What is Google Classrooms?

Understanding the need for Google Classroom

As teachers and school districts attempt to deliver more digital content to students, they need a digital medium to do this. Unless you work with technology on a daily basis, you probably use email to send links to webpages (URLs) to friends. You might also use Facebook, Twitter or some other social media.  Just a few years ago, many tech savvy high school and junior high teachers were using Facebook to communicate with students. Companies such as Edmoto and Haiku became popular for communicating lessons and worksheets with students. This platform for organizing digital learning content is call a Learning Management System.  Online learning courses use these platforms, but as digital learning is become integrated into the regular school building, the need for these virtual LMSs are becoming a necessity. In the fall of 2014, Google launched Google Classroom as a means for teachers to share and collect assignments from students, thus joining the LMS competition.

What makes Google Classroom so appealing is the ease in which it integrates in the Google Apps for Education Suite that many schools have deployed.  If a school has deployed Google Apps for Education, they have supplied the students with Google accounts which provide access to Google Classroom and many other apps, such as Google Drive and Google Scholar. However, unlike some of the other apps, Google Classroom is only available to GAFE accounts with in a school’s domain.

 

Understanding Google Drive

If you are new to Google Drive, think of it as a hard drive in space (the cloud). Students and teachers can access their programs and files from any computer that is connected to the internet. This is very powerful for students because they can work on something at school and then continue to work on it at home. For busy families, this means students can complete work from just about anywhere that has internet access. Google drive allows users access to programs like docs (word processing), sheets (spreadsheets), slides (presentations) and drawings (color pad), just to name a few.

 

Google Drive – Google Classroom Connection

When Google classrooms is connected to a google account, a folder is created in Google Drive for that account. The folder will be called “Classroom.” Students can have many classes within Google Classrooms. Any “class” will have subfolders within the “Classroom” folder. When teachers create assignments in Google Classrooms, then can pass out “papers” to their students. These “papers” will have the students name on it and the file name the teacher has associated with it. When the student edits the paper, the teacher and the student can see the changes by going into the folders. All of this collaboration takes place because of Google’s ability to share files and folders.

This can provide a wonderful opportunity for teachers to provide clear and concise feedback to their students. Additionally, if parents are logging into their student’s accounts, they have access to their student’s work, teachers comments etc. No more lost assignments!

Parent Involvement

I recommend parents review their student’s accounts from time to time. They should explore creating files and using the apps alongside their students.  Students can create other folders outside of the “classroom” folder. These folders will not be a part of the shared system of folders and are private to the student, unless the student shares them. Take time to create and work with your student. Be a part of their technological learning.  Many parents say, “My kids are my tech teacher!” Studies show that the best learning comes when we teach. Let your kids be your teacher! Kids love it!

 

Why Google Classrooms?

Watch Google’s Promo Video for Classrooms

 

How to log into Google Classroom from Home