Google Tips: An Overview of Google Classroom Features (2015)

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Google classroom is a learning management system (LMS) designed by Google and implemented through Google Apps for Education. Learn the various features within Google Classroom including the new 2015 updates such as Discussion Questions and Calendar integration. Read on to find out more. 

Video Tutorial

Written Tutorial

Google Classroom is only accessible through the Google Apps for Education program. Therefore, only emails within school or education systems are eligible.

Setting up a Google Classroom

  1. In Google Chrome, navigate to Google Classroom by typing the following address:
    http://classroom.google.com
  2. If this is the first time accessing Google Classroom, the screen will prompt for a “Teacher” or “Student” role. If you are a teacher, ensure that you select the “Teacher” role. If you do not, then the Google Apps domain administrator (most likely the school IT) will have to manually change the setting. 01-chooseRole
  3. The next page will have a plus in the header menu. Click on the plus and then select “Create Class.” 02-createClassNOTE: In this menu, teachers are able to join classes setup by other teachers. They will be added as non-contributing teachers.
  4. In the dialogue box, enter the classes name. The section number is optional. 03-nameClass

Add Students to Google Classroom.

All Classroom’s in Google Classroom have a join code found in the left sidebar. Students can log into classroom and then join the class by entering the code. 05-classCode

  1. Direct students to Google Classroom (http://classroom.google.com).
  2. Direct students to click on the “+” on the menu.
  3. Have students enter the class code.

An alternative method is to manually add students to a classroom. This method is more useful for students that transfer to the class after the class has already begun. Students can be invited in the “Students” tab (see below).

Google Classroom Features

Teachers can change the background image and colour theme of the Classroom. Furthermore, Google classroom contains three main sections: Stream, Students, and About.
04-Classroom

The Stream

The stream contains majority of the correspondences the teacher will have with students. New messages such as announcements, assignments, and discussion questions appear in reverse chronological order. Newer messages appear at the top of the stream. To add a message to the stream, click on the “+” icon on the bottom right corner of the stream. 10-streamOptions

Types of Messages

Announcements allow teachers to post general messages to all students within a class. Some examples of announcements included exam dates, special events within the school, and reminders for permission forms for an upcoming field trip. To create an assignment, simply select the option in the “+” menu. The dialogue box contains a line to type the message and icons to add resources. Once the announcement is complete, click on the “Post” button. 11-createAnnounce

Assignments allow teachers to assign reading and writing assignments by adding Google Docs, YouTube videos and webpage links to the assignments. Assignments are similar to announcements with additional features such as optional due dates and creating a copy of a Google Doc for each student. Students are able to add additional files and turn in their assignments online. 12-createAssign Teachers are then able to view how many students have submitted the assignment on Google Classroom directly from the stream. 13-viewAssign

Discussions Questions are similar to assignments. Instead of attaching a Google Doc to the assignment, teachers simply ask the question directly on the stream. Students can then respond on the stream. The teacher may choose to assignment a grade for a discussion question in the same method of assigning a grade to an assignment. 14-askQuestion

The Students Section

The student section allows teachers to manage students within Google Classroom. Teachers are able to mnually invite students, email students, set students permissions for posting and commenting within the stream and changing or disabling the class code. 06-postingPermissions

The About Section

The about section provies a section to add additional information about the class. Teachers can add a title and description in this section. In addition, the associated Google Drive and Google Calendar locations are accessed through this section. The teacher can also invite other teachers as a co-teacher and add materials such as a syllabus to this section.

Notifications

Whenever a teacher or student adds anything to the class stream, email notification are automatically sent out. Therefore, be cautious when sending out something new on the stream because students will still receive an email notification with the original information, regardless if the information is changed immediately afterwards. 15-emailNotificationsStu

Closing Thoughts

Google Classroom streamlines several functions that teachers process within their classrooms on a day-to-day basis. However, with its relative newness, it still lacks several features that a fully developed LMS, such as Moodle, possesses. Some features Google Classroom will benefit from include its upcoming integration with Google Forms, Forms that save with partial completion, stylus support for Google Docs, parent integration, and more functionality for math learning. Nevertheless, Google Classroom provides the basic tools to manage teacher-student communication online.

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