Earlier this summer, at the annual ISTE conference, Google announced it would be launching a slew of new applications and updates to the company’s premiere education web service, Google Classroom, alongside the new Acer Chromebook Tab 10.
After beta testing the new tools and tweaks to existing ones, Google has released its new version of Google Classroom to the public, just in time for the new school year.
Whether schools are continuing their one-to-one or bring-your-own-device programs, are experimenting with such programs, or simply want to incorporate more technology into the classroom, here are some of the new tools at their disposal.
New Google Classroom Additions Help Manage Classrooms
To help teachers streamline classroom tasks such as organizing work groups and returning assignments, Google has added the Classwork page.
This addition comes with new grading tools that “let educators quickly toggle between student submissions when grading, and save commonly used feedback,” according to the company. “The tool improves the grading workflow, so that educators have more time to spend personalizing feedback.”
Users involved in Classwork page beta testing have told Google that the new tool helped spark ideas for more purposeful classroom activities.
“Our school is making a big push for long-term planning and more thoughtful units,” Daniel Brennick, a middle-school science teacher in Florida, told Google. “I’ve already started using the Classwork page to create a visual for myself of what I’ll be teaching.”
Google also has added a new feature to G Suite called Course Kit, which will let teachers distribute and collect classwork and homework for students through applications like Google Drive, allowing for easier integration between G Suite and whatever other learning-management system schools might be using.
Finally, a new locked mode is available for teachers who want to remotely lock students’ devices to keep distractions — and potential cheating — to a minimum.
Updates to Existing Tools Aid Teachers with Curriculum Planning
Creating a successful lesson plan can be difficult, so when a particular class activity works, it can make sense to recycle that plan for future classes.
Understanding this, Google has added a new feature that allows teachers and co-teachers to copy certain materials from previous classes to be used or modified for another time. This can also be helpful for teachers who want to share lesson plans with each other.
Google has also revamped its People page, allowing teachers to manage accounts for co-teachers, students and parents all from one location. The new Settings page houses all class settings, allowing teachers to modify class information from a central location.
For teachers who share classes with other teachers, Classroom now allows users to more easily turn notifications on and off for class activities that are not their own, cutting down on distracting pop-ups.
To help teachers better understand the new changes to Classroom, Google has released a series of training documents and videos, which are available through its Teacher Center.