An introduction for parents to Google’s online learning space
Google Classroom is a web application that teachers can use to manage all the documents that they normally share with students and collect from students in class. Developed by Google and provided free of charge, it uses Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, a suite of productivity and education applications from Google, to provide a secure foundation for teaching, collaboration, and communication. Students can use their own Google accounts to upload their own files.
Think of Google Classroom as a centralized dashboard to simplify all communication between teachers and students.
How does Google Classroom work?
Google Classroom is a front-end, or dashboard, that teachers can use to manage their classroom and all the documents that go with it. Previously, you needed a paid Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) work account to use Google Classroom, but now it’s available for free to all eligible schools, including homeschoolers,
Check with Google to see if your organization is eligible to use Google Free Classroom.
In addition to using Google Classroom with a free Google Workspace for Education Essentials account, there are paid tiers that offer features like advanced security scans, video chat, tracking tools, and academic integrity tools. These levels range from $3 to $5 per year, per student. Visit Google to compare Google Workspace for Education editions.
If you’re new to Google Classroom, getting started is easy. Go to Google Workspace for Education and select start for free. Follow the prompts to create your free account; you can always upgrade later if you find you have additional needs.
Once you have created a classroom, you will get a class code. Share this with students so they can join the class and have access to the documents and information you share there.
What’s in Google Classroom?
Google Classroom makes it easy to share a wide variety of documents with students and allows them to stay in touch with the teacher, whether in class or remotely with student access from home. These are its main characteristics:
- post ads. As a teacher, you can post messages and announcements on the Google Classroom home page. These are freeform and unstructured, so they can be simple greetings, motivational statements, task reminders, note screens, or whatever else you need to communicate.
- Do homework. Google Classroom is a complete tool to do class assignments. You can use Google Docs to upload the files students will need to complete the assignment, post the topic and due date, and any other information you need. Students receive assignment notifications and can post their completed assignments to Google Classroom when they are done.
- Take tests and quizzes. Instructors can create quizzes and publish them. Google offers great flexibility; quizzes can be of any length and complexity, with multiple choice and short answer options, for example.
- Serve as a document library/repository. Google Classroom serves as a user-friendly interface to Google Drive, allowing you to make documents available to your students in this way.
All editions of Google Workspace for Education include the full suite of Google and Classroom apps, including Docs, Drive, Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Assignments, Places, Groups, and Admin.
How Google Classroom improves paper classrooms
Google Classroom has a number of great features that make it a smart alternative to a more traditional paper-based curriculum.
- It is available wherever students and teachers are.. As students increasingly learn remotely from home, educators can stay actively engaged with students, wherever they are. There are mobile versions of Google Classroom for iOS and Google Classroom for Android in addition to the web version.
- You can test originality.. Since plagiarism is a constant concern in the classroom, Google Classroom has the ability to report on student work and indicate if it appears to be reusing words from another source.
- Offers centralized scoring.. Google Classroom can manage student grades and make this information available to the teacher and student. When student assignments are returned, teachers can return assignments to students for additional work and selectively allow students to review assignments and return them.
- Remote learners can use Meet for face-to-face training. Each class can have their own unique Google Meet code, allowing teachers to set up video sessions with students in Google Classroom.
More features of Google Classroom
New updates to Google Classroom in 2021 include:
- Integration with other eLearning tools through plugins
- Advanced programming with SIS list synchronization
- Audit and activity logs for administrators
- Student Engagement Tracking Tools
- Rich text formatting options (bold, italic, etc.)
- Multilingual plagiarism detection
- Export grades directly to your school information system
- Download and edit multiple images at once
- Students can work offline