Getting the most out of Google Classroom - a guide for teachers.
What is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is a set of online tools that allows teachers to create lessons, collect student work, grade, and return graded papers. Google Classroom is a learning management system (LMS) that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments and engaging students in learning online or remotely. Edtech tools have become increasingly popular and during the recent pandemic, school systems realised that educational tools needed to be accessed at home as well as in the classroom. Providing activities for children to learn remotely became a necessity and class teachers needed innovative ways to maintain connections with students.
Google Classroom is a free application designed to help students and teachers communicate, collaborate, organize and manage assignments, go paperless, and much more. It was introduced as a feature of Google Apps for Education following its public release on August 12, 2014.
It was designed to remove paper in classrooms and enable digital learning. It was initially intended for use with educational laptops, such as Chromebooks, to help teachers and students share information and assignments more efficiently. Google Classroom has grown in popularity as more schools migrate to online learning, and teachers swiftly integrate paperless education.
Classrooms integrate with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Earth, Calendar, and Gmail, and can be reinforced with Google Hangouts or Meet for live teaching or inquiries. In this article, we will explore how Google classroom can be integrated into everyday class activities and scaffold individual students' curriculum learning.
How much does Google Classroom cost?
Google Classroom is completely free to use. All the apps that function with the service are already free Google tools, and Classroom just collects them all in one location. To include all of its students and teachers, an educational institution must join up for the service. This is done to ensure that security is as tight as possible, preventing outsiders from gaining access to the information or students involved.
Google does not scan the data and does not use it for advertising. Google Classroom and the Google Workspace for Education platform as a whole do not contain any adverts so distractions are kept to a minimum.
There are packages available in the larger Google ecosystem, where Classroom is located, that can provide benefits in exchange for payment. Standard Google Workspace for Education costs $4 per student per year and includes a security centre, advanced device and app management, Gmail and Classroom log exports for analysis, and other features.
The Teaching and Learning Upgrade package costs $4 per license per month and includes meetings with up to 250 participants, live-streaming to up to 10,000 spectators via Google Meet, and other features such as Q&A, surveys, and more. You also get the Classroom add-on, which allows you to easily integrate tools and information. There are endless originality reports available to check for plagiarism and other issues.
What devices is Google Classroom is compatible with?
Because Google Classroom is web-based, you can access it from almost any device that has a web browser. Processing is largely done at Google's end, therefore even older devices can handle the majority of Google's resources. There are device-specific apps for iOS and Android, as well as support for Mac, PC, and Chromebooks.
Google has a significant benefit in that it is feasible to work offline on most devices, uploading when a connection is found. This enables teachers and students to use Google Classroom because they can access it from any personal device.
What educational activities can you do with Google Classroom?
- Start a video meeting.
- Create and manage classes, assignments, and grades online without paper.
- Add materials to your assignments, such as YouTube videos, a Google Forms survey, and other items from Google Drive.
- Give direct, real-time feedback.
- Use the class stream to post announcements and engage students in question-driven discussions.
- Invite parents and guardians to sign up for email summaries with a student's upcoming or missing work.
- Track classwork and submit assignments.
- Check originality, feedback, and grades.
- Share resources and interact in the class stream or by email.
- Protect data and set permissions for your users.
- Set up classes and rosters.
- Add or remove students and teachers from classes.
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Google Classroom Assignments
Google Classroom has many features, but more crucially, it can enable teachers to do more to assist students in learning remotely or in hybrid environments. A teacher can create assignments and then submit documents that clarify what is necessary for completion, as well as supplemental information and a location for students to work.
Because students receive email notifications when an assignment is due, it is very easy to keep a schedule without the teacher having to contact the students regularly. Because these assignments can be designated ahead of time and scheduled to be sent out when the teacher desires, they allow for more sophisticated lesson planning and more flexible time management.
When a job is completed, the student can submit it to the teacher for grading. Teachers can then provide the student with annotations and feedback. Google Classroom also allows for grade export into a student information system (SIS), making it significantly easier to use automatically across the school.
Google provides an originality report function that allows teachers to compare student entries from the same school. This is an excellent method for avoiding plagiarism.
Google Classroom Announcements
Teachers have the ability to make announcements to the entire class making collaboration to classroom activities easy. The announcements can be added to the Google Classroom home screen, where students will see them the next time they log in.
A message can also be sent by email so that everyone receives it at the same time. It can also be sent to those to whom it is particularly addressed. Rich media attachments from YouTube and Google Drive can be added to an announcement to add extra rich material. Any announcement can be configured to function as a noticeboard statement or to allow for two-way communication from students.
Should my school sign up for Google Classroom?
- If you are in charge of teaching at any level and are looking for online teaching resources, Google Classroom is definitely worth examining.
- While it is not an LMS replacement, it is an excellent tool for bringing the fundamentals of teaching online.
- The classroom is simple to use, easy to learn, and works on a variety of devices - all for free.
- Because there is no requirement for IT management support crew to support this system, there are no maintenance expenditures.
- The platform also keeps you up to date on Google's advancements and adjustments to the service.
Learning Activities and classroom resources
Teachers can work on the same lesson plan at the same time with a colleague using Google Docs. Store your lesson plans in your school’s shared Google Drive so that anyone at your school can find and access them. Create a folder for your grade level to share resources. The following list will provide you with some ideas for getting the best out of Google classroom.
- Model mathematics with Google Drawing: Collaboratively create virtual manipulatives, such as Algebra Tiles, in a Google Drawing. Distribute Google Drawings for students to build on.
- Collaborative reasoning: Prior to providing students with the algorithm for solving a problem, students can use a collaborative Google Document or Slides presentation to reason out possible solutions to a problem. Attach a document in Google Classroom as “Students can edit the file.”
- Provide peer tutoring: Students in upper grades can tutor and support students in lower grades through the creation of a Google Classroom class for this purpose.
- Create a Discussion on Specific Topic: In Google Classroom, you have a stream that appears by default when you log in to your class. This stream can be utilized to collect student opinions by creating discussion topics and new posts.
- Weather/environment lab. Science classes can connect with one or more classes in another city, state, province, or country and gather data about the weather or environment around them. Log it in a Google Spreadsheet with a page for each location. Compare and contrast the world around you.
- Weekly reading record: The students in the school usually have a reading diary that they use to record information about times that they read during the week. They take it home as well as use it at school. A form can be created (See example: Google Form) by the children as a place to enter data about their reading. We hear “I haven’t got my reading diary,” so many times during the year, this way they have no excuses and can access it from any computer. Alternatively, a class form could also be set up to gather together everyone’s records.
- Student collaboration on writing projects: Google Classroom doesn’t only support using e-portfolios, but with the power of Google Docs, the students can also work together in new ways on Google Docs.
- Spelling Tests: For your weekly spelling test use a simple 1-10 or 1-20 numbered Google Form (See example: numbered form) with a name question and ask the children to type in their answers as you read out the list of words. Once these are submitted, apply a formula to judge if they are correct or not, and it becomes self-marking.
- E-Portfolio: As the platform is based on Google Drive for uploading documents and assignments, it can also serve as a digital portfolio for students. Both teachers and students can create folders and documents that can be shared with each other. If the students work in groups, they can create their own shared folder. This way the group's work will be available to all the members of the group, even if one or more are absent. As everything happens in the cloud, everything can be done asynchronously.
- Response to Intervention: Different Google Classrooms can be created for students to join based on student needs. Students needing additional support or students needing additional challenges can join a Google Classroom class around intervention of a particular topic.
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