Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Group Projects in Google Classroom

Google Classroom has made some aspects of working with your class on Google Drive very simple but the team have not yet released an update which allows teachers to assign group work in a simplistic way. It is something teachers using Google Classroom mention quite often but in the meantime I came across a workaround. The idea was taken from this post by Brian McLane.

If you want your class to split up to research the different characters in a play such as MacBeth, present to the class and then everyone takes notes on each character during the presentations you might want to administer it like this:

There are other approaches:
Click here to read about Alice Keeler's work around for assigning group work.
The Gclassfolder add on can be used if you have a roster in a Google Sheet to create folders for your class and it is a great way to share resources and administer shared and collaborative projects via Google Drive, however the creators of gclassfolders are no longer supporting it since Google Classroom has been adopted widely. Doctopus is another add-on in sheets which can be used to create folder structures for your class based around assignments.


Mr B Rouse

Monday, 5 January 2015

Student Checklists

The use of student checklists is something that has been discussed

What is a student checklist and how do I construct one?

More information on student checklists, exemplar templates and where to find PiXL resources can be found here.

Examples of currently used checklists can be found here.

How to use Google Apps to create student checklists

If you create  template document in Google Drive for a topic, course or subject this can be distributed to students via Google Classroom as an assignment making a copy for each student. This will create a student checklist per student that is shared with the teacher.

Here is how another educator is using Google Classroom to implement Student Checklists with his colleagues.

This is not the only way to do this. Other options include:
Gclassfolders add  on in sheets can create folders for your class roster via a Google sheet and the checklists can be added to the folders

Copy the URL to your Google Doc checklist and replace "edit with copy" then when students click on the link they will be prompted to make a copy of the document
Change to

Some teachers prefer to have their class complete one document where they can all edit it themselves. Make sure you have a good level of trust in the class or at least know how to use "see revision history"


This post was written by Ben Rouse (Technology for Learning Lead Practitioner)  & Joe Gale (Head of Sixth Form)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New Design for Google Drive

The new look for Google Drive has been available if you wanted to try it out. Now it goes live. The double click is back. To learn more I have added a link to a review below.


B Rouse

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Global Classroom - Are you in it?

Families can connect across the world despite thousands of miles separating them. My own in laws use skype or face time to see their Granddaughter in New Zealand. This free and accessible technology in making its way into people's classrooms but not to the extent it could. Consider this...

If it is possible to speak to people anywhere in the world with an internet connection then for your next project on...

  • Rainforests, connect with scientists studying it.
  • The Romans, call a class in Rome.
  • Atomic Particles, hangout with someone at CERN.
  • Volcanoes, skype with a class in Hawaii or Iceland.
  • Stonehenge, send someone with a smartphone to the site during your lesson.
  • Hamlet, message an actor playing the part at a theatre in Stratford-on-Avon
  • Sikhism, video call a Gurdwara near you or in India!

There are existing channels to start setting these opportunities up for your students.

Google Hangout

Google Hangouts have recently been separated from their social media site Google+ to allow better access to under 13s and students in schools. The connected Classrooms project provides a schedule of virtual fieldtrips so classes can get some of the value of a trip for free.
If you are more interested in using Google Hangouts to connect your class with other classes around the world then that is not a problem. On Google+ there is a community dedicated to bringing educators together who want to use hangouts for their class to meet other classes.
Example of teachers using the Google+ community to connect their classes
For some guides to getting started with Google Hangouts (private calls between specific people) or Google Hangouts on Air (public broadcasts that anyone can view, use #eduonair to search social media for opportunities to connect) have a look at the following links
Guide to Hangouts on Air


On twitter Skype have an account called @Skypeclassroom and educators can connect their classes. For more information click here.

Let me know if you are interested in connecting with other classes or particularly any High School/Secondary classes in UK.


Ben Rouse

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Adding Formative Assessment and a Markbook to Google Classroom

If you have been using Google Drive without an additional tool to manage the workflow then you need to try one of the following out:

Google Classroom

Introduced by Google in August 2014 to manage the flow of documents between students and teachers and provide aspects of the discussion available in Google+ in a safe private class environment.
It has been well received and I personally am enjoying using it as it is prompting genuine conversations between my students as they work on assignments and work I have put in our Google Classroom.
There are a few areas where educators are asking Google to develop the tool, most notably:
  • Having more than one teacher in a class
  • Formative Assessment
  • Attached Gradebook/Sheet
While I am not aware of a solution to the first issue there is a way to solve the other two.


New Vision Public Schools have a developer group that produce some amazingly useful "add ons" for use with Google Apps... for free. Doctopus is one of their offerings and predates Google Classroom. It allows teachers to set up a class roster and create folders, set and mark assignments within Google Apps. With the addition of Goobric, an extension to chrome that allows you to assign grading rubrics to an assignment it is a Learning Management system (LMS) that a number of teacher rely upon.

Now you can combine Google Classroom and Doctopus to...
  • Set assignments in Google Classroom
  • Create Gradebooks using Doctopus that take information from your Google Classrooms
  • Grade assignments using a formative assessment markscheme/rubric
  • Return formative feedback to the students alongside any grading
Here is my demo for an assignment I had already set in Google Classroom. 


Mr B Rouse
Technology for Learning Lead Practitioner

Monday, 1 September 2014

Make Meetings Collaborative

Make your meeting minutes something that helps you and your team rather than something that you do out of duty.

Using Google Docs has made my meetings much more productive as everyone can contribute to the document before, during and after the meeting. The comment feature allows a discussion within the document or a review of past meeting notes. Colleagues can add agenda items in the run up to a meeting should someone not be able to physically be there they can follow the meeting from anywhere with a internet connection.
Example of meeting minutes I use

Here's how to get yours going:

1. Create a google document 

(here is a template I made earlier feel free to make a copy)

2. Share it with your team 

Each member of the team can have different access
      • Edit
      • Comment
      • View
You will also find the link for the document when you click on share. This can be copied and make shorter for people to access the document.

3. Make the link easy to find 

Provide a simple link to the document that people can use to access the minutes.
By using a URL shortener like or you can create a simple short link to the document, which can be displayed for your team to type into a browser. I used to create the link above to the template. Then everyone can get into the document during meetings and contribute or add to the notes whenever they have something to share.


Ben Rouse

Monday, 7 July 2014

Meet the new Google Drive

Google have been updating the Google Drive interface which will appear soon. Here is a chance to see what is coming before the change takes you by surprise.