MHS students adjust to the new platform and the ever-evolving technology of the classroom
Photo courtesy of Google for Education
Laptops, SMART boards, online grade books, digital notes and eChalk have revolutionized our classrooms. Google Classroom has become the district’s most recent technological innovation. According to the Mamaroneck Schools District website, increased use of Google Classroom is part of a long term goal to have the online classroom as the main learning management service by 2018.
As of last year, Google Classroom has out competed eChalk in terms of popular use, convenience, accessibility and performance, making it a logical decision to make it a standard. Due to its easy-to-navigate setup, the app-accessible classroom is designed for the job of managing classroom announcements, communication, and assignments, nearly eliminating the need for paper handouts. In fact, as part of an effort to utilize the iPads, there are new high expectations for change; as stated by Hommocks principal Seth Weitzman, there will be “no need for students to copy down homework assignments in class, hand in homework, or store reams of old assignments in book bags and lockers.” Eighth graders will no longer be receiving planners in their school supplies, and GAFE (Google apps for education) apps are replacing pages and keynote.
Google Classroom and digitalized assignments are appearing to be well received by teachers. After a year of technology coaching and reading reference guides on the district website, teachers are learning to navigate the online world. Many teachers are embracing the online classroom. Global teacher, Mr. Paez, who is using Google Classroom for the first time, is already recognizing the ways in which it makes communication and organization easier for students. Like many other teachers, Mr. Paez posts all of his daily lessons online as class announcements, so that students can access and print the notes and handouts at any time. “Young people process information using the idea of a feed,” he says, in regard to the multitude of social media organized this way. Because of this, it’s perfect for helping what he calls the “digital natives” of our generation to stay organized. Over the course of the school year, Mr. Paez plans on exploring all the different aspects of Classroom, which include message boards and questionnaires, as well as an online grading and feedback system for assignments.
However, student responses towards Google Classroom have been mixed. For most, having all class assignments and announcements in one app is convenient. Google Classroom is also optimized for working with google docs, slides, and drive, and allows for easy uploads from all three. However, Classroom does have its setbacks. A common complaint is that Google Classroom does not automatically save your edits. Also, filling out handouts on the iPad is often more difficult than working on paper. In this sense, digitalizing handouts has made learning and working more difficult. Other arguments include that teachers now have the ability to make assignments due on days when students drop class, since handouts no longer need to be physically handed in. When it comes to navigation, having the homework sometimes discreetly posted instead of announced in class is also a point of irritability. However, inconveniences like these are mostly overshadowed by the logic of having Google Classroom as a standard across classes.
It’s clear that this new standard is already bringing changes to MHS and the environment we learn in. Both teachers and students are excited about the convenience it has already brought to classroom communication and assignment organization, especially compared to the unyielding efforts of eChalk users in the past. In the age where Quizlet is our index card, My Homework is our planner, and Notability is our looseleaf, Google Classroom is fitting right into our list of school standardsa nd at the very least, it’s going to save a whole lot of paper.
By Leah Roffman