I’ve discovered how useful the ‘question’ option is in Google Classroom. You can find this under the same menu as ‘assignment’ and ‘material’ when you create new posts in the classwork tab (Create – Question). I’d started using it originally as a back-up register to see who arrived on time to the lesson, before I downloaded the brilliant add-on ‘Meet Attendance’ which took over this task. I then began to think about how an early question in the lesson could be used differently. I started to use it to check understanding of previous topics and ideas, but kept it to simple one-word or short sentence responses and ‘unticked’ the ‘see other responses’ and ‘reply to others’ box, which meant that it was a one way communication between me and my students. This works well for a quick check of learning.
However, I think the real power of the ‘question’ in Google Classroom is the opportunity for students to learn from each other, encouraging them to comment on each other’s work and to open up conversations that can be continued lesson after lesson. Ticking the box ‘students can reply to each other’ and you open up a world of discussion and opportunities for peer discussion. I am currently using this with students who are learning how to answer 10 mark exam questions quickly and keep their responses focused. We are working with PEEL (point, evidence, explanation and link) paragraphs. I ask every student to make a ‘Point’ about a set topic we are focusing on in class, then ask students to add ‘evidence’ evidence to another student’s point, and so on. A bit like the old game ‘consequences’. At the end of the activity we end up with 20 PEEL paragraphs that can be used to respond to an essay question – and everyone writes an example response using three of four of these.
Questions can be used as a quick way of checking that students understand complex theories and ideas too – a nice bit of stretch and challenge!
One final really useful function of the question option is if you need to get important information from students such as next of kin emails or other admin tasks that they often avoid – I managed to get all 18 NOK emails from my new tutor group within about 15 minutes using this function; previous years I’ve been chasing students for weeks!