In 2014 Google released it’s LMS to the world. Aptly called “Google Classroom”, it was little more than a Google Plus type newsfeed for classes. Teachers could sign up student accounts, and set assignments and post announcements.
Read more: About Google Classroom
Since it’s release, it continues to be developed. There are now polls, feedback, assignment documents. It even integrates with Google Calendar to keep students on top of the upcoming and due assignments that teachers set.
Obviously, the target audience for Classroom is for use in High Schools. However, I have also used it rather successfully in upper primary school as well.
Using Google Classroom in the Classroom
First, go to http://classroom.google.com. It will then ask you to either sign in using your Google Account (Education), or if you’re already signed in, then you can Create or Join a class. You’ll want to Create one. Click on the plus, and click on Create.
Of course, you can create as many classes as you need. One for each year level, subject or whatever. As a primary school teacher, I create one class for each year I teach.
The great thing is, Google Classroom integrates straight with Google Drive, and creates a “class folder” for students work, posts, documents and everything else.
For my class, each student has a school Google Account. I then put up the unique class code on the whiteboard and ask each student next time they log onto the Chromebooks to join the class.
Once this is done, it is relatively simple to add assignments, projects, and ideas to the ‘news feed’ for the Classroom.
For instance, if there is a particular video that I want the students to watch for a lesson, I can create a new post, and share the link. Students will then look at the Google Classroom and see the video link, and in time, watch it. Much like a newsfeed, they can comment and share their thoughts (though mostly comments turn to “wassup au” and the like) as they find themselves in a new social environment and explore communicating with each other in different ways!
Once you have setup your class, it’s easy to manage assignments. Let’s say an afternoon’s work requires students to research and answer a few questions; you could set up a Google Document that has the questions on it. Each student gets a copy of this, and fills it in as they work through the afternoon, and at the end, they click on “Turn in”. This submits the work to the teacher, who can then provide feedback as necessary. The great thing about it is that it keeps students motivated; much more than just printing off a worksheet of questions and getting them to hand it in on your desk at the end of the day!
There are a number of settings which are pretty straight forward which will help you set up your Google Classroom to your own preference. Things like whether students can comment or post, who can see what, and the look and feel of the site.
There’s a heap more going on, and more is being developed each day, but as I always try and encourage – get in there and play around yourself. You learn more by doing anyway!