Google Classroom…Yay or Ney?

Google Classroom is the LMS platform my group and I are thinking we are going to use for our project. When asked to review a platform this week for our blog post, I naturally chose it. After sitting down with my coworker who uses Classroom, and having her show me how she uses it, I was really excited about it. That was until I read Audrey Watter’s piece Beyond the LMS. I agree with her in that these LMS systems will be what others think education technology is. Google Classroom won’t revolutionize my classroom or make me a better teacher. It is a closed system, but for me, it is a start, and a reminder to keep pulling in those outside resources that will add to my lessons and provide my students with multiple ways to gain new understandings. From here, I can see myself moving toward student blogs and sharing and recreating in the world wide web.

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Classroom also provides an opportunity for me to add a different type of organization to my to my life and the lives of my students. Thanks to my smartphone, I don’t remember anything (perhaps Socrates was onto something)! Students, I feel are the same way. This system offers them a way to rewatch that YouTube or PPT that they may need for clarification or to deepen their understanding. Having that opportunity and a place where much of the important information for a course is posted without having to haul a textbook or binder around with them, could be helpful for many students. Below I have outlined what I learned about Google Classroom this week. All the stuff I learned seems pretty great!

Our school division is allows us access to Google Classroom and have made it easy for our students to use Google Docs. All the students have logins and there is no lost work or worry that they didn’t save their documents properly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a student lose all their work and have to start again, or just give up out of pure frustration. That is why I love that Google Classroom allows one to effortlessly transition between using it and Google docs, slides, or whatever else one can create in their drive. The drive integration is AMAZING!

It is definitely easy to get started using Classroom. You simple click on the + sign and select ‘Create class.’ Once you’ve named your class you can add assignments, announcements, a poll, questions, etc. You can organize your stream (assignments, etc.) by putting them into different units/topics to make it easy for students to find things. This also eliminates a ‘scroll of doom’ if everything is left uncategorized. The endless scroll can also be limited by the ability to bump assignments to the top.

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When teachers are posting assignments they have the option to supply one assignment to every student, or have students view or edit the same material. If you’ve given every student their own copy, you can view what everyone is doing in real time. I like this option a lot so I can keep my students on track. I can also make comments on their assignments while they are working on them. When students are finished, they simply click ‘Turn in’ and they’ve handed in their work. As a teacher, I can see how many assignments have been turned in and how many I’m still waiting for. Teachers can add due dates to their assignments as well. If students haven’t turned their work in by the due date, it tells them it’s late.

When adding assignments, teachers have the option of attaching files from their drive, an outside document, linking to a website, or adding a youtube video. You can even search for your video within the program. Teachers can also save a draft of a post they’ve been working on and schedule when they want it to be viewed by students.

Using the calendar option students can see all upcoming and past due dates. Teachers also have this option. Teachers can get a summary of who’s done what assignments in all their classes. Students are able to view a complete list of assignments. It even categorizes them into  done and to do, and lists the ones with no due dates.

“Google Classroom seems pretty user friendly and has a lot of options I love.”

My coworker is using announcements to make discussion boards. Students could comment on what she’d posted and on other classmates’ comments. You can control students’ messages

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Photo Credit

and comments in the class stream by setting permissions for individual students or for the whole class. You can also see any comments and messages that a student made and then deleted. This system was working for her, however, I found this site that allows you to create a discussion board using Google Sheets.

When you are done teaching a class you are able to archive it so it clears off your home screen that shows all your classes. As with other Google Drive things, more than one person can edit a classroom at a time if it’s been shared with them. This is great for teachers that team teach. Classroom also makes it easy to navigate between classes if you have more than one.

One of my questions would be, if you’ve created and archived a class, can you reuse when it when you teach that class again? Is it a lot of work to set it up again? Do you need to delete things you don’t want to show right away?

My classmate, Roxanne, had this video on her blog and I thought it would be a great addition to my post.

Google Classrooms seems pretty user friendly and has a lot of options I love. I don’t have a lot (or any) experience with LMS platforms, but this is definitely one I will start using.

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14 thoughts on “Google Classroom…Yay or Ney?

  1. Great post. I have never used it before, but look forward to using this in our project. I am kinda new with this so I enjoyed your video and post Thank you !

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  2. I definitely had to self reflect on my teaching practice in terms of blended classrooms after reading Watter’s post as well. I think Google Classroom can help to enhance assignments and not simply substitute paper for electronic handouts. I am also going to be using it this semester for the first time! Good luck.

    Looking forward to the learning curve!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience with google classroom thus far. This will be my first time using google classroom and your post was helpful in navigating the program. Your ideas around the rationale for using google classroom are great and your students/yourself will find value in this. Hope you find success in implementing google classroom into your own teaching and learning! 🙂

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  4. Great post, Jannae 🙂 I watched the same video off Alice’s webpage and will likely link it to my blog as well as it was a huge help to me! I like Google Classroom for many of the same reasons as you – students are already set up and we have an account, for starters! At our staff meeting last week our principal let us know that with all the budget concerns, division office is reminding teachers that we can have students submit assignments online, mark online, and hand back online – wink wink! So…I guess its time for me to learn more about it and this class is exactly what I need to help push me into getting it started!

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  5. Thanks for a great post. I am planning on using Google Classroom too, now I just have to find a way to make my Google Classroom experience great for my students. I have taught a behavioral classroom for years, and their favorite thing to do is sabotage their work in frustration, hopefully working with a LMS will become more appealing than paper and pencil.

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  6. Thanks for your post, Jannae! I, too, love Google Classroom. I have been using it for a couple years now and I really love the integration aspect, as well as the fact that work is never really lost (although I have had some issues in the past with some students… not sure how). However, I did feel the same after I read Watters’ blog. I really thought I was doing advanced things with Google Classroom, and then after I read the blog, I realized I am really not doing anything spectacularly. I need to reflect upon how I use it in the classroom, and what I can do to make a difference. Thanks again for your post!

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