Google Classroom is a blended learning platform for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. It was introduced as a feature of Google Apps for Education following its public release on August 12, 2014. On June 29, 2015, Google announced a Classroom API and a share button for websites, allowing school administrators and developers to further harness Google Classroom.
Google Classroom ties Google’s many services together to help educational institutions go to a paperless system. Assignment creation and distribution is accomplished through Google Drive while Gmail is used to provide classroom communication. Students can be invited to classrooms through the institution’s database, through a private code that can then be added in the student interface or automatically imported from a School Information Management System. Google Classroom integrates with students’ and teachers’ Google Calendar. Each class created with Google Classroom creates a separate folder in the respective Google service where the student can submit work to be graded by a teacher. Communication through Gmail allows teachers to make announcements and ask questions to their students in each of their classes. Teachers can add students directly from the Google Apps directory or can provide a code that can be entered for access to the class by students.
In contrast to Google’s regular services, Google Classroom does not show any ads in its interface for students, faculty, and teachers, and user data is not scanned or used for advertising purposes.
Assignments are stored and graded on Google’s suite of productivity applications that allow collaboration between the teacher and the student or student to student. Instead of sharing documents that reside on the student’s Google Drive with the teacher, files are hosted on the student’s Drive and then submitted for grading. Teachers may choose a file that can be treated as a template so that every student can edit their own copy and then turn back in for a grade instead of allowing all students to view or edit the same document or copy the same document. Students can also choose to attach additional documents from his or her drive to the assignment.
Google Classroom supports many different grading schemes. Teachers have the option to attach files to the assignment which students can view, edit, or get an individual copy. Students can create files and then attach them to the assignment if a copy of a file wasn’t created by the teacher. Teachers have the option to monitor the progress of each student on the assignment where they can make comments and edit. Turned in assignments can be graded by the teacher and returned with comments to allow the student to revise the assignment and turn back in. Once graded, assignments can only be edited by the teacher unless the teacher turns the assignment back in.
Applications and add-ons such as Flubaroo can also assist with Google Classroom grading. By creating a Google Form and uploading it to your Google Classroom account, teachers can have the Flubaroo add-on automatically grade and send student grades to them via email for instant feedback.
Announcements can be posted by teachers to the class stream which can be commented on by students allowing for two-way communication between the teacher and students. Students can also post to the class stream but won’t be as high of a priority as an announcement by a teacher and can be moderated easily. Multiple types of media from Google products such as YouTube videos and Google Drive files can be attached to announcements and posts to share content. Gmail also provides email options for teachers to send email to one or more students in the Google Classroom interface. Classroom can be accessed on the web or via the Android and iOS Classroom mobile apps.
Ways to use
- Flipped classroom
- Solicit daily, weekly, or annual feedback from students or parents.
- Share anonymous writing samples with students
- Create “by-need” groups by class (for example, based on reading level)