The COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to look at other methods to educate children when the doors closed. Some districts used Learning Management Systems (LMS), but others switched to Google Classroom. Classroom takes the stress off of needing to determine which Chromebook is best to purchase and makes it possible for children to learn on any device. It also offers parents and schools a method to continue the education process as a collective, online and offline.
What is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom offers teachers a way to handle assigning and receiving homework without paper. While originally designed to integrate Google tools and resources on Chromebooks, the pandemic brought the need to have it spread to more platforms. Teachers now use Classroom to offer presentations and Google Meet for tutoring.
The best part of Google Classroom is that it’s available for no cost. It provides a central location to access and use many tools that Google offers to everyone. A few of the applications include Google Sheets, Calendar, Gmail, Earth, Hangouts, and Meet.
What devices work with Google Classroom?
All students have access to Google Classroom, whether they have a Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device. Most applications are available through the web browser, so students with older devices can still get to their school work. Teachers, students, and parents remain up-to-date on assignments and resources necessary for efficient education, thanks to the accessibility of the multiple devices available.
How to use Google Classroom
The first step occurs when a school signs up for the Standard Workspace. Once the school has the service set up, personnel and students have access by logging in with their given credentials. Educators do not have to worry about advertisements, and they have access to a learning hub. This hub gives the ability to export data for analysis.
However, if the school wants to hold group meetings, such as colleges, they must subscribe to the Teaching and Learning Upgrade for $4/mo. This license allows hosting meetings with 250 students, livestreaming for up to 10,000 viewers on Google Meet, and the ability to hold polls.
Teachers rely on assignments to check how the students process the information given to them. Google Classroom keeps this in mind. It allows assignments to contain the information necessary to complete the work and space to perform the work.
Students receive emails when new assignments or documents load into the classroom. If the teacher loads the assignments early, the students have a more flexible learning ability. Finally, grades automatically log in to a database for administrators to export when desired.
Google Classroom made announcements easier for teachers and administrators. When students log in to their classroom, they see an announcement on the homescreen. In addition, educators can use email announcements to entire classes or individual students.
Due to the connection to all Google apps, YouTube and Photos attach easily to emails. Plus, adjustments to the announcement board switch it from being a bulletin board to a conversation place with the students.
Quizzes and Tests
Quizzes and tests are still possible with Google Classroom, thanks to the Timifyme add-on. Teachers use the Locked Mode to lock the ability to open other tabs during a test on Chromebooks. Other devices do not have the Locked Mode available. However, using the timer app gives students less time to research the question. It is not as perfect as an actual classroom setting, but it allows for checking the students’ retention of information.
Customization by the teachers simplifies the grading process. Google Classroom offers the following methods:
- Total Points: Equivalent to a test. Teachers divide the total points obtained by the total points possible.
- Weighted: Grades become based on a weight given to the grade multiplied by the average score in each category.
- No Grades: Teachers opt not to assign grades to the assignments, which is ideal for assignments designed to check milestones.
Google Classroom’s pricing tiers
The basic tier of Google Classroom offers integration of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides at no cost for qualifying institutions. These include homeschooling co-ops registered as education facilities with the state. However, Google offers three paying tiers for institutions looking for more features.
- Standard: $3 a year per student. Adds extra security and data analytics.
- Teaching and Learning Upgrade: $4 a month per staff. Offers large group meetings with breakout rooms, livestreams, and polls.
- Plus: $5 a year per student. Designed for higher education facilities. Offers large meetings of 500 students and the ability to sync data across many classrooms.
Google Classroom connects parents and teachers
Google Classroom allows parents to have a more significant role in their student’s education. The teacher can share the link with the student’s guardians and allow them to post private comments. Google Meet also provides a method for private tutoring.
Monitoring by parents or parent-teacher conferences keeps parents connected to the education process. With the assistance of school administrators, parents may also adjust the privacy settings of their younger students. This allows them to have a say in what information Google tracks.
Google Classroom in summary
Technology is moving our world forward in how we communicate with each other and educate children. Google’s diversity in tools and resources makes Google Classroom a natural choice for many institutions. The data is secured and monitored only by school administrators. Finally, documents, slides, and Google Sheets can be viewed offline on Android devices.
The digital world continually evolves, but Google Classroom offers a solid platform for learning to take place. This is not a learning management system. It organizes many tools and resources for a streamlined learning experience for parents, students, and educators. The best part about Google Classroom is that it is accessible on tablets, so you don’t always need a computer. However, you may want to reset your Samsung tablet before allowing your child to use it.