DISCOVERe: Day 2 Reflection – Google Education
Although I have been using Google Drive, Google Apps, and Google Classroom in my teaching for a few years already, today I did learn a variety of little tidbits that I am excited to incorporate into my teaching. As I wrote in my previous day’s reflection, mobile technology’s potential for formative assessment remains in the foreground of my technological radar, and I believe the entire Google Education Suite is endlessly valuable to this end. Today, however, I am seeing some ways in which the Google Education Suite can help me be more efficient and expedient as an instructor, freeing me from administrative tasks and allowing me to invest more of my time and energy in helping my students make meaning from course material.
The primary benefit I’m seeing with the Google Education Suite is its ability to help me be more efficient and expedient through delegation which, incidentally, touches on flipped classroom pedagogy. This fall I will have 5 sections of English 5A, and if they all maintain full capacity, I will have 125 first-year writing students. Old feedback and assessment methodology would look something like this: I would assign a writing activity or assignment; my students would produce a draft; they would then turn that draft in; I would read each and every draft, commenting where I felt the student could use some guidance; and I would return those drafts to my students. This process would likely repeat for a second or final draft. Using Google Classroom as a distribution platform, Google Forms as a scaffold for feedback, and Google Sheets to manage data, however, will allow me to exponentially expedite this process while also enabling my students to generate meaningful feedback for each other as well, ultimately redefining the feedback and assessment portions of the classroom writing process.
Using Google Classroom, I can distribute all of the materials my students need in order to generate feedback for their peers. This will primarily include a pool of drafts collected in a shared Google Drive folder and a form which they will use to submit their feedback and assessment notes. The form allows me to scaffold how the students leave feedback for each other as well as set minimum length requirements to further insure that they are leaving substantial feedback for each other. Once all of the data is collected in the associated Google Sheet, I can simply mail merge the data back to each student. If I were to assign each student two papers for which to leave feedback, my 125 students will generate 250 feedback items, and with mail merge technology, they will receive that feedback within a day of having submitted it rather than after a week or two depending on my workload. Finally, this allows me to see exactly what kinds of feedback my students are providing to each other. I believe students will gain valuable insights about their own writing with how they’re assessing each other’s writing, and this will be an extension of their understanding about how their writing will be assessed by me. Finally, since I can read all of the feedback they’re leaving for each other, I can engage in writing instruction on both the drafting and peer feedback sides of the writing coin, something traditional writing process feedback methodology could not do.