Day 2: Virtually Teaching with Google Classroom

Introducing Classroom for Google Apps for Education

By no means am I a tech expert, but I am comfortable blending learning in all of my high school English classes. In fact, I have used this blog and Twitter to document my experiences and share student feedback through three years of teaching a paperless writing course for high school seniors. At last week’s professional development teacher academy, I presented two sessions entitled, Enhancing the Writing Process With GAFE. In each session, I shared strategies to improve writing, communicating feedback, differentiating instruction, and accurately assessing student work utilizing the Google apps. 

Even though I was pleased with my progressive approach (heading into my nineteenth year of teaching) and the success of my writers, human nature forced me to ask:

  1. How can I make my workload as a teacher less stressful?
  2. When does the most learning take place?
  3. How can I be more efficient with class workflow & provide more effective feedback to students?

In typical, all-knowing Google fashion, my questions were answered. I was one of the chosen.

I was invited to explore the new Google Classroom over the summer. In my trial run, I had no problems navigating my way through the options. I even set up a mock class with several tech-curious colleagues (as my students). They received announcements (individual or whole class) and assignments–which Classroom allowed me to set so each student got his own copy. No more begging students to share a document, make a copy of the original document, or accidentally edit the master copy. I could monitor the progress of completed assignments and see how many remained incomplete after the deadline. All work was then filed neatly into a folder in my Drive. 

Simple and impressive. Google continues to lead the way in education. At last, the brilliant minds at Google have found a way to streamline workflow connecting all of their apps. There is always new technology popping up, but nothing is more exciting than the potential of Google Classroom for the 2014-2015 school year.



  1. Justine Hughes

    Hi Brian. It’s great to have you part of the blogging challenge. I got such a buzz out of reading your post. I’m a huge tech fan and especially for all things Google as a way of changing what we do so reading about your experiences with Google Classroom was very valuable. I’d love to read more. If you have any presentations to share, I’m sure you’d be very popular! I started to use Google Docs for collaboration linked to our blogs a couple of years ago with both my students and some of our staff and I agree with you – very powerful in changing what we do.
    Looking forward to reading more! 🙂

    • Mr. Brian Durst

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback! I embedded the link to my presentation in the blog post and once you get into the slides, please check out the links to student work and my reflections. It is all included but you have to experience an Inception-like journey to find the answers. The slides are arranged in order of steps in the writing process and which of the Google apps I used for each step. Please check it out!

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