Why You Should Explore Google Classroom

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      Video: Overview of Google Classroom features

Many of us have been inching our way closer to a paperless classroom for years now, but the limits of current technology haven’t always made that easy or desirable. The release of Google Classroom last year, however, takes us one step closer to that reality by making it significantly easier to manage student work in an online environment.

Perhaps going paperless is nowhere on your personal radar, or perhaps the very thought of it nearly launches you into an angry rant about the good ol’ days. Still, whether or not going paperless is your goal, Google Classroom is an easy and powerful tool that has some features that can be useful for any teacher, and it is worth exploring.

What It’s Not

Firstly, I should point out that I don’t view Google Classroom as a sufficient replacement for a learning management system like Moodle, Edify, or a Google Site. It is not a great place for students to access your classroom resources and it is not easy to organize and customize a Google Classroom page.

What it is

I realize that after hearing that I don’t view it as a good replacement for your Moodle page, some of you may have checked out. You might not even be reading this anymore! You remember how much work it was to get your Moodle site put together and you just don’t have it in you to start all that setup with yet another tool. Well, you’re in luck. Google Classroom will take you all of 5 minutes to set up. Not 5 minutes and then countless hours uploading resources, keeping it all up to date and organized. Just 5 minutes.

Where Google Classroom really shines is as an environment for making announcements, and assigning, collecting and grading student work in a very quick, easy, and intuitive way. It requires very little time and effort and for me the benefits have been huge.

The Best Feature

I won’t get into all the features (there really aren’t that many, actually) but I will highlight one feature that has had a huge impact on the way I manage student work. In creating an assignment, a teacher has the ability to link to a Google doc. If the teacher selects the ‘each student will get a copy’ option on the assignment, when a student clicks to begin the assignment Classroom automatically makes that student

How to set up Google Classroom
          Video: How to set up Google Classroom

their very own copy of the document.  That document is immediately shared with the teacher and is easily accessed either from Google Classroom or from Google Drive (in a new ‘classroom’ folder that is automatically created for both). If you ever have students submitting work via Google Docs, this one feature makes Google Classroom a nearly essential tool.

For more details click on the video tutorials above, or talk to your friendly tech coach. We’d love to help you get started!

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8 comments

  1. Thanks, Nate. One feature that I really like is that I can immediately – without sorting through papers – see who has turned it in (and when) and who hasn’t (and what is still incomplete). I’ve really like using Google Classroom and hope to keep moving my major projects (papers and videos) in that direction.

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  2. I’ve used it in both classes I teach (3 sections of history and 3 of Econ). I love it – especially from the standpoint that there is a day by day installment the way I use it. If a student is absent – they go directly to the google classroom to get the power point. In addition, I’ve gone to using this exclusively for readings in my class. I did not use it before this semester – now I’m not sure I could teach without it!!

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    • That’s great to hear, Irv! Thanks for the comment. I’d love to have a look at yours sometime, just to see how a teacher is using it on a daily basis. I only use mine about once a week at most.

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