“Google Classroom is a tool built specifically for teachers and students. It provides a platform for communicating with students, assigning and collecting work, and providing learning resources.”
Google Training Centre, 2016
Put simply, Google Classroom us a virtual classroom. The above tutorial video will guide you through the setup process. Once a class, or classes, have been created, teachers can use their digital classroom to post announcements, assignments or questions. The screenshot below shows these options in the bottom-right.
Google Classroom shows how many students have completed an assignment and how many have not. By clicking on the numbers, teachers can see those students very clearly. To begin with, you might choose to use your Google Classroom for homework. After all, one of its advantages is that students and teachers can access it anywhere. Using Google Classroom for homework eliminates excuses such as lost sheets or forgotten work, and it engages the students.
Similarly, teachers can see who has answered questions that have been posted. As well as answering the question, students can comment on each other’s responses, creating meaningful, online discussions. This has proven to be a very useful way of getting students to think about essential questions.
The assignments option allows teachers to assign tasks to students and monitor their submissions. When a document is submitted, the ownership of the document switches from the student to the teacher, allowing the teacher to leave online feedback at any convenient time, from any device. After the feedback has been given, the work can be returned to the student (with a grade, if appropriate) and the students can then resubmit an improved version.
The SAMR model was recently introduced to our school and I believe that Google Classroom, when used effectively and creatively, is one way to use technology to transform learning. Google Classroom is not simply a substitute for paper submissions. Google Classroom is an efficient way to organise work (for students and teachers) and submissions can be made online at any convenient time. Giving vital feedback to students has never been easier, and the sharing capabilities allow students to collaborate in a way that is not possible with paper.
To summarise, the eLearning Industry (2015) identify these key benefits of using Google Classroom:
1. Easy and accessible from all devices
2. Effective communication and sharing
3. Speeds up the assignment process
4. Effective feedback
5. No need for paper
6. Clean and user-friendly interface
7. Great commenting system
8. Google Classroom is for everyone.