One new thing we are trying at my building this year is the use of Google Classroom to assist the work that our PLCs are doing. As our PLCs work together to collect data from common formative assessments and collaborate to improve student learning, we needed a way they could easily do this in a digital space that would allow for collaboration with the instructional leaders in the building. And if the tool was a good way to model how we could improve digital collaboration in order to implement this better in the classroom, then we could kill two birds with one stone.
Google Classroom is a tool that a lot of teachers have started using in the classroom to improve the digital workflow with students and can be used to help improve digital collaboration with, and between, students. If you are a Google Apps for Education district, then you really need to learn how to use Google Classroom as it does make the digital workflow a lot easier. It is not a true LMS but then again it does not have to be, it does what it was designed to do very well.
To make Classroom work for our PLCs, we had to create a new class in Classroom for each PLC. The teachers in the PLCs were added as “students” to the classes while the administrators and instructional coaches were added as the “teachers”. “Students” in Classroom can still post resources, such as data or common formative assessments, to the “stream” so that everyone in that class can see it. This allows for easy communication and sharing of data/resources with the other teachers in the PLC and those that are there to support the work of the PLC. This also creates a single location where all of the data, information, work of the PLC can be found so that as new people are added to the PLC or new instructional leaders are needed to support their work, all of it can be found very quickly.
We are just starting to use this and I will definitely post a review as we get deeper into our work as the year progresses. The only issue that is arising right now is that it will take time to create each class since there are 6 “teachers” in each of our class and you can not mass produce these using Roster Sync with multiple teachers, yet. But this time that I am putting in now to create the classes will greatly reduce the time it takes to share the data, resources, assessments with all of those involved, meaning more time to focus on improving instruction for our students.