Monday, October 7, 2013

Google Apps for Education for Students

This week will start week 2 of introducing Google Apps for Education to 6th grade students at my school. When I am teaching the lesson, I am scheduled for 80 minutes for each class.  (We have block periods, so this definitely is an advantage).  I need every  minute of the period to go over what I need to teach.  The students are responsive and engaged during my lesson and are able to follow my instructions successfully.  In addition, the classroom teacher is in the room which is very helpful, especially if there are technical problems.

The students are not only learning Google Apps, but they are learning additional concepts such as:

  • using Google Chrome
  • Bookmarks
  • Minimize and Maximize the window
  • tabs
  • refreshing the browser session
  • their login information 
  • the purpose of each component in their email/username
  • the URL address of the domain
  • cloud storage
  • Troubleshooting concepts 
Because the student's email/username is so long, it seems like the login procedure takes up the most time. Some issues are, students may not typing the correct information, students may not added into the domain, or there is a conflict with the email/username due to a sibling in the system. Once they are logged in, the lesson seems to go rather quickly.  I briefly go over the apps that are available on our domain. However, the majority of my lesson is using Google Drive and creating documents.

When the students login to their Google account and go to their Drive, they will have 3 folders assigned to them by each teacher.  This folder structure was created using a script called gClassFolders.  Each student has a Subject -View folder, Subject- Edit folder, and a Subject - Name Assignment folder.  

The Purpose of each Folder:
  • The Subject- View folder is a folder the teacher uses to give out worksheets, assignments, rubrics, etc.  Anything that you needed to copy and hand out to students, can simply be copied into the view folder and all of the students will receive the file.  It will be read-only and it is shared with the whole class.
  • The Subject - Edit folder - is a folder the teacher uses to allow students to collaborate with each other as a whole class. The files will be shared and updated during real time collaboration.
  • The Subject -Name Assignment folder - is a folder used as a dropbox, or the bin for the students to turn in completed work.  The folder is only shared between the student and the teacher only.
In addition, they have to create a Work in Progress folder, which will contain all of their files they are working on, or not done with yet.  When they complete the work in this folder, they will have to move the file into the assignment folder, in which the teacher will grade. 

During my lesson, I allow the students to create a document in the Work in Progress folder, and move it to the assignment folder to hand in to their teacher. I also have the teacher create a practice assignment, and allow the students to view it, make a copy of it, modify it, then move it into the assignment folder.  I model these instructions so the students understand the workflow.

In addition to this workflow, I teach them to make sure their Drive is organized by modeling deleting files, moving files, creating folders and sub-folders, renaming files, naming conventions, and much more.

After I introduce the domain to the rest of the pilot classes, I will re-visit the classrooms again to go over more concepts such as, sharing documents, real time collaboration, presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and Google Calendar. 

Since my school is a 1:1 environment, I will be able to introduce the offline version of Google Drive.  This will allow them to learn about about syncing their files if they are not able to connect to the Internet.  

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