One thing is for sure though, Google Docs / Drive makes the process so much easier. A few years ago, I would have taken in a large number of written assignments, made comments, returned them to their creators with Post-It suggestions, hints etc. Now, they submit regularly by sharing their work with me via Drive, or they just drag them into their Science folder created by #Hapara as part of their Teacher Dashboard. I comment, make suggestions and berate them for copying and pasting in the comments, and they fix things up and pass it back for me to look at again. It is amazing to have discussions with students about their work at 10pm, when I am busy checking emails or otherwise doing something other than work! Also, during class time there is a regular queue of students who want me to check their work RIGHT NOW, and again this can be done so easily.
Some observations I have made about my teaching this past year ( I actually stopped to reflect recently in a rare minute of peace... ) which I thought worth noting.
1. I don't badger kids to be working in class if I know they work at home at 10pm. Let them organise their work-flow to suit their personal timings. As long as they are not going loopy in class, I tend to leave them, unless they don't work at home either, of course!
2. Any form of device is okay with me. I think this was something I learned at the Google Teacher's Academy. Our students (and me) have a variety of devices and do not specifically use one for everything. Therefore, I do not berate students for listening to music or fiddling with their phone (although rules as above...). Apparently, some teachers don't like phones or other devices to be visible in class, other than the device they are supposed to be using. Why? Seems mad to me, although obviously if the teacher is talking, it is manners. But the whole lesson?
3. My initial thoughts about using social media (Google + actually) were that it could be a good means of having discussions with my students about their learning. It seems that certain groups have taken to it more readily than others, but generally the students have worked out the basics, and we do have learning conversations.
4. Next year, there are going to be more procedures related to using Google +, in terms of creation, posting, communities etc. right from the word go. It is actually going to be an implicit part of my teaching.
5. There is going to be a lot of time devoted to working individually and learning to research for my students. I will show them the way on this at the start of the year. I want my learners to work their way through things without asking me everything. BUT, I am also going to teach them about plagiarism, validity and reliability of information (this is actually worth credits in L2 bio too!).
So, now we are on the downward slide, more revision materials and past exam papers need to be uploaded to my site for my L2 bio class. Also, I have to consider what I intend to teach for a L2 Education for Sustainability (EfS) course that I am hoping to run in 2014!
My challenge now is going to be to write another blog post by the end of week 1, term 4! You can all hold me to it...