If I wasn’t already a fan of Google Classroom, I am now! Google has given some awesome new features to one of my personal favourite Google Apps for education. If this is the first time you’ve heard of Google Classroom (firstly where have you been?) you can check out my previous rantings about it Streamlining Assessment or GoogleClassroom. Google Classroom has greatly reduced both the amount of paper I accumulate during my teaching and the time it takes me to provide feedback to my students about their work.
However as the honeymoon period between Google Classroom and I ended, I began to notice some of the limitations of the program. These included not being able to change the order of posts or reusing content between classes.
So whats new? There are 6 new features summed up in this infographic; pinning a post, reusing a post, posting a question, integrating with calendars, optional due dates and attaching google forms.
So far I’ve played with three of the new features and am thoroughly impressed. The ability to attach Google Forms was definitely something Google Classroom was lacking before. It will help give easy formative assessment because Google Forms let you install add-ons that mark forms for you (provided you ask certain styles of questions). You could attach a form at the end of a lesson to see just what resonated with students or at the beginning to check what they remember and what they need to revise before you build on that previous knowledge.
Reusing posts is very helpful for teachers who teach the same topics to multiple classes throughout the year. This way you can keep instructions and attachments uniform between classes while letting Google Classroom store student work in their particular class folder in Google Drive.
The biggest surprise for me was how useful posting a question could be. This is a feature I didn’t know I needed until I began using it. Here Google Classroom lets you pose a question and record (and grade if you choose) student responses. You can also allow students to comment on each others responses or edit their answers. It is great for keeping track of student dialogue or getting students to post and comment in a safe environment. As the teacher you can look up which students have replied or commented in Google Classroom’s “Done” and “Not Done” designations.
Still the App is not perfect. It has its bugs. For example, if you are typing a comment or reply and somebody submits a comment, reply or post then your half written comment is deleted. Also all students are added to the “Done” list after the deadline passes. I am sure that these will be fixed soon.
Don’t let the limitations put you off! Google Classroom is still an efficient and powerful tool for education. I am excited to explore the other new features and to see what the programmers at Google have planned next for my favourite Google App for education; Google Classroom.