Inspired by my work with instructional technology and digital media this summer, I have decided to implement two new tools into my classroom this year: a Google Site and Google Classroom. The reason I chose to use a Google Site is because I wanted to create a place, or hub, where I can post assignments and make them available to all of my students and, if requested, to their parents. I thought that having a digital hub would also allow me to communicate with students who might be absent or those who might leave class without writing down their homework assignments.
Although I started my site with the intention of simply posting homework assignments, I am now considering how I might be able to further capitalize on using it to support student learning. For example, after reflecting back on our first week of school, I realize that there were several documents and tools that I could have included on my site, including a Wordle, concept lists generated in class and a YouTube video. All of these are currently saved on my personal drive with no way for students to access them. As we get deeper into our coursework, it would be important for students to be able to access some of that content. Therefore, using Google Sites as a place to not just post homework, but also include class content, is something that I am strongly considering.
In addition to starting a Google Site, I have also decided to use Google Classroom. I am not sure if the two will be redundant; so, as I continue to examine how they are working, I may make changes. However, at this beginning point of the school year, my thought is that while Sites will serve as a place for me to make information available to students, Google Classroom will serve as a receptacle for student work. In other words, students will receive via Sites and submit via Classroom. Again, as I go through the first month or so of school, I will be reflecting on how these two tools are working and adjusting as necessary.
Since my students are the primary audience for this site, I have created links to resources like Turnitin.com, school-wide rubrics, and our homepage. I may also include links to Word of the Day and Purdue Online Writing Lab.
One thing that I am still considering is the privacy setting for my site. Currently, my site is public; however, I am strongly considering changing the setting to anyone with this link can access. In that way, if parents want to be able to access the site, I can easily share the link with them.