Google Classroom? Not Yet.

I have taken time to get acquainted with Google Classroom. It is a solid base to start from, but it lacks some needed features already present in other Course Management Systems (CMS).

Google Classroom is, not surprisingly, tightly integrated with Google Docs, Google Drive, and Gmail. An assignment can be saved in the teacher’s Google Drive and automatically saved in the correct class folder of the student’s Google Drive. A student may opt-in for emails about assignments or announcements. Students use Google Docs to complete assignments and then submit them back to Google Classroom to be graded by the teacher. The teacher can offer feedback on the assignment and include a grade. There are APIs already available for 3rd party apps. These are all solid features.

There is, however, plenty of room to grow. Google Calendar is oddly missing. There is an option to integrate YouTube videos, however many districts block YouTube. There is no way to test students, which is a huge drawback comparative to other CMS. The timing could have been a little sooner to give teachers some time to ready their Google Classroom before school started.

All in all, Google Classroom is a good start. With the power of Google behind Google Classroom, it will get better. I think it is a good entry point for teachers who are comfortable with the Google universe and are looking to get their feet wet with a paperless classroom. Teachers looking to for more will quickly outgrow Google Classroom.

If you are really looking to get started with a paperless classroom, look elsewhere for now.

Backup! Backup! Backup!

 

My computer crashed last week.  Without going into too much detail, I was disconnected from the digital world except for my cell phone until my new computer arrived.  I was never worried about the data on the computer because I backup all of my data automatically and continuously.

CrashPlanLogo

There are many ways to backup your data.  I am not going to go into all of them.  I am just going to let you in on the simplest way to backup your data and the way I prefer to do it.

I use CrashPlan.  This is the best way to backup because it is off-site and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  It doesn’t matter if your computer is stolen, if it catches on fire, or if your computer just decides that it doesn’t want to work anymore.  You just download your data that was backed up and your off to the races once again.

CrashPlan is free if you backup your data to a friend’s computer and your data is all encrypted so no one can see your files.  Alternatively, you can backup to CrashPlan’s servers for a fee.  Plans start at $2/month and go up depending on how much data you have to backup and how many computers you want on your plan.

There are many ways to backup your data.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, be sure to backup your data NOW!

Hello World!

My name is John Kubala.  I am starting a blog because I know there are many teachers that know there is cool technology to use out there, but they don’t know where to start.  I read many blogs myself and find many of them too technical for the average person.

Teachers are very special people.  We spend time on lesson plans, on grading, on Professional Development, and on top of that we are supposed to use technology in the classroom?!?  Are you crazy?  I answer yes, and probably to those questions.  I hope to give a few ideas on how you can integrate technology more easily in the classroom.  I plan on telling you what I am doing in my classroom and hope that you will comment on what you read.

So welcome to my blog!  Sit down and stay awhile.  Poke around and leave comments even if just to say, “Hi.”

Thanks for visiting today.

John Kubala