I love the way Google Classroom organizes student work.
Life has never been easier for a teacher. Create an Assignment: either give students a copy or Google will make them one right in Docs. No more naming files and then misplacing on the local server. A teacher can view finished and unfinished work all via the Classroom, too, from anywhere… at home or at school. Convenience at its best!
I think I was at a digital learning conference and someone referred to this beautiful system that Google had created as “automagic”! Truly, it is!
However, over the course of this year, I’m beginning to wonder if there are some drawbacks to this magical automated system in the sense that students really don’t have to think.
Of course, they have to think about the curriculum content, and that’s the most important thing. Hey, that’s another perk! The other stuff that held up student’s from getting down to work (naming files, finding files) is no longer a part of the equation. But should it be? Maybe, that stuff that can be annoying to us is really good for them to know how to do?
Is it important to know how to create a file yourself?
Is it important to know how to make a folder yourself and to be able to organize and move files?
If we want students to understand the process and to be able to troubleshoot for when the going gets rough, the answer to both questions is “yes”.
I have witnessed on several occasions this year when students are outside of Classroom trying to do a task using a digital device that they come to a complete halt when having to connect to another service and then save and create a file. Then to have to move or copy that file has continued the pain.
I don’t think we should stop using Classroom. I want to be clear: I am not advocating that solution at all! However, I do think that it would be very wise on our part to create situations for students to work on their digital organization skills.
My suggestion: have students go directly to Google Drive and My Drive and create a folder. Perhaps, a folder called Grade _ Projects.
Then have students open finished projects (Docs, Slides, etc.) from within Classroom and go to the file menu to Make a Copy. This will give students the experience to rename the file (as Classroom automagically names things, right!). When the copy of the file opens up on the screen, have students click on the folder icon to organize the file. In other words, now students can move that copied file to that newly created Projects folder in his/her My Drive. You then can show students how to access this folder via Google Drive instead of Classroom. All of this experience will be very helpful, especially since life does not exist entirely in Google (yet).
I’m looking forward to a portfolio project with grade 3 students next year. The endeavor will give them opportunities to select and reflect, but also very importantly, students will have to organize. A skill, in my opinion, that we can’t afford for them to lose.
Just some thoughts over my lunch time today… please share your thoughts below! Thanks!