A nifty update to Google Calendar is the option for appointment slots. Create an event on your Google Calendar, select the appointment slots option before you save your event and you are well on your way. It will give you an exclusive link to the appointment slots available on your Google Calendar. The link would merely need to be posted and available for all participants to access. It could be sent out via text, Remind, email, or even social media outlets. (This should probably be limited to closed formats to avoid unwanted scheduling. A closed Facebook Group would be a good example of where you could post appointment slots.) This would be a great option for scheduling appointments for parent/teacher conferences (with some limitations that I'll list later) or principals that need to schedule evaluation meetings with teachers.
What about students?Could you utilize appointment slots with students? Of course! Teachers could post time slots for project conferences. Students could use it to communicate that they need the teacher to evaluate their progress or as a final grading of their presentation/report/project. This would be especially applicable to the Flipped Classroom model if students are moving at their own pace. When students hit a wall, need direction, or are ready to move on to the next unit of study, they could easily use the appointment slots to see when a teacher has time to meet with them. If you are a Google Classroom user, this is especially applicable as a separate calendar is created for every Classroom you own. (I highly recommend using the Classroom calendar associated with the class you are teaching so that other class appointments do not get mixed in and create confusion.)
I think back to when I taught fourth-grade and I could have used the appointment slots feature for students in writer's workshop. I would require a final conference before students turned in their work. They could easily do this by scheduling an appointment so that students that finish earlier can get their final evaluation completed and students that need additional time could schedule later. Great way to keep your schedule on the right track!
This isn't perfect. Here are a few issues:
- One issue I see is that you really need to use separate calendars depending on the audience you are using. If you use appointment slots on the same calendar, the next set of visitors would be able to schedule an appointment on a previous/later event.
- A second issue is that users must have a Google account. Most people do, but I'm sure that teachers scheduling appointments with community members may run into issues. It is a blessing at the same time as it does automatically tie the username to the appointment and place it on their own Google Calendar.
- A third issue is that it currently does not integrate well on mobile devices. When I attempted to access it from my phone, it would not open properly in my Google Calendar app. Since most community members use their phones for receiving/sending email, it could cause a problem.