Thanks to Whitesnake for this post title. If you have only just discovered this blog, I try to use song titles where I can. It’s a nerd thing… 🙂
It has been a slow start (actually, not easy at all, but that would ruin the song title bit) getting the kiddos using Microsoft Classroom, and even slower with the staff. Even though I see my Y9 students (our BYOD programme is only compulsory in Y9 at the moment) 4 times in a six-day cycle, every lesson starts with “What are we doing today?”. I have told them several times that the link will always be on Classroom as a notification. And yet, they still ask.
It leads me to wonder how I can make things simpler and more obvious. My work for the classes is usually two to three lessons ahead of what we are doing in the current lesson, and they also have their SciPads (a workbook created for NZ students, and very good stuff too), so they could even take a guess and opt for the next activity/lesson in the sequence. It seems that students want everything done for them; instant gratification, easy-everything and don’t connect with the learning even though it is all presented for them to find.
I guess it is going to be a case of keep reminding them constantly. I am trying to make our Class Notebook visually appealing with images, and other work is colour coded so students can see when there is something they should be paying more attention to. I have also taken to a bit of bribery; ClassDojo points are now being awarded for students getting onto things without asking me, and some students are developing as leaders of their peers in the digital stuff, which is a slightly unexpected win.
Another win (expected, this time) is the differentiation this system allows – students (once they have found where the work is) can go through the standard tasks, but there are extension activities available for the kids that need stretching a bit more. They can move ahead with some of the extra tasks at their own speed.
In terms of the actual software, MS Classroom and Class Notebooks are growing on me. The only minor grumbles I would have so far, and I am aware this is still in Beta, is that the notifications bit seems to be a bit hidden, it needs to be more obvious. Also, weblinks from OneDrive tend to be near 300 characters although I now use Bit.ly to shorten these. Final grumble is about the app – I cannot make an announcement through the app, something I would like to be able to do!
It is early days, and it will get better. The capabilities of Classroom and Notebooks are huge, and promise some interesting times to come. Watch this space!