Google Apps

Google Classroom Update

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.

GoogleClassroom update

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.

Students answers to "Can you think of an example of a material that we use for a specific purpose because of its properties?"

Students answers to “Can you think of an example of a material that we use for a specific purpose because of its properties?”

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.


Google Form Warm Ups

I have recently been using Google Forms to give me real-time feedback on student learning. I use this for diagnostic assessment purposes to inform my approach to lessons either at the beginning of a lesson to gauge foundational understanding or at the conclusion of the lesson to determine whether students are ready to build on the concepts previously taught.

To try out this technique you can follow these simple steps:

1. Create the Google Form. Choose the create icon in your Google Drive and select “Form”.



2. Type your questions to assess student understanding. Be sure to include a “Name” or “Email” section if you want to identify individual students.


3. Complete your Form. This is so that you have an answers key when you go to grade it.

4. Share or link to the Form. Choose the blue “Send form” button in the top right hand corner. Share the Form with the students in the class or obtain the link to the form from the Share menu.


5. Grade assessment. Go back into your Google Drive and enter the Responses sheet for your Form which automatically appears underneath your form. Choose “Add ons” and “Flubaroo” (which can be added through “Get add- ons” if not already present). Flubaroo will ask you to “Grade assessment” where you will select the response to grade all subsequent responses against. Naturally choose your answer response which should have the earliest timestamp or your name.


6. Analyse your data. You can now see at a glance where some common misconceptions and misunderstandings lie and can address them before attempting to build on a shaky foundation.


So my post-holiday diagnostic revealed that 12% of my students couldn’t remember opposite operations and 40% struggled with the two step equation (though a few ran out of time for the last two questions). In addition I get to keep this information electronically to help me talk about the improvement of individual students understandings etc.


I hope that this info-torial helps you give Google Forms a try in your diagnostic assessment procedures.