As a middle years teacher, our students have access to Chromebook carts which is our main resource in regards to technology. By using the Chromebooks we access the following extensions: Google Read and Write, Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Google forms.
The ways I use Google Chrome extensions:
- Collaboration – the Grade 6-8 teachers at my school use Google drive folders to share weekly writing prompts and math bell work questions. Also, all of our staff members use Google Docs in a shared folder to update what is going on in and around the school. If a teacher is away their name goes into a table with the supervisions they need covered and people can go on docs to sign up to cover for the absent staff members. This is an easy way for everyone to see what is going on. Some teachers will also post resources(videos, PDF files, etc.) in regards to relevant content. For example, prior to Orange Shirt Day, there were multiple teachers sharing resources on the Google Docs page.
- Input – our Vice Principal will use Google Forums to communicate any questions he would like answered. For example, we had a forum about how we want things communicated (ex: Google docs folder). As well, he asked our thoughts on Halloween. This is an effective way to collect information from staff members and allows them to have a voice in what is going on. I also use Google Forums with students so they can provide me with feedback. Sometimes I am very direct (Ex: What did you think of the Katepwa trip? What should I change or keep the same for next year? ) and sometimes I am indirect (Ex: What do you like or dislike about the classroom setup? My teaching?) This welcomes feedback from students and teachers which makes them feel like they have a voice. In addition, this becomes imperative when students or teachers are introverts or shy because they can type their answers in without having to speak up to share their opinions.
- Differentiation – Google Read and Write is another resource that is heavily relied on to support the different needs in a classroom(Google Read and Write). “Computer technology has great potential for supporting instruction within the classroom” (Rog, 2014, p. 31). Many school divisions have recently discovered a useful piece of technology that has definite bonuses for students who struggle with reading and writing and benefit from the usage of technology. “Google Read&Write boosts reading and writing confidence for students with learning difficulties, dyslexia, or ELL/ESL through a range of powerful tools” (TextHelp, 2015).
Google Read&Write tools include:
- speech to text,
- word prediction
Google Read&Write is an interactive extension to Google Documents. The unique add – on reads on-screen text aloud so researching and checking written work makes many everyday tasks easier for students who need assistance when it comes to reading and writing. The add on is simple and user friendly as compared to its predecessor used in many school divisions – Kurzweil (https://www.texthelp.com/en-us)
- Google Classroom – It suppose is to facilitate paperless communication between teachers and students and streamline educational workflow. Classroom allows teachers to create classes, post assignments, organize folders, and view work in real-time. Sometimes students are fearful of asking help to edit their assignments. Whenever I use Google Classroom, I can do quick checks to see where the students are at in the assignment and I can help them through working off of my computer too. If students are working on a particular assignment and it is for homework, they have easy access to this at home. They just simply sign into their Google account and go to Google Classroom. This alleviates the “I forgot my homework at school”. This is also an organizational tool for me because this way, all of the students assignments are in one spot. I don’t have to go to my shared folder or have all students make a Grade 8 folder to share with me. It keeps the students and myself organized and on track.