This morning there was an email in my Inbox telling me that I have been invited to take Google Classroom for a test drive … exciting, eh? Here are some first impressions.
Setting up a class is relatively straightforward. After I signed in, I was guided through the intuitive process of setting up my first class. You first need to give your class a name and you can also define it even more by adding information about the section you are teaching.
The class is then created for you and you are greeted with the Google Classroom interface, i.e.
Google Classroom comes with a number of cool templates that is easy to change by clicking on Change Photo (bottom right of the header image).
I think the user interface is quite intuitive with the classic ‘hamburger’ in the top left taking you to a screen that shows all of your classes or gives you the ability to create a new class. ‘Stream’ is the ‘social’ part of your course and contains all of your class activity (assignments, announcements, etc) and ‘Students’ gives you the ability to add, remove or email your students (as long as you have Google Mail activated).
It is easy to add new assignments and it is simple to add all of your resources to an assignment since Classroom integrates tightly with Google Drive. You can set a due date for an assignment and upcoming assignments are easy to see at the top of the sidebar on the left.
I team teach Technology in a modern learning space with @stevevoisey and @philippaisom. We have been able to use ‘Stream’ with great success in our class today, i.e. posting teaching tips and assignment information for all students as the lesson progressed. Students had the ‘Stream’ open in their browser (most of our students have tablets).
Probably one of the most exciting features of Google Classroom is the ability of students to ‘Turn In’ assignments. In typical Learning Management System fashion, students are not able to change what they have submitted after they have turned it in, even if it is a Google Docs / Sheets / Slides document. Classroom accomplishes this by changing the students’ submission to ‘Read Only’ for them and transferring editing rights to you as teacher. But wait, there is more! After you, the teacher, has graded the assignment, you can ‘Return’ it to your students. This time you lose your editing rights and the students regain their ability to edit their documents – a great feature for a feedback and revision cycle. It also mimics what usually happens in a classroom anyway – very exciting!
Will try to keep you updated on what I discover. To lifelong learning!