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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

6 of my top tips for Creating a Digital Classroom with Google Apps

  Technology is more and more popular in classrooms, but teachers don’t always know how to bring more technology into their classrooms. Today I am going to show you how you can easily bring more technology into your classroom and make your students excited about learning!

     The first thing I encourage teachers to implement is Google Classroom. This app makes it easy to create a virtual classroom and invite your students in. Once your students are in your class, you can easily create assignments for them. You are able to see what work your students have and haven't completed. You can also grade their work in the app and return it to them. Parents can also view their child’s work and see what has been completed and what work still needs to be turned in. Google Classroom allows teachers to seamlessly assign, collect, and grade work. 

     The next app on the list is Google Docs. This an excellent app to allow students to create all the different writing assignments they have. In my classroom, I have students publish all of their writing throughout the year on Google Docs. This keeps a record of their work and it also allows them to work on their typing skills using real world applications rather than just typing on a typing program. Publishing on Google Docs gives students a reason to be typing, and they are working on those typing skills and don’t even realize it! There is so much typing now on the state tests and students need to be given opportunities to practice their typing skills. Another thing I love about all of the Google apps, but especially Google Docs, is that students can work together on one document from their own devices. As students are typing they will each have their own cursor with a different color. As a teacher, it is also great to be able to see revision history so you can see what students were typing and what they deleted. Google Docs can also show you if the student typed up the document word by word, or if they just copied and pasted the entire document. 

     The next Google app on the list is Google Forms. This is a great app that lets you collect data from your students. One way that I did this in my classroom was to do check ins with my students. Each morning, as part of our morning routine, the students would fill out the Google Form to let me know how they were doing. All of the data from the form automatically goes into the spreadsheet, which makes it easy to see the data from the Form. Google Forms also allows you to create quizzes for your students. They can even be self correcting so your students know right away how they did. The quizzes feature can be used for practice, quizzes, and tests. Google Forms can also be used to collect data from parents. I love to use a Google Form when I need to collect information from parents! A perfect time to do this is at the start of the school year when you need to collect all of that important information about families and students. 


     The next app on the list is Google Slides. This app is wonderful for presentations! I love to have my students use slides to create presentations for different topics we are studying. I enjoy seeing their creativity with pictures and writing on the slides. The students love to then share what they learned and created with their classmates. Google Slides are also a great way to have students practice different ELA and Math skills. You can create a document in Power Point and then save them as photos. The photos can then be put in the background of the Google Slides so students can type on top of it. When the pictures are set as the background, students are not able to delete the content that you as the teacher created in the photo. 

     Next on the list is Google Sites. This app allows you to create a website through the Google Chrome platform. I love to use this as a website for my families! This is the hub of our classroom, and parents or students can always come to this site when they have questions about our class or need to find a detail about something. I have my site published for the public so my families can get to it without being on our school network. I also have a link to it in my email signature so parents can quickly find it. The other thing I love to use Google Sites for is student portfolios. Because students are doing so much work through Google apps, it's easy for them to connect their work to the site. At the start of the year, the students create sections on the site for each subject we do in class. Students then add the work they are proud of to the different sections. As students get older, they can add to the portfolios each year. When they are ready to graduate they have a record of all their work throughout the years. For their portfolios, I leave them as private so only people in our school network can view them. Students can use these portfolios to talk to their parents about their learning at our student led conferences. 

     The last Google app on the list is probably the most important of all the apps. Finally, we are going to talk about Google Drive. Drive is where all of your documents are housed. When you create a document in any of the apps, Google puts it in your Drive. You can also upload any documents to your Drive to keep a backup copy for you. One thing I love about Drive is that when you use Google Classroom and you create an assignment, Drive automatically creates a folder for you to keep all your students' work. The students have a copy in their Drive, and a copy is also made for your Drive. No more losing work for your students! There is always a copy for you. 

     Google apps are a great way to create a digital classroom. Google apps allows you to organize your students work and helps you to organize parent information as well. Google has made it so eady for educators. What Google app are you going to try first? 

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