Oct 08 2020

How to Drive Remote Learning Success with Google for Education Tools

Google for Education resources can help streamline engagement and simplify classroom management tasks whether students are online or in a physical classroom.

For many K–12 schools, distance learning wasn’t even on the radar a year ago. But now, as students and educators are spending more time online out of necessity, they need resources to help make e-learning a success.

Teachers need new tools to help them communicate course materials and manage the classroom. Students need to be empowered to communicate with teachers and classmates. Parents need to be kept in the loop.

The struggles with remote learning are well documented, making it crucial for educators and families to find reliable resources to sort it all out. Google for Education has numerous options, such as one pagers and videos that specifically address remote learning and hybrid instruction. Those offerings include Teach from Anywhere, an initiative that includes free, secure tools such as video tutorials that explain how to use Google apps and relevant features. The tech giant also has resources to help ensure K–12 success in remote, in-person and hybrid settings.

Google Classroom, a core tool of Google for Education, offers a virtual educational space that supports interactive learning while reducing the classroom management burden on teachers. They can post assignments, communicate with students as a group or as individuals, deploy and grade quizzes and host video meetings for the class, all from a single consolidated platform.

“It makes it easy for the teacher to communicate with students,” says David Andrade, a senior education strategist for CDW.

“Instead of trading a million emails or just putting something on a website, you can post assignments, announcements and reminders, and it all goes directly to the students.”

Google Classroom “even has a built-in calendar, so with any assignment the due date automatically goes onto the class calendar,” Andrade says. “It’s simple for the teacher, and students don’t have to go looking for things.”

Classroom also incorporates a Guardian Summaries function through which parents sign up for daily or weekly automated emails summarizing their kids’ activities and progress. That means teachers don’t have to do extra work in order for the parents to keep up with what’s going in the classroom.

DISCOVERSpark learning from anywhere, at anytime, on any budget with Google for Education.

Manage and Engage Students with Google Meet

The videoconferencing tool Google Meet helps simplify the administration of virtual learning. With privacy concerns always a front-burner issue, many schools can get bogged down trying to understand the privacy safeguards used by multiple video vendors.

For users of Google Classroom, the Meet tool also streamlines video engagements. “You can have a Google Meet link right at the top of the page. It’s all built in and integrated,” Andrade says.

With moderation controls, the teacher can determine who can enter a meeting and can control permissions for different users. The premium version offers attendance reports, giving the teacher an automatic report showing who’s logged in, when they joined, and how long they were logged in.

READ MORE: Learn about Google Meet's latest remote learning features.

Breakout rooms — a premium feature available with G Suite Enterprise for Education — empower group work, giving students a shared private space in which to collaborate while still within the Meet space. Teachers can drop in and out of student groups, and they can use breakout rooms for private meetings — the virtual equivalent of taking a student aside.

A Bridge Between Virtual and In-Person Learning Environments

G Suite for Education pulls together Google’s education offerings — Classroom, Meet, Docs and Slides — under a single umbrella, and also offers the ability to create quizzes and homework. This helps alleviate some of the administrative burden during remote or hybrid learning.

“With G Suite, they all work together perfectly, so you aren’t trying to merge a bunch of different tools,” Andrade says. “If you are making an assignment, you can have it automatically make a copy for each student. They can work on it and send it back to the teacher for grading, and it already has the student’s name attached to it, so you know who is sending what. It’s all automatic.”

The same tools that work for remote students also support those in physical classrooms, enabling synchronous instruction.

“You can use the same tools for both settings, which is especially helpful if you have half the kids in the classroom and half the kids at home. They can all see each other and interact with each other,” Andrade says.

G Suite for Education includes a note-taking app through which students can type, write or dictate their notes, which can then be shared with others for collaborative work. It also includes forms that can be used as a basis for quizzes. The teacher can preload the answer key, and the software will grade the work automatically, while also directing students to sites for further reading when they get questions wrong. “That way, it’s not just about the grade — it’s about supporting student learning,” Andrade said.

Taken together, Google for Education’s classroom management, collaboration and productivity tools can help educators rise to the challenges of this unique moment and can equip them with the tools they need for whatever combination of virtual and in-person learning the future may bring.

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