I have a saying:
Technology allows us to do things differently, so we will do things differently.
One of the things I love about using Google Docs and Google Classroom is that they allow me rethink accepted norms. Why do we not accept late work? Why do we not provide feedback until after students have turned things in? Why do we not allow students to keep working on assignments after the due date? Why are all students given the same homework assignment? Some of the answers to our teaching practices are related to the culture and technology of the time. The reason for “why” we do certain things can be so far in the past that we do not even know the original reason behind why it was done that way.
Something that personally annoys me is when an assignment is due at midnight. If a student turns in the assignment at 12:01 it is considered late. The student receives a penalty or is not allowed to submit. Why? what was magical about midnight that the assignment had to be completed at that time? I find it hard to believe that there are many teachers sitting at the computer at 11:59 ready to pounce on grading and giving feedback. My stance is that the assignment is due when I assess it. I welcome students to keep making improvements and edits up until I have given feedback. Logistically I can not keep going back and checking to see if a student has made edits so I need to cut it off when I’ve assessed the assignment.
Turn It In and Then Do It
Earlier I did a blog post on how Google Docs allows students to turn in the work and then do it. Why did we not have students submit their work first and then complete the work second…. paper did not allow for this. Turning in the work first allows feedback to be formative rather than punitive.
Google Classroom does not work exactly this way. If students turn in the work before they are done, the students are locked out of editing the document. Essentially though, Classroom does work this way. When work is assigned through Google Classroom the teacher has immediate access to the students documents. This allows the teacher to start inserting feedback while the student works on the assignment.
That Being Said
There are reasons a teacher needs to know what a students document looked like at a certain time. Revision history in a document allows the teacher to see what edits were made when. This is helpful, but can be cumbersome when looking at all student work.
While viewing the folder of student submissions in Google Drive you have the option to download the contents of the folder. Click on the triple dot “More” icon in the toolbar in Drive. Choose “Download” from the menu options.
This will download all of the students work to a zip file on your computer. Text docs are downloaded as Microsoft Word documents. Spreadsheets are downloaded as Excel spreadsheets. Drawings are downloaded as .jpg image files.
The downloaded folder has the assignment name as the folder name. The folder also is appended with the date it was downloaded. This allows you to go back and view assignments as they looked on that date.