Earlier in the year, I wrote a post about how I use a Google site to deliver Psychology A Level. This piece acts as a companion to that, explaining how I use Google Classroom alongside the site. I also use Classroom in some of the other things I do but I will leave those to one side for now and concentrate on Psychology.
These are the main things I have done on Google Classroom.
a) Uploaded Slides For Each Lesson
I use Google Slides to plan and deliver each lesson. It is easy to upload these into Classroom so that students can access them.
b) Passed On Routine Information
Classroom links directly to students’ gmail accounts. If I need to tell them something, I can post an announcement. That is easier than emailing them directly because I have a record of communication with each group in one place.
c) Set Up Quizzes For Each Sub-Topic, With Hyperlinks To Core Content
My plan at the start of the academic year was to have quizzes on Google Forms as pre-reading tasks for students to do before tackling the sub-topic in class. That has not worked out, partly because I have not been able to get ahead of myself and prepare a few days in advance and partly because I have often wanted the first sight of a sub-topic for students to be looking at an image or watching a video. The advantage of giving short multiple choice quizzes on each sub-topic in class is that I do not have to explain each point laboriously. Google Forms lets me present a summary of quiz answers so that, without naming names, we can all see which questions produced errors and can focus on the complexity behind them.
d) Delivered Feedback On Assessments, Using Markschemes With Hyperlinks
For major assessments, I can share a markscheme with students, with hyperlinks to the content they have covered on the Google site so that they can see the connection between what they have learnt and what was in the assessment. I can add commentary on each question in the same way as an examiners’ report does for a live exam. I then use Classroom as a place to keep self-reviews so that students can comment on what they have achieved and set targets.
e) Posted Links To My Post Of The Week On My Blog
I have been writing a blog for a while. It has become an important way of keeping interested in current trends in Psychology. It gets very few hits from my students but they have no excuse for not looking at it. I can add a link to each post on Classroom.
f) Used It For Mastery Learning
I use the concepts of “core” and “mastery learning”. “Core” represents the theories, evidence and definitions needed to pass the exam. “Mastery learning” refers to the tasks we do to explore ideas and deepen knowledge. That involves looking at a wider range of questions and sources. In AS, this is to a large extent optional. In A2, because students need to include issues, debates and approaches in their essays to achieve higher grades, it becomes compulsory. Students sometimes contribute answers via class discussion, at other times they contribute by adding a comment to the workstream on Classroom and at others still, we have a Google doc shared via Classroom on which students can write what they think. In each case, I can then use the Classroom environment to sum up what has been learnt and what we need to think about next. Using Classroom means that when the exam season approaches, I can go through the workstream for each class, summarising what has been done and identifying any issues which need further attention. For the A2 course, there has been an extra element. For each topic, I have been able to distill commentary from each sub-topic into a “How Science Works” summary. In A2 Psychology, “How Science Works” is the route to A* writing.
g) Managed Student Projects
I share with students on Classroom project briefs for practicals. Classroom enables me to make a copy for each student. The brief contains a checklist and a self-assessment. At the end of the project, they turn in their work.
What do you think about Google Classroom?
Simon Tombs @tombssimon
Teacher of Psychology