The paradigm shift in teaching and learning has replaced the blackboard with various learning management platforms. Google Classroom is one of the most widely used platforms for learning and teaching. Google Classroom is part of the G Suite for Education (Google for Education) package that includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and other apps.
Why Google Classroom?
Compared to other LMS (Learning Management Systems) that have been popular over the past decade, Google Classroom is amazingly simple. Even though Google Classroom is more of a tool than an LMS, it is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for an organization. What’s more, it’s a free service for teachers and students. The (rather small) catch is that an individual cannot register until their school or organization signs up for the Google for Education package.
How to use Google Classroom effectively?
Online teaching has a lot to offer and one has to actually strive a bit to ace online classroom management. Teachers started with a lot of trepidation but are now getting accustomed to the usage of tools and techniques in online platforms.
However, effective management of online classrooms can only be achieved by understanding the nuances of using the particular platform. Here are a few tips to help one in this aspect. Chenda Jayachandran, Head Customer Engagement at Learning Matters has been training teachers for over two decades and swears by these tried-and-tested techniques. They may sound simple but are critical.
1. Keep Parents in the Loop
In order to ensure smooth running of online classrooms, keeping the parents in the loop is a necessary step. Google Classroom has options for teachers to send out updates about students' classwork directly to the parents. Communication from school to home should be regular and consistent. It may consist of summaries of lessons completed, alerts or reminders for upcoming or missing submissions, and information about other class activities.
2. Establish Effective Communication with Students
Establishing clear, direct, simple, and effective communication with students is also key to successful online teaching, Google Classroom has many in-built options to make this easy for teachers. In the “Students” tab, clicking the checkboxes above all of your students’ names highlights all the individuals. Clicking on “Actions” and “Email” helps in drawing attention to something you want to communicate to students. The “Move to top” button can be used when a student hasn’t submitted an assignment or to remind the students of the deadline for submission. Also, the “private comments” feature can be used to communicate with students to give feedback. In this way, Google Classroom simplifies communication with students.
3. Connect with the Community
Teaching is more successful when it is collaborative. Google Classroom allows you to share your data with your school’s teaching community and collaborate with other teachers who teach the same grade level. You can invite teachers to join your class to help coordinate class activities. If you use Google Groups, you can also invite a group of co-teachers at the same time. Your G Suite administrator might only allow teachers and students from your school to join classes. Google Classroom makes it very easy for educators to collaborate in multiple ways.
4. Connect all your Resources with Google Classroom
To make the best use of the Google Classroom platform holistically, you can check out the supported integration of websites or apps available for Google Classroom. You can make use of several other in-built tools like Docs, Drive, and Calendar. Make effective use of Google Drive for collaborative writing, sharing, and commenting which provides students with the opportunities to receive immediate feedback on their assignments from teachers and classmates. By using the Calendar, teachers can streamline effective classroom management. For example, if you post an assignment with a due date, it's automatically added to the class calendar for your students to see. Furthermore, one can digitally organize, distribute, and collect assignments, course materials, and student work on time without any misses.
Some apps partner with Google directly, while others create and publish their own third-party add-ons in the Chrome Store. For example, if you are looking for learning content online there are integrations with publishers such as Newsela, Khan Academy, and BrainPop. In order to make teaching effective with relevant videos and quizzes, you can check out Kengine - a video-enabled digital content and assessment platform. Kengine can be easily integrated with Google Classroom.
As the way students are learning is changing, a lot of other things are also constantly evolving with regard to teaching, too. Google Classroom has been introducing new features regularly to make teaching and learning easier. They take the user’s feedback very seriously. If you want to suggest a feature then go to classroom.google.com. In the bottom-left corner, click Help (?) > request feature. Enter your suggestion and then click Send.
Last but not least, learning the nuances of Google Classroom is another skill set altogether. But, it can indeed be accomplished. If you are a novice in need of extended support on the usage of this platform, sign up for our in-depth demos and walkthroughs of Google Classroom. As the sessions are handled by Google Certified Experts, get ready to be trained by professionals. Now, anyone can become a pro at using Google Classroom!