The tool that I have been studying is helpful for both teachers and students but more so for teachers. Google Classroom serves as a place where teachers can communicate with students about everything that is happening in the classroom. Teachers can post all the assignments there, have discussions and post links to websites that he or she wants students to visit for any particular reason. From what I have been able to see and hear from people that use it, they like this tool more than say the website the school provides just because students can turn in assignments through GC and the excuse “I lost it the paper” is gone. Another big reason why I like GC is because this also provides a source for parents to know exactly what is going on in the classroom.
To have access to Google Classroom an education based email is needed. To start you simply can type Google Classroom on the Google home page. Once you get to Classroom you will be given the option to add classes. Clicking on the plus sign on the top right corner gives you the option to either join a class or create a class. As a teacher one would click create a class and as a student one would click join a class. The cool thing is that you can create a class for all of the periods you have in order to help keep track of your students and also stay more organized. Each class that a teacher creates comes with a different code that can then be given to the students to join the classroom. As a student you have access to a calendar where all the assignments are posted to help stay more organized.
Teachers can create different types of post/assignments for students. A question can be created where students can comment, similar to a blog, or simple multiple choice questions. Students can be allowed to respond to one another if the teacher wants some sort of collaboration. Teachers can also create an assignment, whether it is a worksheet, a video or a PowerPoint they have to create. Both questions and assignments can be posted with a due date and also can be assigned to a specific topic, for example Quadratic equations or Systems of Linear Equations. Once these posts are made by the teacher than they are placed in the calendar that students have access to.
Google Classroom is very user friendly. If anyone still have more questions you can simply research to find help. I would also recommend using other resources, like Pinterest, to see what other educators are doing with this tool and you might find something that you like.
Here is a video that also helps go through the process.
In 2014, the New York Times published an article that talked about an interview they had with the senior vice president of people operations for Google done by Thomas Friedman. Thomas had the opportunity to ask Laszlo Bock what it took to get hired at Google. In schools, we are preparing our students to go to college and from there get a job after graduation. The reason for that is that in order to get a good job you need to have a great GPA, go to college and graduate. Brock however determine that GPAs are not what determines whether or not a person can get a job or not, especially at Google. What Google is looking for is are your personal traits not things you learned in school. From other articles and videos about education that I have looked into, the majority compare the education system to some sort of factory that produces machines. We teach our kids the same thing every year but we haven't realized that companies and people who hire are also looking for other skills. Brock mentioned that they love when people have leardership skills and are not afraid to share the power and responsibility. Another great trait to have is to not be afraid of failure. Helping students being open to trying things and sometimes possibly failing is something that as a teacher I make sure my students do in my classroom. At a conference I went to recently, one of the speakers talked about an observation he did were a teacher would automatically shout wrong whenever a student gave a wrong answer. If as teachers we are embarassing them instead of helping them learn from their mistakes and try again then when it comes time for them to apply for a job, this is not a skill that they will have mastered. Brock said "Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it)."
Friedman, Thomas. (2014, February 22). How to Get a Job at Google.
Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-get-a-job-at-google.html?_r=2
The article linked above talks about the experience a veteran teacher got after she shadowed two students, from different grade levels, for one day each. The school that she worked at hired her as a learning coach suggested that she try this experiment where she would shadow two students, one 10th grade and one 12th grade, and participate in all the activities throughout the school day. The goal for this was for her to feel what it is to be a student and learn strategies that can be provided to teachers to improve their teaching. Reading how boring a class can be for a student, especially when the tecaher lectures the whole day, is one of the things that are being avoided in Math classrooms at my school site. Because of this idea and Common Core, students now have the opportunity to engage in the material more and do a lot more of group activities rather than just sitting there listening to the teacher.
Because of the district pacing guides, Math teachers have to try and stay on track and not fall behind. However, with any lesson at any moment students can fall behind and as math teachers we need to be sure that everyone understand the concept before we move forward since everything that will follow that topic would just build from that. We fall behind and need to catch up. Coming up with fun activitites that can move away from the teacher just lecturing is hard at times of the semester. For this semester, I have learned to include a lot of group discussion time throughout the lessons that way students do get that break from the teacher just talking. Every time I do that I do see a difference in the students engagement versus when those discussions are not present as much throughout the lesson. With my personal experiences, I agree with all the tips that this teacher said she would be willing to try.
Wiggins, Grant. (2014, October 14). A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days- a sobering lesson learned.
Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/
Changing Education Paradigms
Sir Ken Robison created an animated video that explains what our education system is right now and how we should change it. Our education system was designed hundreds of years ago and the way he describes it as a factory. Schools work with bells that let students know what they are supposed to do next and how much time they have, there are separate facilities for each subject and we educate them by batches. We put them through the system in groups depending on their age and this makes it seem that the most important thing kids have is that they are the same age. However when we get out to the real world, we learn to work with other people that are not necessarily our age group and great things are created from it. In our schools we are also teaching children that they is only one answer to every question, not letting them be creative and express their thinking, and that answer is the one that is in the back of the book. If you look at that answer though it is cheating, if you work with others it is also cheating thus giving kids the idea that they must work alone. But yet again when anyone is out in the real world you are encouraged to work with others and that is called collaboration.
As an educator, one of the things that I was taught over and over was that every student learns in a different way, each have their own learning style and that as a teacher we should adapt our lessons so that we can meet all those learning styles. Personally I like to learn by seeing things but also by working in groups. The majority of students, because of the world we live in today, like to learn and work in groups and I think that is because of the impact that technology has had in their lives. The internet and social media is part of their lives and there isn't anything we can do to stop that. So instead of fitting them about that, let's learn to incorporate it in our classrooms. Encourage students to work in groups and to use all their resources so that they do get the opportunity to collaborate with one another and with others that are out of their age group in order to "break those factory lines". Instead of punishing students for getting distracted from our boring teaching with things that are part of their life, technology tools and internet, let's incorporate those distractions into our lesson to make our boring teaching interesting.
Alfa, Escola. (2011, Februrary 19). RSA Animate- Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ATCqh-OjSuw?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
Instagram I Love You
Casey Neistat made a video where he talks about his favorite social media application, Instagram. Instagram is an application where you can share different pictures or videos with your friends. Just like we have Instagram, we also have Twitter and Facebook. Neistat mentions that Twitter is a great place to connect with people but you are limited to what you can share, down to 140 characters. Facebook has now just become a place where people post nonsense stuff and sometimes you do not even know or remember who you have as friends. One thing that Neistat said when he was explaining his love for Instagram was that each person can create a theme about what they want their page to be and express that theme with a variety of pictures and videos. Mostly everyone uses it to post about certain moments of their lives, using it like a digital photo album.
Now, how does this video relate to our classrooms? Well, one thing I loved and I think can be applied to our classrooms is that every one can create their theme. In my classrooms I see how every student is unique and how each one brings something different to the classroom. Encouraging kids to be themselves is like asking them to create their theme when using Instagram. This application can also be incorporated into the classroom. One way that I as a teacher could use this could be to create a class page and record moments of the class and post them, especially when we do a cool project that we want to show off. In a math classroom, due to Common Core, students are now asked to discover each topic on their own. If I were to get a student who solved something in a new way or awesome way, their work could also be posted for parents and other students to see. Just like teachers display their students' work all around their classroom they could do the same but posting it on social media. I think that if my students saw that I do not run away from technology or social media, it would give them something that they could relate to and know that I encourage the use of social media and apply it to our classroom.
Caseyneistat. "Instagram I Love You." YouTube. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2016
A few ideas (Visions of Students)
The video above was created by Michael Wesch from Kansas University. This video is one that has no one standing in front of an audience giving a talk. The video is made up of different pictures, videos and the lives of different students. All these students describe what it means to be in school and express their feelings towards what needs to be changed. The school system was created so that the teacher was the one doing all the teaching and students would just listen, copy notes, practice work and then get tested. Sometimes it even felt that our schools were creating robots and that the only opinion that mattered was that of the instructor. Students were not allowed to be creative and had to do things the way the school wanted them to do. However we now are presented with all these advances of technology and both schools and educators need to change things up so that our students are being successful both in school and outside of school.
Students are now able to just Google a problem and most likely find the answers out there. One thing that teachers should work towards is creating a classroom where the students are engaged and where the problems can relate to them. With this we will have students excited to learn and to participate in class. In the video a clip of an article was shown that said "5,000 hours of their lives are spent reading, 10,000 are spent playing video games and 20,000 hours are spent watching TV". This is a perfect example of how much time students spend using different form of technology. Yes, reading is still crucial in schools but create tasks where the reading can be either related to their lives or a project that they can use the technology that they love to use. Shifting our methods to adapt to these technology natives will help get students back into caring about school. We have to encourage kids to be creative and attempt problems in whatever way they want instead of shutting them down when they have ideas and causing them to be afraid to be themselves. As a future educator, I will make sure that all of my students leave my classroom knowing that their ideas are important and have meaning.
Michael Wesch. (2011, Jun 18). "a few ideas..." (Visions of Students Today). YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/jrXpitAlva0?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
Hackschooling makes me happy
Logan LaPlante was a 13 year old boy when he was invited to do a TedTalk. This video was interesting first of all because educators do not always get the chance to hear from young people and what they are feeling in their lives.
Logan based his talk on what the real answer from every kid should be when they are asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?". I had never stopped and thought about how important this question really is to a child and what it actually means to them. As adults when we ask a child this we want an answer like an astronaut, a doctor, an architect or a police officer because we want kids to lean towards something that will help them make a living. However, Logan says that want kids really want is to learn how to make a life. When he was asked that same question, his answer was "I just want to be healthy and happy." but that is not the answer we are expecting. In our schools we are so focused on teaching kids how to learn math and science to help them make a living when they grow up. Students are more focused on being happy and healthy and not being bullied by anyone at school. So why can't we change things in our classrooms so that our basis in teaching comes from teaching kids how to be happy and healthy?
When he was nine years old Logan's mom took him out of the traditional school because she was worried what he was actually learning. She wanted him to learn how to be happy and healthy but at the same time learning math and science and history. With him not being in the traditional school he got to write about things he liked, not something the teacher wanted him to, learn math and science by experimenting with things related to skiing since he loved skiing. With him having the freedom to learn the main subjects however he wanted he was also getting the opportunity to learn how to be healthy and happy. I see this more often in classrooms now than before where teachers are trying to incorporate more projects into their classrooms and move away from the traditional classroom setting. With continuing to doing this and giving students the freedom to choose how they want to learn the material, we are also making the shift to teaching students how to be healthy and happy, how to make a life not a living.
LaPlante, Logan [Tedx Talks] (2013, February 12). Hackschooling makes me happy. [YouTube]