While exploring the applications from the seriously old article about Web 2.0 apps (7 years is more than 3 lifetimes considering Moore’s law), I decided to read more about Google applications. I chose this as my district already is subscribed, and my students already have an account and use Gmail and Google Docs. They have access to the other applications such as calendar, Google Drive, etc but rarely use them. I was one of the first teachers in my district to have students use the Google suite of apps, and have been searching for a way to make the use of these applications more seamless into what we already do. The problem seems to be that my district has too many applications and platforms to choose from and both students and staff become overwhelmed by the number of websites, log ins, or knowing which platform to use in a given situation.
Consider the following list: Sapphire grading suite, Parent Portal, Google Drive, student drive on district server, Blackboard classes through blended schools, Study Island, and a list of web based applications such as Quizlet, textbook publisher web sites, etc. It is overwhelming and hard to implement seamlessly, especially as no two teachers use the same combination of above apps and platforms.
In my exploring of Google, I read that they were implementing something called Google Classrooms starting in August that will allow teachers to seamlessly use all of the Google suite of apps in addition to grading and uploading teacher created content. If I had one platform that I would recommend to any student regardless of learning style, I think it may be this one, which I will detail below, as it has the ability to support any learning style. According to Google, “Classroom is a new tool coming to Google Apps for Education later in 2014. Classroom will let teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. Classroom will help students organize their work in Google Drive, complete and turn in assignments, and communicate directly with teachers and peers”.
To me that is what a good application or platform should be; not something that radically changes what we do, but quietly and efficiently enhances what we do. I’m looking forward to August and think I will spend time playing with Google Classrooms and see if it is something that will help me as a teacher, giving me time to do what I do best; teach!