my teaching life. You let me send text messages to my parents and students. You let me keep a library of notes for my students. You also give a place for our students to collaborate and ask each other questions. Even Google Classroom can’t replace you.
So, instead of throwing your computer out the window, be open to trying new ideas. Who knows? You might fall in love with a new program to make your life easier.