Feb 16 2015

Learn the Ins and Outs of Google Classroom from an Expert

Alice Keeler has nearly 50 tips for you and your Google Classroom.

Educator and blogger Alice Keeler has written extensively on integrating Google Classroom with everyday school work.

Spanning three posts on her blog Teacher Tech, Keeler has assembled 46 ways teachers can take advantage of Classroom, the latest in Google's Apps for Education lineup. Google’s cloud-based classroom organizer streamlines the flow of daily assignments and helps overcome teacher–student communication barriers.

Earlier this month, Keeler was a guest on the TechEducator podcast, along with EdTech contributor Sam Patterson, and discussed how Google Classroom has aided her own instruction and how teachers can benefit from her experience.

We won't steal all of Keeler's Classroom thunder, but here are five tips from her list:

  1. Create a lesson. More than simply assigning work to students, Google Classroom allows you to build an assignment. Include a description and attach multiple documents, links and videos. This puts the entire lesson in one place.
  2. Reduce cheating. Since the entire class’s documents are not in a shared folder, the temptation to copy another student’s work is eliminated.
  3. Eliminate schlepping papers home. Having students use the Google Classroom app’s “INSERT PICTURE BY SNAPSHOT” feature allows them to take pictures of their physical work and turn in digital copies. This means you can ditch the box of papers you take home each night.
  4. Collaborate with peers (PLCs). Teachers can join a classroom as a student. This allows a grade-level or subject-area team to create a Google Classroom for the teacher group. Meeting notes, data and other documents can be linked and shared from Google Classroom. Teachers can submit their classroom results from benchmarks or other projects by using the “TURN IN” button in Classroom.
  5. Streamline counseling. High school counselors can invite to Google Classroom all of the students included in a caseload. Rather than an announcement in the school bulletin that goes to everyone, announcements in Google Classroom target only the students who need the information. Students can then easily find the resources the counselor is sharing in one place. Notifying all of the students in the caseload is easy using the email options in Google Classroom. Students can use the “MARK AS DONE” feature for different tasks the counselor sets for students, which makes it easy to identify the students who did not complete, say, their SAT applications.

Google has been adding new features to Classroom since its introduction in August. In January, a mobile app was added for iOS and Android devices. On Sunday, the team added the ability to attach multiple files from Google Drive and customize a user profile. In August, Classroom's product manager, Zach Yeskel, told EdTech that the team is always looking for ways to improve the service and takes input from teachers.

“I see this as just the beginning of where we’re going with Classroom,” Yeskel said. “There’s still a lot that we want to do and a lot that we need to do to make it work well for every teacher and every class environment.”

Dmitriy Shironosov/Thinkstock

Learn from Your Peers

What can you glean about security from other IT pros? Check out new CDW research and insight from our experts.