By Teachers, For Teachers
Google Classroom is a technology in the classroom app designed to provide a single dashboard to unify instructors’ use of other Google apps.
Google Classroom’s purpose is to facilitate paperless communication between teachers and students and streamline educational workflow. Classroom allows teachers to create classes, post assignments, organize folders, and view work in real-time.
Students can begin their work with just one click, by viewing the assignment then opening a Google Doc. When they do this, teachers have a real-time view into student progress and can offer feedback along the way. Students each have their own Google Drive folder that allows students and teachers perpetual access to previous work, and educators can even assign grades within Classroom.
One of the best features is that Classroom is fully integrated with all other Google apps, so students and teachers can share information with one another instantaneously instead of having to hop through various hurdles to submit work. This simplifies certain functions in apps, too: For example, Google Docs would no longer require the use of the nefarious “Doctopus” function to create duplicate copies for students.
In short, Google Classroom offers a one-stop platform for facilitating digital production, workflow, and communication between teachers and students. Like other Google apps, it is available for free to schools, has no ads, and never uses student or teacher content for advertising purposes.
If you’re still largely using paper for materials and assignments, then Google Classroom offers an easy-to-use, entry-level step into making your class more digital. Like many of its products, Google makes every attempt to provide a self-intuitive and user-friendly experience. If you already employ paperless methods for your students, then Classroom will streamline your workflow with its peerless integration with its apps.
Not only does it help with student organization by putting all assignments and work in one safe place, but it also helps teachers too. Creating, copying, assigning, supervising, collecting, grading, recording, and returning work to students is a process requiring a great deal of time and steps. Google Classroom simplifies these tasks by combining, eliminating, or organizing them. Google Classroom will undoubtedly save time and trouble for teachers grading student work.
Classroom is not a production tool, but rather a management tool; so it merely requires you and students to learn how to post information and documents and how to locate the information you want on it. If your students already have experience using other Google apps, like Docs or Spreadsheets, then they are already set for using Classroom.
Google Classroom is additionally designed for teachers and students to share ideas and resources with one another. Teachers and students can participate in online Classroom discussions, and everyone can post links to informative resources within discussions or other sharing mechanisms.
With Classroom, Google is entering an already competitive market ripe with effective learning management systems. Where it has the most leverage is in its seamless integration with its own apps. This allows extremely easy access for students and teachers to one another’s work, and reduces many of the steps previously necessary for sharing information. While other systems like Schoology or Edmodo effectively integrate Google apps into their systems, it requires extra steps, which mean extra clicks and extra complications.
Another advantage is that products created with Google apps are designed for sharing, and that sharing may more easily take place in Google Classroom than other more “Closed system” management software systems.
Google Classroom may lack some of the perks teachers have come to enjoy with other systems like Schoology, which has consistently expanded its features for the last several years. Other systems allow for teachers to create assessments right in the system itself, or more easily allow the utilization of non-Google tools for communication and resources.
Oct. 1, 2019
Jordan Catapano is a high school assistant principal in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated, he also has worked with the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and currently serves as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish.