Google Classroom in English

     Google Classroom is a technology application that unifies the use of Google apps on one dashboard.  This enables teachers to create and manage all their online documents in one place and gives both teachers and students easy access to their documents stored on Google drive.  Google Classroom was designed, with the way teachers and students think, in mind.  This is why the Classroom interface provides a direct teacher to student interaction that Google Drive doesn't.

     Google Classroom also provides a platform for paperless communication and streamlines the workflow between teachers and students.  It allows teachers to organize folders, create classes, and distribute assignments in their classrooms.  They can then invite students to work on them and have conversations about the assignments as well.  They can also track their student's progress in real-time.

     One of the best things about Google Classroom is that it's free.  All a school has to do is to register for an Education account in Google Apps.  Although there are other good Classroom apps out there, such as Schoology and Edmodo, we are going to focus on Google Classroom, what it does, what features it has, and how to use it.

What Does Google Classroom Do?

     Teachers can do many useful things in the Google Classroom such as make assignments, manage assignments, make announcements, store classroom materials and make summaries for guardians.

     Google Classroom is an interface that provides teachers and students with a classroom management tool that helps make and manage classroom documents. 

     Teachers can use Google docs, slides, and forms to make assignments for their students.   Already made assignments can be uploaded to the platform as well.  Students can receive e-mail notifications about new assignments, do them, and then turn them in when they are finished.  When the assignments are completed by the student, the teacher can grade them and post the grades on the platform.  

     There are a few more things teachers can do with their assignments as well.  They can add helpful study links to the assignments, set up due dates for them, schedule them for a later date, and even set up permission levels for assignments for students at different levels.  The best part about Google Classroom is that once an assignment is uploaded to the platform it can be used again and again.  ​

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     If a teacher has an announcement to make, they no longer need to try and remember to give it to their students before the end of class.  All they have to do is to head to Google Classroom to set one up.  Teachers can type out a message quickly and it will be e-mailed to all of their students at once. 

     The announcement will also be posted in their Classroom's Stream Tab which is the equivalent of a Facebook newsfeed.  Teachers can even make the announcements ahead of time and then schedule a time when the announcement will appear in their student's Stream Tab.

     Google Classroom is a great place to store materials.  When a teacher signs up for a Classroom account a Google Drive folder is automatically created called Classroom.  As the teacher creates new classes, subfolders for those classes are made.

     The materials teachers add for an assignment aren’t the only documents they can store in the Classroom.  Teachers can store any other necessary documents that students will need to complete assigned tasks.  A teacher can also share Google Drive files and folders with their students by pasting a link in the "About" tab or adding it to an announcement, an assignment, or a question.

     Distributing assignments is easy in a Google Classroom as they are automatically stored in folders.  It can not only be used to pass out assignments but other relevant documents and study materials as well.  Teachers can also share relevant internet links such as reference websites and YouTube videos.  Students will have access to these links and documents anywhere and anytime, even from their cell phones.

     One more benefit of Google Classroom is that it fosters interaction between teachers, students, and guardians.  Students are able to make comments about their teacher's announcements and assignments that their classmates can read.  They can also e-mail their classmates with comments or questions through the Classroom interface.

     Finally, Google allows teachers to send guardians feedback about students' performances.  Teachers can include details about class activities, class assignments, upcoming work, missing work, and grades. 

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Some Additional Google Classroom Features

     There are many built-in features that Google Classroom has but my favorites are Unicheck, Quizizz, and posting capabilities.  All three are useful tools that integrate nicely into the myrid of other Classroom capabilities. 

     Let's start off by taking a look at Unicheck.  This tool allows the teacher to check submitted papers for plagiarism.  Unicheck is also able to show citations and references in a student's paper in a variety of academic styles.  This means that it is now pretty simple to quickly check student's papers for copying other's ideas through similar language and references.  It can not only find similarities to papers published on the internet but it can also check student's papers against the school's internal library, which prevents online and peer-to-peer plagiarism.

     Unicheck saves teachers time and money.  It runs checks of student's submissions automatically and then sends an easy to follow but detailed report to the teacher's e-mail.  Furthermore, it is a free feature of Google Classroom so teachers don't have to waste their precious resources checking up on the integrity of their students.

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     The second feature I want to discuss is Google Classroom's posting capabilities.  Teachers can post questions about assignments or topics and then permit students to have discussions about them, or not, depending on the setting the teachers choose. 

     What's the difference?  Perhaps the teacher wants to have an open discussion about a video.  If this is the case, the teacher would allow students to see each other's posts.  If the teacher wanted students to write a paragraph about the video, then the teacher would set the posts to be visible for him or her alone to see.

     Teachers can also attach a Google Form to a post.  This means that teachers can use Google Forms to create a self-graded exam and then post it for all of their students to take.  This makes it easy for the teacher to assign a quiz or survey to their class.

     The last feature we will go over is Quizizz.  This free app is a game-based quiz activity that turns review material into a student assessment.

The best thing about the app is that it actually has already made quizzes.  All a teacher has to do is select a quiz and the class to use it in and the students will receive a link that takes them to the quiz game.  As soon as the students complete the quiz their answers and scores are sent to the teacher via e-mail.

  It is really a win-win for both teachers and students.  Teachers save time and money by not having to create or buy a quiz and students get to take a quiz and prove their proficiency in a gamified form.

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How to Use Google Classroom

     Finally, we are going to guide you through the sign-up process, creating your first class and their assignments, adding lesson material, accessing your Google Drive folder, and inviting students to join you in the Classroom.

     In order to use Google Classroom, the first thing you need to do is open up a new account.  This account is different from your regular account where you get your mail and your calendar resides.  You need to open up a G Suite for Education or a Google Classroom account.  What's the difference?  G Suite for Education is a platform that has Google Classroom as part of its learning management system.  In order to do sign up for either one, follow the steps below.   

     If you work for a school that does not have an account you will need to open one.  Before you go to open the account, make sure you get the appropriate permission you need from your computer administrator.  Follow the link to open your free G Suite for Education account.   

     If your school already has an account, or you are an educator who conducts courses outside of a school you need to sign up for a personal account by clicking on the link Google Classroom link here.

     Once you are on the application's website simply follow the prompts to create your account.  When you are finished click on the "+" button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.  Then select "create a class".  Title your class with a name and fill in the other information about it.  Then click on "create".

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     Now that your class is ready to use you can create your first assignment, make an announcement or add some lesson material.

     To create an assignment Click on the "+ Create" button.  Once you post your assignments you can not reorder them later, so it is a good idea to number them.  Do this so your students can see which ones they need to do first.  You can also announce the new class to your students in the Stream tab.

     After you have created your class adding extra material is a snap.  You can add material that you already have uploaded to a Google Drive, a file from your computer, a link, or a YouTube video.  Look for the attachment options beneath the due date field.  If all you need to do is to share a presentation with your students you don't have to link it to an assignment.  You can go to the "About" tab and add lesson materials such as articles, examples, and slides.

     Once you have everything where you want it you can invite your students to the Classroom to complete your assignments.  This can be done in one of two ways.  Simply give your students the code they need to sign in or invite all of your students via e-mail.  Of course, the second option can be time-consuming on your part and your students will have to have a Gmail before you send the invites.  The first choice is simpler and faster for you but you take the risk of students losing the code.

     After your allocated due date you can click on an assignment title to check which students have handed it in.  At this point, you can give your students grades and feedback.

     The last thing that you need to know how to do in the Google classroom is how to access the Google Drive Folder that was created for your new class.  Just go to all of your class tiles.  You will find a folder attached to each tile.  Simply click on the one you want and you will be taken to that folder.  At this point, you can add more materials or take materials away.  All of your student's assignments will be stored in this folder by default so you can access it and make changes to your class any time you want to.

Conclusion

   So, now you know everything you need to know in order to begin your digital distance learning journey with Google Classroom.  Sign up and create an account today so you can create classes and assignments, invite students, and distribute your assignments to them.  All these things and more are only a click away!

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