Only the Beginning

While this is my official final post for my DLP this is only the beginning of my using Office 365 Groups. Although I don’t feel that I have something that may “wow” people, I am very pleased with what I have done and what I will continue to do it. I would say I have met 85% – 90% of my goals for my DLP this semester.

As per my goals I noted on my last post I have achieved:

  • Altering the word documents I posted by clicking them as as “View Only” for those in the Group that have access.
  • For now, the best way for students to have access and then use the documents for their own purposes is to download and save as their own, or to simply copy and paste.

Unfortunately, I did not achieve the following goals this week:

  • Add an element of collaboration and contribution.
  • Do some research and inquiry to see if anyone I know has experience with One Note.

My current plan is to set-up Groups for all of my classes next semester immediately at the start of the semester. I am glad I finally took the plunge into this.

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This gif via Giphy perfectly captures how I feel with this project, a work in progress!

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Working Out Some Bugs

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As I continue my work with my DLP I have encountered some challenges . Although, I am still very pleased with many of the features of the Group I have set-up for my class there are some things I need to work through, and work on.

Some of the challenges I have faced are:

  • When students go to access any word document files I have provided they are able to edit the document that is in the group, therefore changing it for all who view it.
  • Students have the option to download the word but it wasn’t a smooth process, even when they are already logged into their own Office 365 account. It seemed that they needed to open the document and either copy and paste the information, or download it to the desktop version of word and then save it to their Office 365 student account. The idea I had with sharing documents was that they could open them and they would automatically be for the individual student use in their personal online file. gabe 1
  • I still have yet to include an element of student contribution. Students are accessing the group for documents, the calendar, to contact me and to share assignments but they themselves are not contributing or interacting. The Group has the program One Note as a part of it automatically, although I contemplated using this as a way for students to list their poem choices for an assignment I never followed through as it seemed an unnecessary addition.

 

Moving forward here are my goals for the week:

  • Look at the word documents I have uploaded and see if I can note preferences for students so they are view only, this way at least what I am putting in the Group cannot be altered.
  • Inquire to our school Office 365 “expert” what the best way for students to access and use the documents for their personal use would be.
  • Add an element of collaboration and contribution. We are starting a novel study this week I will need to see where this could fit and enhance their learning.
  • Do some research and inquiry to see if anyone I know has experience with One Note.

Overall, I am still extremely happy with the Group and plan to set-up Groups for all of my classes next semester. I know that the students appreciate the class calendar and the accessibility of the documents I have posted, especially since it is a tool they were already using for their school work and email.

If you are reading this and have experience with One Note where would you suggest I start? Or what do you use it for?

Gif via Giphy

Groups

Since my last post I completed my entire checklist for my DLP!

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Image via Giphy

Additionally, I am feeling excited about my class group, and today was wishing I had set one up for all of my classes. I am at 95% for students joining, and those who have joined are utilizing the resources. I am still posting them on the traditional online grading system, but am having them in the documents file in our class group. Had I set up groups in Office 365 for my other classes I would have avoided having to email students documents today.

If you are curious what I mean when I say my class group here is a quick video that explains it.

 

Below is a video I found extremely helpful as far as setting up some of the features in my class group. I will also refer back to it for my goals this week. In the future I will mostly show a portion of this to my classes when explain the purpose of these groups to the students.

 

So far the online group has been a place for students to easily access resources, view the class calendar, submit assignments and quickly get in touch with me or their classmates. Over the next couple of weeks I would like to increase the interaction of the students within the group.

Here are my goals for next week:

  • Create a One Note document for students to enter data in. The data will be in connection to the poetry assignment we will be working on.
  • Have the students upload their presentations to the group so that they are accessible for everyone in the group to view them.

I realize this is only two goals for the week but I feel each of these tasks will have many small steps to achieve them. Plus the assignment that  I am planning to have these two tasks associated requires some more attention. I am changing it from the last time I taught this course, in addition to adding these technological requirements to it.

DLP Checklist

I have felt as though my Digital Learning Project has been at a standstill. Initially, I was very excited to create an online, engaging, and useful space for my ELA 9 students. I am not sure where I lost my enthusiasm. I even started being envious of others who chose more “exciting” projects. For example my classmate, Coralee has been organizing and decluttering her house. I am so jealous. She is working really hard, learning new skills AND her house is clean! Angry, Upset, Pout, Face, Dissatisfied

Image via Pixabay

 

 

I need to remind myself what the purpose of my DLP is. The purpose of my DLP is for students in my ELA 9 class to have easily accessible class documents, a class calendar, and a point of contact and interaction with each other and myself.

Here is what I have achieved so far to date:

  • Compared using Google Classroom with what I have available through our school system
  • Created an online class group using Microsoft Office 365
  • Invited all of the students to join the group
  • Added 1 document relevant to our current unit of study
  • Added 3 class dates to the calendar
  • Sent out a notification to the students that have accepted my invitation

Below is a visual of the online group.

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By our next class on Tuesday here are my goals I would like to achieve:

  • Send another invite to the students who have not joined yet
  • Add all upcoming class dates to the calendar: paragraph assignment, upcoming act questions, review periods and the upcoming exam
  • Upload the Writing Process Power Point we covered in class
  • Create a Google Form to gather some feedback from students, send the form out via this group
  • Speak with any students who have not joined the group and help them to join

As we are ending a unit in ELA 9 I am planning to use this online class group for some review activities and connections outside of the class. Once I have achieved the above goals that will be my focus.

What are some examples where educators have used online spaces for student collaboration? How can I motivate students to refer to and use the online space?

Technology Loyalty

In my previous post I discussed how I would be creating a Google Classroom for better connections, organization and enhancements of in-class learning with my two ELA 9 classes. As it turns out our school system has invested resources into Microsoft cloud programs, Moodle and other online classroom learning based programs, and would therefore prefer for us as teachers to use those. This is not to say that I am not allowed to use GC, just that if I did and something went wrong as far as the technology side of things our technology department would not assist me as it would be out of their realm.

I am kind of disappointed as I was excited about GC, and the prospect of the user friendliness of it. Additionally, I have already invested a small amount of time in creating a GC. I admit it was not a tonne of time, but I was looking forward to having my students join me in the “classroom” soon and be my test subjects, offering some feedback and possibly some insight.

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I feel torn as I typically do what is expected of me, but I feel like it will be a tonne of more work to use an alternate program. Not as though I am looking to avoid a heavy workload, however it would be more of a learning curve for the students and myself. Either way here is what I know and need to achieve in this week:

  • Online sites and learning tools are time sensitive. We are already one month into the semester, if I do not get this up and running at least with a minimal amount of content it will not reach my desired level of usefulness for students.
  • I need to contact someone who has created an online space for their classroom using the resources available to me so that I can learn firsthand about their experiences.
  • In need to poll the learners and their use and experience with Google tools. Maybe I am overestimating the amount of students who use google.
  • I need to attempt to create an online classroom on the Microsoft cloud based system that I currently have access to for my email and my documents.

 

If you are reading this I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and input. I really am dismayed and thought I had my Digital Learning Project on the go.

 

Google Classroom

For my Major Digital Project for eci831 I am proposing to create a Google Classroom (GC) for my ELA 9 classes this semester. In my first post I discussed how I used to have a class blog that wasn’t accessed often by students. Initially, I thought I may do a student blogging project, but I believe that it would simply be adding one more technological tool on top of the ones they are already required to use. Here are my initial thoughts about my using GC:

Who? – This will be for my ELA 9 classes this semester. At this point I am thinking that just the students will have access. I will have separate GCs for my separate classes.

What? – Creating an online space that students can access with ease. Students will be able to access class documents, submit assignments and view a class calendar. Once those applications are functioning I will introduce student interaction where they can collaborate and add to our online space.

Where? – I will instruct and encourage students to access and use our GC during class with their cell phones or other personal devices.

When? – I would like to have a skeleton outline of my GC within a week. Obviously I will be adding to it and learning as I go. I will inform the students that they are part of my learning process.

Why? – To keep students connected and engaged in our classroom activities and learning. Also, because the online grading and attendance system that I have been referring students to for class documents is slow and not always functioning.

How? – I have already started learning about GC through my PLN by posting in the Business Educators Facebook group, and tweeting expressing interest in using it. I instantly received a handful of excellent replies and resources. A colleague here in Regina put my in touch with Mickie Muller who is the creator of Guide to Google Classroom, a comprehensive and direct guide. Additionally, below is an excellent, straightforward tutorial about the basics of GC.

 

If you are reading this and have any tips, suggestions or experience with GC, I would love to hear!