Considering how much I love Google Classroom, it’s surprising that I haven’t blogged about it since September. There have been many great updates since then. Google is constantly listening to feedback from teachers and updating their products in response to ideas and suggestions. Most of these ‘recent’ updates are not actually very recent, but they are excellent and definitely worth mentioning on my blog. If you were unaware of these updates, I hope that you will find this post useful.
Assign to specific students
Questions, announcements and assignments can now be assigned to specific students. These tasks will appear on the Google Classroom stream for those students only. Simply click the drop-down arrow next to ‘all students’ to select individuals instead.
Categorise posts with topics
Especially for teachers and students who use Google Classroom a lot, the feed can get busy and posts can get lost. Use the topic option to create categories and to organise your posts. Your topics will be listed down the side of the stream so that you and your students can filter posts. Jennifer Fischer, one of my Blogging Buddies, recently wrote about Google Classroom from a parent perspective and mentioned how useful the topic feature is. Click here to read her other organisational tips.
Schedule your posts
Questions, announcements and assignments can now be automatically published at a time and date that you select. Very useful! Click on the drop-down arrow next to ‘assign’, ‘post’ or ‘ask’ (depending on what type of post it is) and select ‘schedule’ instead. You will then be prompted to select a time and date for the post.
Post to several classes at the same time
This isn’t a new feature at all, but I will mention it anyway because I didn’t realise that it was possible until recently. I never needed it before, but since creating a separate Google Classroom for parents, it has been an invaluable feature! Simply click the drop-down arrow next to the class to select the other classes that you want to simultaneously post to. For anyone with more than one class (I’m thinking of secondary teachers in particular), this could save you lots of time!
Google Classroom for all Google accounts
This one actually is a new update (March 2017). It is no longer necessary to hold a school-associated Google account in order to use Google Classroom. Now, personal Google users can be invited to Google Classrooms. This is excellent news for trainers, trainees, tutors, etc.
I love the way that Google listens to teachers and continually improves its products. When we ask, Google delivers. What improvements would you like to see in the future? Are you aware of any other fantastic features? Please leave a comment below.
For all things Google, I again draw your attention to Teacher Tech by Alice Keeler. Click here to see her Google Classroom books. Alice’s new book with Diana Herrington is also out now (below). My copy is on the way.
As always, I learn something new from each of your posts. Thanks to you I’m using Seesaw in my classroom flow and I’m really happy with it. A wondering I have for you is whether you feel the need to employ both Classroom and Seesaw in the same classroom? Again, thanks for the insights. You rock!
Thanks for the kind words. I’m so pleased to hear that you have adopted Seesaw as a result of my blogging. Hearing these comments makes it all worthwhile!
I get asked this a lot actually, about the need for both platforms. For me, they have totally different functions and therefore I do use both. I don’t see an overlap in their purposes. Put very simply, Seesaw is a portfolio, blogging and reflective tool. Google Classroom is a workflow, collection and organisational tool. I wouldn’t use them for the same job. Try both and let me know what you think.
On this topic, it’s worth mentioning that Seesaw also has an amazing update. This one is just a few weeks old. Files can now be uploaded directly from Google Drive. This is exciting for G Suite schools. Docs, Slides, etc. can now be easily added to Seesaw. Ace!
Thanks for your comment and question!
The “assign students” feature is great for differentiation. You can make sure students get the task you need them to do, and not all the others.
Absolutely! Differentiating on Google Classroom was possible before, but not through any obvious or easy methods. Teachers kind of needed to ‘hack’ it and think of ways to do it themselves.
This new feature is very simple and, like you say, it means that each students gets what they need and nothing that they don’t need.
Thanks for the comment!