Technology has become integral in some form to education in the classroom. Streamlining classroom assignments, collaboration among students and between teachers, and ease of grading are benefits that teachers want when integrating technology. When creating two classrooms: one real and one virtual – teachers want to save time and ensure students master standards.
One such program is G Suite for Education by Google. G Suite is a is a suite of Google online tools designed to allow for teaching and collaboration between and among teachers and students. G Suite in the classroom begins with teachers creating their virtual classroom in Google Classroom which “offers a one-stop platform for facilitating digital production, workflow, and communication, between teachers and students” (Catapano). Currently, “Google estimates approximately 30 million educators and their students use Google Classroom for classwork, communication, and collaboration for school” (Screencast-O-Matic).
Once teachers create virtual classrooms, they can upload, grade, and comment on assignments in Google Classroom. This alleviates teachers spending time photocopying which results in cost savings. Students complete work assigned and submit it with students writing papers use Google documents. Once completed and submitted, teachers can easily see which students have turned in their work and which have not. Teachers can grade assignments, give immediate feedback, and grade within Google classroom. Teachers can make announcements to all students or just a few individuals about their work. “One of the biggest benefits of using Google Classroom is that it helps facilitate communication between teachers and students, providing space to teach, mentor and give feedback to their classes” (Screencast-O-Matic).
Gone are the days when teachers had to look through piles of papers to determine who has completed the assignment. Students don’t have to worry about losing papers as all is provided and submitted digitally. Even students who are absent can work on their work from home without having to send someone to collect assignments from school. Students can share and work on projects together without having to be in the same location.
Teachers can collaborate and share ideas, curriculum, resources and align classes vertically and horizontally. By being familiar with what other teachers are using in their classroom, the classroom becomes much more open, and this allows teachers the option to use cross-curricular units. “Teachers and students can participate in online Classroom discussions, and everyone can post links to informative resources with discussions or other sharing mechanisms” (Catapono). This further creates team building which strengthens the school community.
Teachers can more easily differentiate instruction using Google Classroom as they can upload and assign differentiated assignments to specific students. Theoretically, teachers could assign each student their own specialized assignment. Importantly teachers can zero in on and target individual student learning needs. Teachers can also focus their grading individually as they can target instructions and improvement for individual students. Specific feedback can be given to each student. All of this gives teachers an opportunity to meet student needs and align instruction with identified learning needs.
One of the complaints about using technology in the classroom is the concern that cheating may occur. While it is impossible to eliminate cheating 100 percent of the time, cheating can be reduced by using the testing option of Google forms. Teachers can easily make tests which are computer graded. With the testing option, all tabs are inaccessible, and only the test form is open. When teachers assign the test to ask questions in a random order, it presents a formidable challenge for students who relied on cheating.
Another advantage of G Suite is that Google Earth, Google News, video programs, sheets, pdfs, and other Google programs can be used and integrated with Google Classroom. This allows teachers to open a virtual world for students. It transforms the educational experience. As one teacher said, “it completely transformed the interaction between me, my students, and information. Today I find myself a facilitator of learning, rather than the source of it” (teach.com).
There is no doubt that technology especially G Suite for Education in the classroom has changed the way teachers teach and students learn. It has opened the classroom for teachers and students both physically and virtually. In effect, it allows teachers to surrender control. As T.J. Hendrickson (2016) said in relation to his 3-D printing class, “My students’ use and applications of 3D printing far exceeds ours as teachers. Consequently, I’ve learned I don’t need to be in control all the time – I just need to get out of the way and go along for the ride.” Teachers and students can collaborate at any time of the day, and parents have limited access as well. Teachers have a wealth of technology to meet their needs at their literal fingertips. All they need to do is embrace and use what is helpful including G Suite for Education.
Allhands, Joanna. (Oct. 9, 2017). “Why use Google Classroom?. Here’s what teachers need to know.” azcentral. Retrieved from: https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/joannaallhands/2017/10/09/google-classroom-changing-teachers-students-education/708246001/.
Catapano, J. “Technology in the Classroom: A Look at Google Classroom.” TeachHub.com. Retrieved from: https://www.teachhub.com/technology-classroom-look-google-classroom.
Heick, T. (May 24, 2019). “60 Smarter Ways To Use Google Classroom.” teachthought We Grow Teachers. Retrieved from: https://www.teachthought.com/technology/60-smarter-ways-to-use-google-classroom/.
Hendrickson, T.J. (May 19, 2016). “10 Reasons 3D Printing Has Completely Changed the Way I Teach.” We Are Teachers. Retrieved from: https://www.weareteachers.com/10-reasons-3d-printing-has-completely-changed-the-way-i-teach/.
Lynch, M.(Sep. 11, 2017). “10 Ways to Use Google in Your Classroom.” The Edvocate Podcast. Retrieved from: https://www.thetechedvocate.org/10-ways-use-google-classroom/.
Screencast-O-Matic. “Collaborate Anytime, Anywhere with Google Classroom and Screencast-O-Matic.” Screencast-O-Matic.com. Retrieved from: https://screencast-o-matic.com/blog/google-classroom/.
Sheninger, E. (2019) Digital Leadership Changing Paradigms for Changing Times (10th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
teach.com guest post (Mar. 28, 2017). “How Technology Changed the Way I Teach My Students.” Teach Make A Difference. Retrieved from: https://teach.com/blog/how-technology-changed-the-way-i-teach-my-students/.