One of the easiest solutions for digital learning is Google Classroom as it comes with many of the tools you may already be using as a teacher such as Gmail, Google Docs and Drive. Most importantly it is a EdTech that is free for schools and their teachers.
Although it is not yet a standalone LMS (Learning Management System) it is a great base for your virtual class and is easy to setup and use because it works similarly to most other Google products.
Here are 4 ways to take advantage of this fairly flexible platform.
1. Creating a Class and Adding Students
allows you to create a unique class for every class that you teach. In just three mouse clicks and a few keystrokes you can create a class. Google Classrooms are divided into different sections, of which we are covering the following sections: Students and the Stream.
In the Students section you can view all the students in your class. You can either add students to your class manually, or they can join your class on their own using their own Google account. When you create a class, Google Classroom provides you with a class code located on the left side of the screen. Share that class code with the students you want to join that class. From their computers, laptops, or Chromebooks, students log into their Google accounts and use the class code to join.
Within the Student section you can also determine if your students are allowed to comment on the questions, announcements, and assignments you create or if they can only post. If you desire you can also choose to be the only one who can post and comment in your class.
In the Stream section you’ll find the assignments, announcements and questions that you create. This is the section in which you’ll spend most of your time after your classes are set up.
2. Using Google Classroom Assignments
Assignments are a great way to collect student work and provide your students with feedback and grades. When you create an assignment you can provide specific instructions for that assignment, a due date and a topic. If you include a due date for the assignment, students will have until 11:59 PM on the date to submit their work for that assignment. If they submit the work late, Google Classroom still accepts the assignment, but indicates that it was turned in late.
One of the best features of the Google Classroom Assignments is that you can add files to the assignments you create. You can add a file from your computer, a file from Google Drive, a YouTube video or a link to a website. One idea is that a business education teacher can assign a writing prompt on a relevant person in the news and add a link to a YouTube video of that individual delivering a speech.
Students can submit any type of file to your Classroom, not just Google Docs. Not only can students submit their completed work as files, you can open them directly from Classroom and mark them right there.
3. Spark Discussions with the Questions Feature
Google Classroom allows you to ask a question within a specific class. As with assignments, you can add files to the questions you post, and can assign a due date to it if you want. You can post short answer or multiple choice questions for your students to respond to in Classroom.
As students answer a multiple choice question, Google Classroom tabulates the results for that question and shows you the breakdown of the students’ answers in real-time. When you click on one of the multiple choice answers, Classroom indicates which students chose that option.
When students respond to a short answer question, Google Classroom cannot tabulate the results so it simply shows student responses. At that point you can comment or reply to each student, and give a mark as you see fit.
4. Announcements for Your Students
In addition to creating assignments and questions, Google Classroom allows you to create announcements. Students can respond to your announcements and you can respond back, creating a thread. In reality, the entire class can have a conversation based on one announcement. Once again you have the option of adding a file, a YouTube video or a link to an announcement.