If you are reading this, you are probably a teacher who has been thrown the curve-ball of teaching your classes through distance learning! I love technology and am thrilled to work in a district that has a 1:1 Chromebook initiative. But I never expected to rely on technology as my sole source of instruction.
For several weeks, I have been recording my lessons using Screencastify and sending students copies of digital notes and activities that I have created. Students have used FlipGrid to record their responses, Edpuzzle to check for understanding when assigning YouTube Videos and Quizizz to practice new skills in a fun and meaningful way.
The one thing about distance learning that I was REALLY missing was the personal interaction with the students. After all, isn’t that why we got into teaching in the first place? Enter Google Meet!
In a previous post, I shared some ideas for connecting with students during distance learning but Google Meet is a great way to up your game!
It may seem like a scary step to go live in front of your students. But you will be amazed at the level of interaction and feedback that is possible through this digital platform!
Why I Love Google Meet
It’s Quick and Easy to Set Up
Google Meet is Google’s videoconferencing software. Thanks to updates in Google Classroom, it is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with the platform. Just go to the class settings and enable Google Meet. It will generate a link that you can quickly share with your class.
If you are like me and teach several sections of the same class, you can go directly to Google Meet and easily set up a session and share the link to all of your classes. This was so quick and easy to do! You can be up and running in less than two minutes!
You Can Record the Session
One of my favorite things about Google Meet is the ability to record a session. If you select the option, Google will record the session and send a copy straight to your Google Drive! It’s like magic!
What I like best about this is that students won’t miss out on a meeting just because they had a glitch with the internet, or a sibling was on the computer. You can share the link to your Google Classroom and they have instant playback at their fingertips!
They Send a Transcript of the Chat
Even though I told my students that the Google Meet was being recorded, I was floored when a separate transcript of the chat text was included in my Google Drive with the recording! I was able to see which students had participated, their responses and the time the comment was made. Pretty cool!!
Tips for a Successful Google Meet
Just like you would in your classroom, I always start my sessions with expectations. It completely transformed my session from feeling like a circus to having complete control.
I post my expectations when I post the join code. After saying hello to everyone, I share my screen with them and we go over expectations as a class.
- Be on time
- Mute your computer
- Use the chat (messages) appropriately. It is for asking and responding to questions, not personal conversations or hellos.
- Find a quiet area where you can focus
Explain How to Use the Chat Box (appropriately)
I love the chat box! It is a fantastic way to interact with the students and give them some ownership – especially since I require my students to use mute. You can ask your students to share what they have been doing this week, to summarize something they learned from the lesson or to make predictions about an experiment they will be viewing. It is a perfect example of total participation techniques in action!
How Can I use Google Meet with My Students?
As a teacher, I think the possibilities of using Google Meet to enhance distance are endless.
You can use it for small or whole group instruction, weekly check-ins, games or quick demonstrations. I like to keep the sessions short and sweet – between 15 -30 minutes.
Here’s an example of how I used this with my students today.
- Hello and a fun “would you rather” question with the chat feature
- Shared my screen to review expectations
- Introduced our new water unit and did two demonstrations. I was able to position the camera to demonstrate surface tension with a glass of water, paperclip, and pennies.
- Students used the chat feature to make predictions
- After the demonstration, I explained how it connected to our unit and shared my screen to explain their assignments for the week.
A quick word of advice from someone who has been there…. be sure that the Google Meet Session is completely exited when you are finished! You could end up with hours of student antics as friends continue to chat away! 🙂
If you are looking for some new engagement ideas, check out my blog post “Teach Anywhere: 5 Digital Learning Tools for the Online Classroom.”