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MARIST BROTHERS LINMEYER

Grade 12 Mathematics using Google Classroom

This year, I have been teaching for 20 years and I have to say that it has been the most exciting year of teaching for me so far.

This year I am teaching one Grade 12 Mathematics class using the iPad as a tool and using Google Classroom. Since my students will be writing a pen-and-paper examination at the end of the year, all assessments are completed in the same way, on paper and all homework is completed on paper in their workbooks.

Google Classroom has several positives:

  • I am saving paper and my students are saving on glue (I normally chop down 620 000 trees with the number of notes that I copy for my students!) Now I simply upload my notes onto Google Classroom.
  • My students are saving time not having to file or remember where they placed their notes. Google Classroom stores all the notes according to topics and they are accessible offline.
  • My students can watch my lesson over and over again. I am now using an app called Explain Everything. This app allows me to create videos that contain my notes, with a voice-over of me explaining the notes and using a stylus pen, I am filling in the notes as I explain. I then compress the recording and it becomes a video of my lesson. This means that my students can watch the lesson as many times as they like until they understand the concept.
  • Absent students don’t miss the lesson. Since I am posting the notes and a video of lesson, they can watch the lesson at home and they don’t miss out.
  • For the first time, the students have access to the homework exercise answers in full. I simply post the answers to the homework at the beginning of the next lesson. Students cannot copy the homework since it only appears on Google Classroom at the start of their next lesson, but the novelty is that they can start marking the homework as I stamp their books and check that they have completed their homework. Since I have completed the homework too, they can check where they went wrong. Similarly, assessment memorandums are also posted and students can then check where they went wrong and use the past assessments for extra practice.
  • I can “Flip the Classroom”; record a lesson on Explain Everything and ask my students to watch it at home for homework and the next day, we can work on an exercise during the lesson. This means that I can help them as they deal with exam-type questions and they do not have to try and tackle them by themselves at home.

I suppose though, that the “proof is in the pudding” and I will have to wait until the end of the year before I can tell whether this style of teaching has benefitted my students as much as I think it will. For the moment, I think that it is safe to say that my excitement and passion is evident and my students can see how much I am enjoying myself. Hopefully this will inspire them to work harder …

Yours in Mathematics,
Lara-Ann Koch