‘Embrace the pedagogy’ was a key phrase that resonated with me last year from The National College Webinar: Remote Education: Teaching well structured, and effective and engaging remote lessons. In this webinar, Chris McShane highlighted that many of the technological advancements that we achieved during the first national lockdown would continue to be utilised beyond the pandemic and the need to embrace this new digital way of working to compliment our classroom practice on our return to school.
Utilising Google Sites and building your own classroom website is a fantastic way to enable an outstanding user experience for our learners both in school and also when delivering our virtual curriculum. This is a teaching resource that you can build over time which will help your learners while also reducing your own workload by working smartly to build a teaching resource that you will be able to use and adapt year on year. In the classroom, we are continually reflecting on how our teaching can engage and it is essential that we continue to reflect upon the way we are presenting information to them to ensure it is accessible and helpful to them at this time. Google Sites works in conjunction with google classroom. You create your site content and then share your link through your google classroom stream. Work is still set and assessed through assignments using google classroom however you no longer need to continuously upload links to lesson resources as everything is centrally stored and accessible on your classroom site. This way of working saves you time and ensures that students can access the information in a clearer way which is easier for them to follow and manage. Once learnt, creating content for a google site is easier than PPs so this new way of working will enable you to create highly engaging content with gifs, films, images and more which will again be much appreciated by your students and also parents/ carers.
Classroom Home Page:
Your classroom homepage is an excellent opportunity to set the tone for your classroom and reflect your own teaching approach and ethos.
Year group pages:
For each of the year groups in the Visual Arts faculty, I have created a year group home page. This allows me to share general key information that we would like learners to be aware of and able to easily reference. I have included: Learning Journey, Curriculum Map, Knowledge Organisers, Super Curriculum and Key information about how their work will be assessed. Whilst we also ensure this information is in the student sketchbooks, I think it is important to have this information within the site to ensure students and parents can access this information with ease.
The lesson pages provide opportunity to build a teaching resource you will be able to access now and in the future. Once you have created a page, they are quickly duplicated enabling you to make changes quickly and easily as and when needed. You can embed PPs, videos, gifs, images and text to present information in a logical way that learners can work through methodically rather than downloading different segments of information from google classroom assignments.
Copying and Sharing
The very best feature of Google Sites, is that once you have created your site you can easily copy the entire site in order to create new sites. As a DOL, I have been able to duplicate my classroom to create a general Visual Arts Classroom site and also created Google Classroom Sites for all of our Visual Arts teaching team. If colleagues would like to try Google Sites at this time, I will happily duplicate mine and adjust the visual content for your subject to assist you getting started with your own classroom platform. Whilst there are a range of creative aesthetic options you could explore, I spent time ensuring my classroom and those of the wider Visual Arts team closely matched the school website aesthetic to ensure a cohesive visual experience for learners. I have also organised a Step by Step PP guide and am happy to provide online assistance to colleagues that would like to give it a go during this time. Once learnt, it is incredibly user friendly and it may be this small change to your practice could have hugely positive outcomes for your own workload and that of your students.
Please click on the link to see My Classroom below if you are interested and would like to learn more. Please do get in touch if you would like any help in setting your own up. I would be very happy to help you.
To find out how to do this, follow this step by step guide: