Teaching; Redefined

For months, I have been anxiously awaiting the launch of #GoogleClassroom. A platform that allows teachers to create, distribute and grade assignments with ease. It offered a solution to my biggest challenge as a primary teacher. This week, I felt like a kid at Christmas. And finally, it’s here and so far, has not disappointed.

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The 2013-2014 school year was a defining year in my teaching career. With the support and encouragement of my Principal I began to explore the use of iPads in the classroom. My students were incredibly patient and together we learned more than I would have ever anticipated. September began with us cautiously exploring Explain Everything in order to share Animal Reports. By June, my iPad experts had mastered the use of several apps and used theses with ease to create, collaborate and present their work. From QR codes, to Augmented Reality, KidBlog, Twitter and Book Creator; they had become confident, engaged learners and risk takers. They recognized that digital technology is one way to assist them in their learning journey.

These two girls are completing the same task, in the format they are most comfortable with. One using Educreations  and the other a chalk board.
These two girls are completing the same task, in the format they are most comfortable with. One using Educreations and the other a chalk board.

My biggest frustration all year was transferring student work from their device to mine. Edmodo and KidBlog were both useful to a point, but each had their limitations. I began to research possible solutions, and our school developed a Tech Troubleshooting Team. There just wasn’t one easy solution.

And then came Google Classroom. Finally. A place to assign tasks to all students, to collect work (even projects created in book Creator!) and to grade work. The answer to the problems that educators across the globe had encountered. And I couldn’t be more excited. I’m aware that there will still be a learning curve involved, but after seeing the growth and potential of my students last year I am confident that my new group will be able to navigate our Google Classroom with ease in no time at all.

Each year I am excited to begin the new school year; anticipating all that we will learn together and I must say, this year the excitement is compounded. Our classroom is no longer confined to the four walls in our building, and our learning is longer defined by the ringing of the school bell.

 

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