IN THIS post I wrote a narrative of my presentation during the GDays General Santos held at SM City General Santos on May 3, 2014, organized by Google Business Group GenSan.
Here is the presentation:
When I decided to become a teacher, I vowed to not just be a teacher who can teach, but one who can make my students learn.
I believe in the quote, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” In my six years as a teacher, I am always on the lookout for strategies and tools that can make my students learn better by expanding their turf beyond the confines of the classroom. The best tools I have found so far have been provided by Google.
Let me share with you how Google can transform the classroom by telling you how it has transformed mine.
Going Beyond the Classroom: Collaboration and Sharing
In the tradition classroom, when students are asked to present a report, they would usually write the information on manila paper or cartolina. In more advanced settings, they make PowerPoint presentations and show them in front of the class. In the latter’s case, we can say, ICT has been put to good use, but Google has made it even better.
With Google slides, my students can collaborate in the preparation of their slides online, ensuring that members of the group contribute in the activity. Google slides have revision history that teachers can view to see which students worked on a particular slide or set of slides.
Stored in Google Drive, the presentations can be shared to the whole class and even to other classes. They can also be embedded on the class website. Through this, class reporting is not limited within the classroom walls; it is on the web. It can be viewed by other students in other classes, and even by students in other parts of the globe. The possibilities are limitless.
A Spark of Creativity
In the learning process it is essential that students are able to transfer their learning. In my Physics class, I asked my students to create video presentations summarizing the most important information about certain topics. In the activity, they learn to identify the information that matter, connect ideas, and organize thoughts.
The students share their work on YouTube that can be viewed by everyone on the web. This provides room for discussion and sharing. They also get to critique and evaluate the work of others. These are the various facets of higher order thinking skills – synthesis and evaluation.
In teacher training, authentic assessment refers to performance-based assessment such as the use of rubrics. But for me, assessment becomes an authentic assessment when it is utilized to improve learning.
The problem is, many teachers are not able to maximize the use of assessment to improve learning. Its use is limited only to tracking the performance of students. Why is this so? Assessment is a very strenuous task. The task of checking of quizzes and assignments take so much time and energy. Analyzing the results and assessing the assessment tool is even more taxing. That part is usually skipped by many teachers.
I discovered the use of Google Forms, Google Spreadsheets and a script called Flubaroo to automate this task and take the heavy load of assessment off my shoulders. What I do is create an online test via Google Forms, share it with my students, and they answer it. I take them to the computer room to do this. Sometimes, I give out the questions as assignments.
When given as assignment, students can review their lessons by checking out their notes or by reading websites and blogs, and viewing videos on YouTube on the topic. This also allows them to access information that the teacher was not able to present to the class.
Better Insight into Students’ Learning
The students’ responses are gathered instantly in a spreadsheet. That is a better way of keeping my students’ record and tracking their performance. The spreadsheet also provides me with statistics on how the students answered each question. That allows me to see how my students learn or if they did learn. Not only does it give me a data on the percentage of students who answered the question correctly and incorrectly, it also provides a breakdown of the number of students who picked a particular choice. Google provides me with in-depth data about my students’ answers. That is very important in the planning of teaching strategies and designing of assessment tools.
Better Feedback System
The learning process is not complete when the students do not know how well they are doing in the class. Feedback is very important. Because the assessment process is made simpler by Google, the teacher can also give prompt feedback to the students. The feedback can even be automated by Flubaroo. The script can email the students not only their scores but their responses in each item as well. There can even be rationalization of the correct answer. You can’t imagine how feedback can be better and quicker than this.
The Teacher’s Creativity: Working around Challenges
There are sure challenges in implementing Google technologies in the classroom. The availability of infrastructure, the speed and reliability of internet connection and the readiness of the students are a few of the constraints, but a creative teacher can work around these and develop a system that can still be efficient despite the limitations.
A video of Zack Matere from a rural community in Kenya is one proof that, even in impoverished situations, one can still make a difference using Google technology.
Google provides us with the technology it is what we do with it that is more important. It only takes a dose of creativity to make wonders out of what we have.