Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Google Classroom Updates Tips, Tricks, and Training Resources

Google Classroom is a great workflow solution from Google Apps for Education. It is important to understand that Google Classroom is not a traditional website that can be fully customized. Google classroom is also not a full-featured Learning Management System for teachers and students.

Why Google Classroom?

  • Classroom allows teachers to post announcements, assignments, ask questions, share resources, and create a calendar of due dates in a secure online location. 
  • Google Classroom is an essential tool to support collaboration, communication, and digital workflow connected to Google Apps for Education. 
  • Classroom helps teachers and students stay organized in a digital workspace. 
  • Classroom helps teachers communicate with parents using Guardian Summaries. 
  • Google Classroom continues to grow and evolved to better support teachers and students. 
Google Classroom continues to add new features. Most recently, Google added the ability to differentiate learning by assigning activities to individual students or the whole class. Teachers have been able to receive notifications when assignments are turned in before the due date, recent updates now include notifications for late assignments. Google Classroom has also recently enhanced the ability of teachers to communicate with parents using Guardian Summaries.

New Feature Post from Google: New Google Classroom features make it easier to learn, teach, manage and build
Here are our top 10 Tips for Google Classroom users. Additional resources and tutorials are included at the end of this post.

Google Classroom Essential Tip 1: Teacher and Student Views
It is important to understand both the teacher and student view of Google Classroom. Teachers signing into Classroom for the first time should sign-up as a teacher. Teachers can create sample classes and invite other teachers as students. This will help teachers to better understand the student view. Google Classroom also creates a Google Drive folder for both teachers and students.

Google Classroom Essential Tip 2: Assignment Options
Google Classroom supports different sharing options and it is important to understand the different Sharing Options in Google Drive before venturing too deeply in Google Classroom. Teachers also have the ability to assign an activity to all students or differentiate the distribution by choosing students or groups of students.

Google Classroom Essential Tip 3: Workflow
Understanding the workflow of distributing and collecting assignments for both the student and the teacher is essential.  Learn more about workflow with this Google Classroom Workflow Explanation

Google Classroom Essential Tip 4: Share to Classroom Extension
The Share to Classroom Extension allows teachers to share websites directly to Google Classroom or directly with students.

Google Classroom Essential Tip 5: About Section
The ‘About’ section of Classroom is the place to share resources and links that students will use frequently. This is a great place to organize frequently used digital resources without losing them in the stream.

Google Classroom Essential Tip 6: Archiving Classes
When ending or starting a new year or semester, it is best practice is to archive last year’s classes to preserve the class materials, any assignments, and any postings to the class stream. Reusing an existing class with new students can be a confusing experience. You can still access the old class files in the Classroom Google Drive Folder, but the archived classes are moved to a separate area to help you keep your current classes organized. An archived class can still be viewed by you and the students in the class. Posts can be copied from archived classes. However, when the class is archived, you can't edit or add anything to the class until you restore it. Additional Resource: Archive a Class Tutorial

Google Classroom Tip 7: File Naming Convention
Google Classroom will keep the Google Drive name of the attached file. If the option of giving a copy to each student is used, then the student’s name will be added to the end of the document. Consistency in naming is an essential to help keep teachers and students organized. Try to use the same name for the drive file, classroom assignment post, and your grade book entry. Additional Resource: Alice Keeler’s Naming Conventions for Google Classroom

Google Classroom Tip 8: Assigning Work, Topics, and Scheduling Posts
Teachers can assign posts to specific students top allow for differentiation. Google Classroom allows teachers to organize post by topic. Students and teachers can then sort post by topics. Additionally, teachers can post in the stream immediately or schedule a post for a future day and time. Additional Resource: Organizing Your Class Stream Help

Google Classroom Tip 9: Grading
Google Classroom creates a Google Drive (Called Classroom - It can be renamed.) folder for assignments created. Use these folders to quickly review and grade assignments turned in by students. You can view them in progress or after they have been turned in.

Google Classroom Tip 10: Discussion Questions, Exit Slips, and Formative Assessment.
Google Classroom allows teachers to post short-answer or multiple choice questions. Teachers have the ability to allow students to see each other's responses so this feature can be used to for classroom discussions. Additional Resource: Google Help: Create a question


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