The term “personalized learning” is becoming more and more present in our schools. It’s important to do. Technology allows us to create personalized learning paths, differentiate, and give students options to demonstrate their understanding in ways that are more accessible and user-friendly than ever before.
It may sound trivial, but a great way to personalize for your students is by customizing how they see their teacher in these various learning environments. It’s easy to do, and it adds some nice personalization for when you’re interacting with your students online.
G Suite Profile
I see so many teachers that do not have a profile picture on their Google account. If you don’t have a profile picture on your account, the default is the first letter of your first name. If you’ve never put a profile picture on your account I highly encourage you to do so. Remember, your profile picture appears across all of G Suite: Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Classroom, YouTube, Blogger, Keep, Sites, Google+, etc. For example, if you’re leaving a student some feedback in something they wrote in Docs, it adds nice personalization for them to see your smiling face along with your words. Or, if you’re emailing students or parents, it’s nice to see a profile picture along with your message. If you’re using Google Classroom, students see you in the banner of the class as well as with anything you post. If you don’t want to use a picture of yourself, use the Bitmoji version of yourself!
Adding text where it matters
There’s places where text is important across some G Suite apps as well. How about that signature in Gmail? I still see teachers and principals that don’t do this and it’s so easy. We want to know what school you’re at and what your role is! It looks professional and students and parents will appreciate it.
What about the “About” tab in Google Classroom? This is a great place to put more information about you and about your class. Students like knowing that their teachers are actual human beings outside of school. Share some things with your students about who you are as a person instead of them just knowing you as their teachers.
The same holds true with Google Sites and Blogger. If you’re using either of these to create a classroom website, are you putting an “About the teacher” page there? Again, showing your students who you are away from teaching doesn’t only make things more personal, it shows students and parents more about you which is great for making connections and building positive relationships.
Where to start
Going to https://myaccount.google.com/ is where you can always go to change your profile picture or any other settings related to your G Suite account. You only have to change your profile picture in this one spot and then it will appear across all of the Google tools.
Other educational apps
We have a myriad of educational apps and websites to use with our students to personalize learning. Any of these that allow you to add a profile picture and/or “about me” information, I would encourage you to add this level of personalization. It’s quick, easy, and it shows your students who you are.
Maybe if we do more little things like this to show our students who we are, they’ll feel more comfortable expressing to us who they are. This isn’t only great for their learning, but for their development as people too.