Slip Ups with Google Classroom: The Triple Fail

My student teacher used Google Classroom to distribute a document to her students. I didn't know she was planning to use this method; we don't use it that often, but I was proud of her for taking the initiative and doing it on her own. What followed was a case study in trial and error with tech challenges. We learned in the process and our students were really patient while we figured it out. I'm writing this because I think others may learn from slip-ups. (Banana pun intended.)

Students first navigated to Google Classroom and found the assignment at the top of the stream, but they got an error message when they tried to access the document. She made it using her university account, and even though she shared it with her district account, the university account still "owned" the document. Our students can only access docs owned by other accounts in our district, so they couldn't see the doc she sent.

No problem. She quickly made a copy of the doc using her district account and edited the Classroom assignment to change the document. Students accessed the doc, but she realized they only had view access. She wanted them to be able to edit the doc, so she went back to the classroom assignment and changed "students can view" to "students can edit." Those were her only two options at that point.

Very quickly all students realized they ALL had edit access on the SAME doc. It didn't take long for someone to delete everything and for someone else to paste in a large picture of bananas. (And, yeah, this is my circus and these are my monkeys.)

I tried to help by creating a new assignment in Classroom and reattached the doc, this time selecting, "Make a copy for each student." The problem though, was that I was in a hurry and the doc had already been changed to bananas, so... they all got their own copy of the banana doc. Facepalm, I should have seen that coming.

Third time is the charm. I opened her document and used File>version history to get back to what the doc looked like before class started. I restored that version and we made a third assignment in Google Classroom, this time with the restored document and selecting "Make a copy for each student."

At that point, students could go to that third try assignment and get their own copy of the correct document. This whole series of small disasters probably only took 10 minutes, after that her lesson went on as planned and students learned what they needed to about identifying tone in articles. She and I learned some important lessons in the potential challenges of Google Classroom. Third period was a lot less slippery.