The free suite of tools through Google Apps for Education have certainly inspired collaboration and connectivity between teachers, students, and families. Christ the King School (CKS) recently started exploring the possibilities within the GAFE domain, and not being a 1:1 school, wanted to begin with a tool that could easily be used without individual devices. They leveraged Google Calendar as a professional and classroom tool; instead of just meetings and appointments, CKS decided to use Calendar as a way to think about student organization and student/teacher/family collaboration.
How are you using Google Calendar?
“We are using the Google Calendar as an online plan book for students, teachers and parents. We have a calendar for school wide events and each teacher has a calendar for each grade they teach. We enter our nightly homework and long-term assignments into our calendars. As a teacher I can subscribe to all of the middle school calendars and the school wide events calendar to check on student workload for any given night and adjust my assignment accordingly.”
I love this. The math teacher can see that on a given Thursday a student might have soccer practice, play rehearsal, an essay in French, and a lab report write up. Maybe Friday morning isn’t the best day for a unit test?
“Every Monday, once my plans for the week are in place, I initially post the assignments/tests to the calendar.”
If a student misses class for any reason, that student already has access to the assignments.
What are the initial reactions to using Google Calendar this way?
“As the parent of an 8th grader, I can subscribe to the 8th grade calendars and see what assignments my child has each evening and I can look for long term projects so that I can help my son time manage so he does not fall behind on his assignments. I can also add in our home calendar so that he can see his practice commitments for the evening as well as his homework to aid in time management.”
“I am responsible for supporting students who struggle organizationally. Calendar has made it easy for me to find all assignments in one place and not have to flip through various websites.”
Understanding how busy teachers are, is it easy? Challenging?
“It is a small challenge as a teacher to remember to update by 3:15. It is much easier than changing the homework on my webpage. I love that it also serve as a history to past assignments.”
In talking with the teachers at CKS, I know that they will eventually shift the responsibility of entering assignments to the students.
“It is extremely easy – I love it.”
This is a screenshot of a typical calendar.
Students have the option of selecting their teachers, grades, and/or classes. This helps reduce confusion in seeing all assignments for every grade. From the parent perspective, if there are siblings in different classes, all assignments can be viewed on one calendar.
This use of Calendar got me thinking about the various suite of basic Google tools. Of course there are traditional ways of using Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Forms, but what are other teachers and students doing to take these tools outside of the traditional?