You Oughta Know March: Google Classroom

8:00 AM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

You oughta know about Google Classroom, especially if you are Google Apps for Education School.

I have all of my classes in Google Classroom, including two technology training courses that I did -one as a teacher and one as a student.  I don't use Google Classroom with the same frequency for each class.

I actually have two Civics and Economics classes, but I invited all the students into the same class because it simplifies my life because I only have to post items to one group.

I was fortunate enough to be a Beta Tester for Google Classroom last summer, so I have been using this for some time.  Before Google Classroom arrived, my students would share documents with me when they were turning stuff in.  Then I would have a mass of emails and needed to sort assignments into folders on my own.

Well, not ANYMORE!!

One of my favorite features of Google Classroom is that it sorts the students work for you and places in in the appropriate folder withing your Google Drive.  When you begin with Google Classroom, it creates a folder called Classroom within your drive.  It the creates a folder for every class you create and within that class folders goes a folder for every assignment you create.  When students create their work, Google Classroom organizes it for you in those folders thus saving you a TON of time.

Folders are also created for your templates that are sent out to students....more on that later.

After you add your class, you have to invite students.  I am hoping that we will eventually be able to invite parents as viewers, but Google hasn't bitten on that suggestion of mine....yet.  You add students under the tab in the middle of the page.  Using your students' school emails you can invite them to the class.  You can also provide the unique code for students to add themselves.

The advantage to inviting your students is that you can quickly see who has accepted and who hasn't.  Just remember to add new students as they arrive throughout the year.

Once students are into the class, you have two choices for disseminating information: announcement and assignment.  Announcements are used for sending students information while assignments will create the folders in your drive (the students get a classroom folder too) and require students to submit something.

I use both announcements and assignments on a regular basis.  With announcement I can share presentations, video links, and handouts with the students.  I am finding this especially useful in AP Psychology right now as our notes usually go over several days because I am only talking for 15-20 minutes at a time.  This means students who are absent, which happens with spring sports, can access the information without any extra work on my parts.  It is also helpful for students who want to review the presentations and videos after class as part of their review strategies.

You can see here the options you have for an announcement and the one that I created this week for our presentation.  I like that I can link documents as pdfs, so students can open them on any device, or share the documents right from my Google Drive.

Regardless of whether you use announcement or assignment, the system sends an email notification to the students' emails.  This is especially useful for us as we have more and more students with mobile devices.  Now they never miss a post.

Assignments give you the same options as announcements with a few more bells and whistles.  You can set assignment due dates.  Google Classroom will allow students to turn assignments in after the due date, but it will mark them as late in your teacher feed.

With assignments you can also add a document or template and create a copy for every student.  I have done this with handouts, graphic organizers, and presentation layouts.  This feature automatically creates a copy of your template for each student and puts his or her name on it.  You also have option to set items to edit or view.  I use view for items like directions while edit can be used for whole-class collaborative documents.

The teacher feed automatically updates when students turn in assignments.  

A lovely turn in button in the upper right corner of the document when the student creates their assignment.  Students do not need to share with the teacher.  I used this automatic teach share to my advantage this week when students were working collaboratively on a document and the owner of the document didn't share it with the other group members and then missed school.  I was able to go in, open the student's document, and share it with the other group members.

Students create the documents by simply clicking on the assignment name and creating the assignment or uploading a document.  Students can also mark the assignment as done if they simply need you to know they are doing it some other way.

When students turn in their assignments, it transfers ownership of the document to the teacher.  I like this feature because it prevents students from turning in a blank document and then working after the deadline.

Teachers can then comment and grade them right from the assignment page in classroom, go to the Google folder to view them, or download all the assignments to your computer.  Then you can check the assignments and return them to students, which shifts the ownership back to the students' Google Drive.

What are you waiting for?  Go and give Google Classroom a try.

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