By Tess Pajaron
I’ve noticed that cloud sharing and file sharing programs are becoming part of the mainstream set of tools that teachers use as well. In both cases, it saves time, improves organization, and helps eliminate confusion.
Some of the most popular of these teacher-focused tools includes G Suite for Education, Socrative, and Engrade, among others.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran teacher, or a new teacher just starting out, here are some tips to help you streamline your work, create a safe space for students, and be more connected with parents.
Safety Comes First
Anytime you introduce internet-based anything into your classroom, student and student information safety is most important. Any program you use should have built-in protections for monitoring and filtering content, as well as keeping your school resources safe from malicious intent. Familiarize yourself with the safety features of the programs you’re working with, and be certain you’re utilizing them to their full extent.
Make it a One-Stop Shop
Most popular file sharing programs allow you to keep a calendar, assignments, resources, and links organized in one place. This can have multiple benefits for both you and your students:
- There is no longer an option for students to say: “I don’t have the assignment!” with 24/7 access to the tool.
- Students who missed classes due to illness or injury can keep up with their classwork and homework even when out for an extended period.
- You no longer have to search through last week’s work to find a worksheet or reading assignment that someone missed.
Allow Online Submission Whenever Possible
Online homework submission keeps students from being able to use the “I did it but I lost it!” excuse. As soon as an assignment has been completed, your student should be able to upload the file, and you’ll have a time-date stamp for submission.
When a parent calls you angry because their child said “they don’t know why they got a D,” you can explain that the assignment was submitted three days late, and have proof to back it up.
Monitor What Students are Doing
When facilitating a group project through your cloud space, you can see who has been logging in and working on it, and who hasn’t—students can no longer rely on their classmates to do all the work.
Allowing them to store their work and files online allows for collaboration, whether their in the classroom or not. This reduces the difficulty that comes with finding time to get together outside of class.
An online cloud space also gives you valuable insight into your student’s study habits; you know who gets their work done as soon as they get home from school as well as who submitted a project at 2 a.m. the day it was due.
Keep Up with Social Issues
If you’re using a classroom social media program, or Twitter or a private Facebook group, you can monitor interactions between students and intervene when necessary. Even if a student realized that their comment was inappropriate and deleted it, most programs keep a record of all this activity so that you can see everything that has occurred.
This gives you the opportunity to see what is going on behind the scenes—students often behave differently when supervised, being more reserved in front of authority figures.
Don’t “Set it and Forget It”
As with any communication tool, file sharing in the classroom is dependent on being attentive and responsive. It’s not a fix-it and forget tool, so check-in at least once a day, if not more. You’ll find that the more your classroom revolves around these tools, the more you’ll naturally check-in regularly out of necessity.