I began experimenting with using Google+ Community pages as a formative assessment resource during my technology courses. I was looking for a way for all of the class to share a space online to discuss ideas and report on progress. I wanted the students to document their thinking process in a convenient way that would allow the whole class to follow along.
Now that I have been using Google+ Communities for a few years, I’ve found it to be an extremely resourceful (and convenient) form of formative assessment. This becomes apparent as students work large projects and have to document the entire process. A Google+ Community page has numerous benefits:
- Our school uses Google Apps, so all of the students already had a Google+ account.
- Easy to quickly post content, photos, links or Google Documents.
- Easy to embed videos from YouTube
- The community is private, so only the students in that class have access to the page. This is important for students that don’t want rough drafts of their work available publicly online.
- Immediate, often real-time feedback.
- It’s easy to quickly search for a student within the community and see their posts and comments that they have left for other students.
- Google+ has a robust app, making it easy to post entries and photos from a cell phone.
- A timeline that showed all of the projects, and you can track the progress over time.
- It’s not Facebook, so students associate the Google+ community with school and education, not socializing with their friends (because, frankly, none of the students use Google+ for socializing)
Below are a few screenshots from one student. The posts show the progress the student documented while working on a final project: