Teachers have long used lecture with PowerPoints, Google Slides, and other tools to deliver content. With advances in educational technology, we need to ask some important questions about this practice.
What strategy does not differentiate, is teacher-centered, and requires all students to work at roughly the same pace?
What is the most difficult classroom management challenge?
Getting students to quietly listen to the teacher for long periods of time.
How can we differentiate, let students work at their own pace, be student-centered, and make classroom management easier?
Google Classroom lets teachers deliver content without speaking to the whole class while still using existing resources.
Here are 4 steps to making this work in Google Classroom:
Rather than lecture, teachers can use their resources (such as a Google Slides presentation) to screencast themselves explaining content. Teachers can do this for free using Screencastify. Teachers should post the screencast video to YouTube so students can benefit from their instruction worldwide.
My colleague at Springfield Township High School, Jessica Riley, noticed her students’ note-taking lacked structure. She developed guided notes sheets so students had a structure with bold headings and tables to organize notes. These guided notes sheets are easily made into hyperdocs with links to further resources such as websites, YouTube videos, and other Google Drive files. Here is an example of a guided notes sheet.
Rather than a conventional lecture, students individually watch the video at their own pace on their devices as they complete the guided notes sheet in Google Docs. Thanks to Google Classroom, all student notes sheets are in one place for teacher and student. No more missing notebooks and students asking for pencils. If students want to watch the video on their laptop while completing the guided notes on their smartphones, teachers should allow that as well.
This is where differentiation comes in. EdPuzzle is a great free tool that teachers can use to easily add assessment to video. The screencast video can be loaded into EdPuzzle with questions students answer as they watch. Teachers could assign this video as remediation for students who perform poorly on an assessment or the whole class could complete the EdPuzzle at their own pace.
Teachers can use TED-Ed to go deeper with the original lesson. The screencast video can easily be loaded into a TED-Ed lesson. This allows teachers to add questions and links to further resources and discussion prompts.
Together all four components live in the same assignment in Google Classroom:
Using Google Classroom for guided notes allows teachers to spend time conferencing with students rather than struggling to hold the whole class’s attention. Students can learn at their own pace. All lesson components are always available online for students who need multiple opportunities to learn. Absent students can catch up without speaking to or e-mailing the teacher. Additionally, the system is paperless and all notes are organized and searchable. Teachers can see every note every student takes in their classroom.
Thank you for reading these ideas about taking notes with Google Classroom. If you want to discuss further, please tweet me at @edtechtom.
Thank you Canva, the tool I used to make the image for this blog post.
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