What is Google Classroom?

Category: Education

Google Apps for Education is a suite of apps tailored for school administration and teachers’ needs. Within this suite is Google Classroom, where students and now parents get involved with the Google ecosphere. Here's how it works...

Google Classroom Gets New Features

Google is pushing its line of cloud-based apps - enhanced versions of Docs, Sheets, etc. - to educational institutions just as Apple has long pursued that key market. The theory is that if you get schools using your product, students will use it; and when they grow up they will continue using it.

Many schools are already encouraging the use of Gmail and Google Docs, to help students communicate, collaborate, and complete classwork. Google Classroom is designed to help teachers organize their classes, distribute assignments, communicate with students, and track students’ progress. According to Google, everything is in one place, paperless, and easy to use. Schools can get access to Google Classroom free of charge; the general public cannot, as yet, access it.

A teacher begins by creating a class in the Classroom app. Then students can be added in several ways. The teacher can send invitation codes to students who then enroll themselves, or the teacher can add students manually. Students can also be imported from a Google Group in which they have participated.

Google Classroom

Assignments can be created and distributed to students. The teacher can see in real-time who is still working on an assignment and who has completed it. Students can submit completed assignments containing material from many sources: Docs, Google Drive, links to other Web pages, photos taken with their own phones, etc. Students can ask questions and, with teacher approval, collaborate on assignments in smaller groups. Class discussions work much like online forums with which students and teachers are already familiar.

On August 17, 2016, Google Classroom added three new features. The first is email summaries of student progress sent to parents and guardians; effectively, digital report cards that can’t get lost or altered on the way home, and which arrive much more frequently than the paper kind. The idea is that that keeping parents current on student progress can help nip problems in the bud.

What Else is New?

The second new feature is Annotations, the ability of teachers to add notes to students’ documents while the latter are working on assignments. Annotations might include supplemental explanations of math principles, suggestions for further research, or anything else that will help a student complete an assignment successfully.

Google also added new Expeditions to the Classroom. These virtual field trips are interactive multimedia presentations that immerse students in a trip to Bhutan, or a walk through the Louvre, or other experiences that may occur in real life thousands of miles from home.

Google Classroom, being platform-agnostic, is ideal for the “bring your own device” model being adopted by many schools. Students and teachers can use Classroom on PC or Mac laptops, smartphones, tablets, or any other device that supports a Chrome browser. The learning curve is shorter when you don’t have to learn new hardware, and schools are relieved of the enormous expense and maintenance burdens of providing gear for everyone, and replacing what is lost or broken.

Is your local school using Google products in the classroom? Do you think they should? Post your comments below...

 
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This article was posted by on 9 Sep 2016


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Most recent comments on "What is Google Classroom?"

Posted by:

Dan Crawford
09 Sep 2016

The seminary where I teach has adopted Google Classroom. I began using it for my on-line course this summer. It took a bit of getting used to, but I'm finding it extremely useful and it has helped me better organize my on-line materials.


Posted by:

Elmo
09 Sep 2016

Good. Finally we are getting on the right track with education. It should not be just for elementary through high schools, it should also extend to university level. Educate the masses with the very best teachers and professors. The massive debt college students acquire is unnecessary and detrimental to our society not to mention the stress it puts on the students and families. And to make it worse, the colleges and universities cannot even hold the number of students who want to learn. The time for change is here and now. This is more important than drone deliveries and self driving cars. Thank you Google. I never thought I would say that.


Posted by:

Pat C.
09 Sep 2016

I wish this would have been around when I was in school. The possibilities are boggling!


Posted by:

Pat C.
09 Sep 2016

I wish this would have been around when I was in school. The possibilities are boggling!


Posted by:

J
09 Sep 2016

As a former teacher, I see the good and the bad with this. The bad, in my opinion, outweighs the good. The good is that it creates less papers and saves the environment. The bad is that few businesses use Google docs, etc. and so we are sending students out without the necessary tools to obtain a job right out of high school with useful skills. They need to learn Microsoft office since most places use that. Another problem I see is too much screen time. You can have discussion forums online, but the problem is that there is no real interaction between students and teachers. As we all know, when you read something online, your current state of mind influences your interpretation of tone and content. More subtle ideas are lost in everyone's own translation of emotion or ideas in and behind the actual words on the screen. Another problem is if you have students without access to the Internet. Yes, it does happen in this day and age. Also, many students use tablets and computers mainly to watch Youtube videos or play games and do not have the necessary skills to do classes online. There isn't enough time in the day for teaching keyboarding skills (due to standardized testing) and students will not learn it on their own, regardless of how many ideas and reasons you can point out as to the necessity of this skill. It is good for enrichment of the gifted since they tend to get lost in the shuffle. I


Posted by:

J
09 Sep 2016

As a former teacher, I see the good and the bad with this. The bad, in my opinion, outweighs the good. The good is that it creates less papers and saves the environment. The bad is that few businesses use Google docs, etc. and so we are sending students out without the necessary tools to obtain a job right out of high school with useful skills. They need to learn Microsoft office since most places use that. Another problem I see is too much screen time, something kids today get plenty. You can have discussion forums online, but the problem is that there is no real interaction between students and teachers. As we all know, when you read something online, your current state of mind influences your interpretation of tone and content. More subtle ideas are lost in everyone's own translation of emotion or ideas in and behind the actual words on the screen. Another problem is if you have students without access to the Internet. Yes, it does happen in this day and age. Also, many students use tablets and computers mainly to watch Youtube videos or play games and do not have the necessary skills to do classes online. There isn't enough time in the day for teaching keyboarding skills (due to standardized testing) and students will not learn it on their own, regardless of how many ideas and reasons you can point out as to the necessity of this skill. It is good for enrichment of the gifted since they tend to get lost in the shuffle. I don't think it should be used exclusively in grades K-12 but I do see advantages in college, but again with the caveat of interpretation. I love a lively discussion in person rather than fingers typing a response.


Posted by:

j
09 Sep 2016

hmmmmm...something wrong with the server today? I only clicked ONCE! ;)


Posted by:

Richard
10 Sep 2016

J wrote: "They need to learn Microsoft ..."

I believe education systems have a moral obligation to avoid promoting any commercial product over its competitors.

Software skills at the level of school curricular requirements are readily transferable to a different word processor, spreadsheet or drawing package, and far below the level and experience of expert users.


Posted by:

Juanita
10 Sep 2016

Our school is a Google one to one school which means all the students have chrome books and teachers can use Google classroom. This is my first year as a teacher at this school, but it is working. I don't see face to face instruction between students and teachers diminishing. I see students having access to all worksheets, resource materials ect... on line 24-7 for them to see and use. I scan in every worksheet they are responsible for doing, even if I have given them one in class. I can scan in assignments from the book and have them do those math problems on their own paper. I can add videos, web sites, ect.. for them to pull up to give them help.


Posted by:

Maureen
13 Sep 2016

My daughter's school uses this and said, "The kids and I both agree it's difficult and clunky plus they have to use google docs for it to work which is an inferior word processor to Word :("


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