Google Classroom "Turn In" Button
My students started using Google Classroom last February. The shared folder system was easy to use, but I missed using Google Drive with our old LMS. Sigh.
Creating a Google Classroom Class was simple. My students quickly learned how to Login for the First Time. We had some issues here and there, but, overall, we were happy.
Over the summer, I have been reflecting on how to better introduce technology while still focusing on the content. I dreaded those days where I spent an entire period teaching formatting and technology rather than literature and writing. Tech should never to an obstacle to academic learning.
This summer I have reflected on multiple conversations I had with my colleagues. These reflections led to the blog posts Teaching MLA Format in Google Classroom and Teaching Students to Use Tech to Self-Edit. My goal is to improve student writing while diminishing and/or eliminating student confusion.
Today's blog post will focus on one source of student confusion - the Turn In button.
When a student opens the assignment from Google Classroom, both the Student and Teacher can Edit the document. When a student clicks Turn In, the ownership of the document changes to Student can View and Teacher can Edit. My students were worried when they turned in an assignment and wanted to make a revision. Why couldn't they edit anymore?
The process to Unsubmit an assignment in Google Classroom is not difficult. The students go to the assignment page, click Unsubmit button and then click the blue Unsubmit button. Students may write an optional note to the teacher though I never required it.
But, why even bother turning in every assignment when the teacher can access the files from the common folder? Must all assignments be turned in for a grade? Shouldn't our goal as English teachers be to improve writing by writing feedback, not giving the assignment a grade?
And, I'll be honest, with 192 students will I always be able to read each and every assignment? Seriously, I need to find solutions for peer revision and multiple student revisions. This requires that both the student and I retain Editing privileges.
Teachers can access the Class Folder and pop into student documents as they write. Immediate feedback is more effective for the student. Students will actually read that feedback (without a grade) and use it to reflect on their writing. Furthermore, the teacher does not have to spend hours outside of class providing feedback that may or may not be used by the student.
Written and video directions for accessing the Class Folder can be found at Providing Feedback for Student Work.
And, teachers do not always have to provide written feedback. Instead, teachers can highlight an awkward or imprecise sentence. Carol Jago described the highlighting technique in her book Papers, Papers, Papers: An English Teacher's Survival Guide. While Ms. Jago highlighted hard copy essays, the same method can apply to Google Docs. Once the sentence requiring revision is highlighted, Ms. Jago placed the students in groups. The writer would read his sentence to his group who then helped him revise it. The next student would read her sentence aloud and so forth. In the meantime, the teacher roamed the class, listening to the student-led conversations and providing guidance as necessary.
My students need a system that they can understand. They need to know how to login. They need to know how to open an assignment. They need to know to format their documents. Furthermore, they need to know how to respond to feedback whether it is a written comment or a highlighted sentence. Students do not need the confusion of turning in an assignment only to lose editing privileges.
As a teacher, I need a system to provide effective, immediate feedback during class time. Sometimes I provide the feedback, other times I highlight the sentences students need to revise with their group. Other times, we have writer's conferences. No matter the feedback method, I need a system that allows both the student and I to retain editing privileges.
Will my students ever Turn In an assignment? Yes. Maybe. We'll see. If all else fails, I can simply download the assignment folder as described in Alice Keeler's blog post Google Classroom: Save Student Work.
Will I provide feedback or organize opportunities for students to peer review? Absolutely. After all, I have a system that works with no Turn In confusion.