(Michael Gorman) By now you probably have learned about the entry of Google Classroom across the country. At the very same time you might be finally getting use to the LMS (Learning Management System the school district has adopted and you have been trying to understand for the last year or two. Before you you throw out the old and/or run from the new you might just want to take a breathe, sit down, and consider how both might have a place.
It really comes down to purpose of each tool you are using, and your reason for integrating it in the classroom. Chances are your LMS has a wonderful place by now in your classroom. In this age of internet connectivity it is important to keep in mind that the system you have is probably serving you well. At the same time you may wish to weigh in on both its strengths and weaknesses. There may even be something you wish it could do, but is either not possible or very cumbersome to try.
Next... you may wish to read about and become more familiar with Google Classroom. What might be one thing it allows you to do that your LMS does not, or might fall into that cumbersome category? This might be the perfect opportunity for you or a team of teachers to put the information on a Venn Diagram. After careful and collaborative study you and your peers might have found one item you might wish to adopt first from Google Classroom. In fact, that one item might just save you time and allow you and your students to be more productive.
Next, consider what you might need to do to make that one item possible. Does it involve a new link in your LMS? Do you need to build, or better yet... have your IT Department build, a class set up in Google? Also, note that you can have students opt into a class using a code. You might also want to have to give some directions to your students. Could this be posted on a website and authored collaboratively?
If you find that one thing, make a plan and even involve others if possible. Give it a test run and be ready to evaluate. In your evaluation consider if it worked as you wished, should it be continued, what refinements are needed?
There really is a wonderful chance that you will find new success. Be sure to celebrate your success and take some time away before trying one more step. As technology progresses there will always be a new possibility. Our job as educators is to decide how it works with what we already have, while providing our students the best learning experience possible. If we can do this collectively we will even be able to do so much more. Last, take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor and relax before trying the next possible application that Google Classroom might allow for.
In the space below I have provided some steps you may wish to think about while deciding if a new tools such as Google Classroom should be piloted. Of course you may already be a Google Docs District... which may help with one or two steps. Remember that Google Classroom may actually not replace an LMS you are feeling comfortable with... but it just might enhance it.
1. Study and research Google Classroom
2. Determine the abilities of Google Classroom and the current LMS. (Venn Diagram could help)
3. Decide on one tool Google Classroom offers that could add to productivity
4. Determine what needs to happen to make that one tool work
6. Inform and prepare for student implementation
7. Test this one item
8. Evaluate and determine usage and possible refinement
9. Continue to practice and enjoy the new productivity
10. Enjoy, relax, and allow time before taking another step.
Please take a moment to enjoy the below video and then take a moment to pause, reflect, and relax. There really is time!