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In EdSurge Case Studies, educators share their real-life experiences with edtech in their schools and classrooms.
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Jeanine, @msj9t
Teacher Grade 4, Longfellow Elementary, Compton Unified School District, California
Blended learning classroom, High ELL population, and Low income population

This school year students in grades 4 and up were required to complete a School Climate Survey for the LCAP & LCFF. Our administrator asked us to have the students complete ,using the link provided ,by a certain time. I have only four computers in the classroom and I did not have time to favorite the link in the browser..

Product Use: I just added the links, including the Spanish version, with the deadline date as an announcement in our Google Class. Students could complete the survey before or after finishing assigned academic tasks, during our computer lab visit or on classroom Ipads. My students do not use their district email as many do not have access to internet service at home. This was the best way to make sure each student had the oppourtunity to give their input

What Worked and What Didn't: I should have made it as an assignment so students could mark it done.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Aug 26, 2016 Provide Feedback
Anonymous
District digital assessment manager, Texas
1:1 devices, Bring your own devices (BYOD), College prep classroom, Project-based classroom, Blended learning classroom, High ELL population, and Low income population

Flipped learning with student engaging tools

Product Use: I created flipped lessons by embedding assessment questions in videos presenting the content

What Worked and What Didn't: What worked: The students were very responsive to the videos and were eager to share their thoughts in class; they retain more information prior to coming to class, and they could understand better how to apply it; we had more time to focus on the activities and the students who hadn’t completed the flipped assignment were quick to do it after the first couple of assignment because their peers had so much to say about the videos, that they became curious. What didn’t work great was the internet access for some students at home, as they were unable to complete the assigned lessons outside school and had to go to public internet providing locations.

Age Group: N/A (I am an administrator)

Jul 8, 2016 Provide Feedback
Tara
MS/HS Spanish Teacher, Peak to Peak Charter School, Colorado
Project-based classroom

Several challenges; I teach middle and high school Spanish. I move between classrooms and buildings every day. Time is precious and organization is key. I implemented GC to improve my handout and resource sharing, as well as students' assignment submission workflow. To reduce my time spent grading, I moved my formative and summative assessments to google forms/sheets, using goobric and doctopus: add ons. Additionally I decided to implement GC as the method for sharing assessments with students.

Product Use: I use GC to assign homework, short in-class projects, youtube videos for notes, as well as formative and summative assessments in my class.

What Worked and What Didn't: GC solved problems, and created unexpected new challenges. GC made it convenient to have student work turned in and automatically organized on my Google Drive. I now have access to all of my students' work anywhere on campus. One unexpected challenge I encountered is with regards to an increased amount of time spent on inserting information into online calendars and entering grades twice. My district uses Infinite Campus and our K-12 school’s calendar is through Edline (Blackboard). This means I’m entering calendar dates three times: once on GC, once on Infinite Campus when uploading grades, and once on Edline. This was a time drain.

Another challenge is assigning multimedia projects. I would like to assign voicethread videos, glogsters, podcast recordings, and online animations. Students struggled to upload these kinds of multimedia to GC. It is easiest to push a google doc and then have students turn in their copy instead of uploading various file forms.

GC solved the problem of assigning formative and summative assessments seamlessly, which was a problem I wanted to solve. As I've continued to use GC, however, I want to support my students' ability to reflect on their personal growth, using GC as a portfolio of their projects and assessments. The user experience misses the mark here. If student-created portfolios are to be a place where students monitor their growth, then ideally their “turn-in” process should be linked with the tools that empower their reflection. I would love to see more SEL (social/emotional learning) in my students' digital world. I'm moving to a website based portfolio system next year where students will track their progress and "turn in" assignments simply by posting to their own webpages and reflecting directly on that page. I'm also trying Kiddom as a growth-based monitoring platform with Google Drive integration. Kiddom appears more aligned with the American Council for Teaching Foreign Language’s (ACTFL) world language proficiency standards and has more tools for monitoring growth, both from the student and teacher perspective.

Additionally, with GC, I can’t post assignments ahead of time to a class page because they are automatically visible to students. This forces me to post assignments on a daily schedule instead of organizing the unit in GC ahead of time. McGraw Hill's Connect (Language specific online system that goes with Connect textbook used in Higher Ed) has a "hide" feature for assignments that are pushed to students on their online platform. It’s a useful feature that allows me to curate assignments, hiding some while sharing others. This was critical when using GC to distribute formative assessments. Real-time posting means manually timing assignment release, rather than GC doing it automagically.

Overall, GC was net positive for my MS/HS multiple classrooms split teaching. Next year I plan to use GC to share rubrics, collect presentational writing, and share formative assessments. I intend to replace the “turn in” feature with student portfolio websites for assignment submission and student growth tracking.

Age Group: Middle school students

Jul 8, 2016 Provide Feedback
Nancy
School Programs Coordinator, John B. Monlux Elementary School, California
Project-based classroom, High ELL population, and Low income population

We were trying to find a way to create classrooms that were moving towards a goal of integrating technology, collaborating with peers, as well as creating a mostly "paperless" classroom. We also had a great resource available - our LAUSD email accounts. These accounts are linked to a Google Classroom sign-in. We are fortunate to have a computer lab technician who was able to guide our teachers and students to set up their email accounts. Teachers shared with each other how to set up Google Classroom, as well as teach students the basics in Google Docs, Slides, and Forms. We had Google "Cheat Sheets" from Kacey Bell that were also helpful. Teachers have really enjoyed creating assignments on Google Classroom and watching students take off as they research, write, and present assignments and projects.

Product Use: Many of our upper grade elementary school teachers (3rd through 5th grade, and even one 2nd grade class) had activated their student LAUSD email accounts at the beginning of the year, with the help of our Computer Lab technician. The email accounts are utilized to log in to Google Classroom. Teachers set up Google Classrooms and started to give students class assignments. Students learned to use Google Docs, Slides, and Forms. We are excited to incorporate Google Classroom with other apps next year to create assignments. Our school has purchased Sokikom and we will integrate assignments this way. ReadWorks, a free reading program has just become Digital ReadWorks. Students can set up accounts and get class assignments, as well as submit assignments for teachers to grade through their Google class sign-in. Google classroom is an exciting new use of technology in our school, as we strive towards a "paperless" classroom.

What Worked and What Didn't: The biggest challenge to using Google Classroom is teacher education. Once teachers understood how to set up LAUSD email accounts, create assignments, and teach Google Docs,Slides,Forms - the rest of the process was easy. Students love going on their google classroom. They the flexibility of the programs to research, collaborate, write, illustrate and present. In addition, teachers will be able to branch out next year with assignments from outside programs such as Sokikom and Digital ReadWorks.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Jul 7, 2016 Provide Feedback
Renee, @missus_jay
Learning Specialist, Yellin Center for Mind, Brain and Education, New York

I had the goal of making my classroom as paperless as possible. Yet as any k-12 teacher knows it is a hard feat to do away with all printed handouts and materials and the photocopier is often an educator’s best friend. However, as Ed tech keeps changing the face of the classroom there are a variety of tools, like Google Classroom, being built to help those teachers who are eager to go paperless.

Product Use: To organize my classroom, facilitate communication between parents and students, track data and store my resources.

What Worked and What Didn't: Google classroom is a space where teachers can organize their workflow by easily creating assignments, distributing materials, gathering completed work and track grades all in one paperless space. On the assignments page, students are able to see what has been assigned and when it is due, which they can access from both home and school. In addition, teachers are able to monitor who has completed their assignment and provide feedback to any students who appear to be struggling. Google Classroom also has the capacity to enhance communication, as teachers are able to send announcements to students and parents or instigate class discussions through the tool. The really exciting aspect of using Google classroom is that is it constantly being developed, upgraded and improved.

It is really helpful during report card season because all the assignments, feedback and comments are all stored in one digital space that I can access from multiple devices. I can also search back on old parent and student communications to make sure I am addressing the needs to my students in my report card comments.

As with any new organizational system it takes some getting used to. It is a new system that you need to learn, and also have your students and parents learn so it can take some time to onboard. As with any product there are always little technical glitches that at times feel like it makes more work not less.

Age Group: Pre-K students, Middle school students, and Elementary school students

Jul 7, 2016 Provide Feedback
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