Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Flipped Upside Down Classroom... Thank You Google Drive!

So, the first five years I was a teacher I took approximately 1/2 of a sick day.  I prided myself on my New England Puritan work ethic and by the time I had my first midget I didn't even blink when I had to take maternity leave.  Fast forward six years and I had to take off three days in the past two weeks.  First, the midgets got the flu, then my husband got in a car accident, and finally the little ones got a fast and furious stomach bug.  My students had been working on an entirely digital unit and I had already abandoned them to a sub one day so I was feeling really guilty.  My school was able to get me tech savvy coverage so the kids were able to spend class in the computer lab and finish up their projects.
Because I was feeling guilty my head started racing with how I could help the kids.  We are a Google school and all of my kiddos needed to open their Google Drive accounts to read the "Do Now" directions.  As I thought about that my plan began to hatch.
1. I edited their "Do Now" to give them directions on how to independently finish their projects.  With Google Drive's real time editing my kids were able to see whatever I was writing from home.
2. I used my iPad to shoot a two minute video explaining the directions to the kids and telling them how proud I was of them.  I even showed them the sick kids in their PJ's and the very happy dog that was celebrating because he wasn't home alone.  I uploaded the video to my Drive account using my Google Drive app, shared it with my students and put the link in their Do Now.
3.  Google Drive allows you to chat with collaborators on any document.  Once these classes started, I typed into the Do Now that I was there and available for chat.  From here I was able to answer questions and help the kids with their technology issues.


The kids got the biggest kick out of it!  They looooved the video and they thought it was so cool that they could talk to me in real time.  My high flyer class mostly used the technology to say hi but my class that tends to struggle.... they had me working my butt off!  Seriously, I was troubleshooting and answering questions for the entire forty five minutes.
I know this couldn't always work. Usually I can't leave anything with technology because I can't be assured that a substitute can even figure out how to turn on a projector   A couple of weeks ago, I hooked up a DVD player to the projector, figuring everyone knew how to run a DVD player.  I left copious amounts of notes on how to turn on the projector and left sticky notes all over it labeling buttons.  Surprisingly, my substitute had no idea how to run a DVD player.  Using technology to teach from home just worked this time.  My students were working in the computer lab and happened to be using collaborative web tools.  Everything just fell together perfectly.  I love when little things happen by chance and they expand your horizons.

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