Sharing work with your students in case of a school shutdown will be crucial for teachers moving towards exams or wanting to teach remotely. Many of us will want to keep our classes ticking over as much as possible during this problematic time. Some teachers will be able to send course books home but making sure that students do the work that you have set will be difficult without using something like a virtual learning Environment (VLE). Other teachers, especially those who teach adults may not use course books and will want to provide weekly tasks, grammar exercises, videos and more with their students. Google Classroom can help!
Google Classroom is a very useful resource in that instance. Everyone with a Google Account can create their own Google Classroom.
There are three types of Google Classroom accounts:
- A School account known as a G Suite for Education account. This account is set up by the school and the user ID looks like this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A Personal Google Account. This is set up by an individual and is used for personal email. It looks like this: email@example.com.
- A G Suite account. This is set up by your organisation’s administrator and it looks like this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following video gives a very quick overview of getting in and making a classroom:
Google Classroom Stream
The Google Classroom Stream is great for keeping in touch with your students and for them to message each other. This is a running forum. One person, for example the teacher, posts a message and everyone who replies will see their message underneath the original post. It is a good place for conversations both about work and for socialising. The teacher can get and keep text conversations going as well as informing everyone about what is happening in the course. Teachers can also schedule messages so that students receive important information at appropriate times. Everything that happens in a course will show up on the Classroom Stream.
The following video gives a quick overview of setting up Classroom Stream:
It is easy to add students or more teachers by their email address if you know them. Otherwise give your students the class code (see below) and they can add themselves. For children and young learners it will be more appropriate to give them the class code.
Google Classrooms allows teachers to share work with their students by creating assignments, share files or links, quizzes and questions for their students. A date for work to be completed can be added, a score if the teacher wishes to set one and a rubric to help the student understand what is being assessed and what marks will be given for if the teacher is using the scoring facility. Once a teacher has assigned work, the documents that have been used are stored together in one folder on the Google Drive. This makes it very easy for any course to be copied and reused. Students can submit their completed work for assessment. When a course is copied none of the students nor their work is carried over and it is a new course ready to be re-run.
It is easy for a teacher to make use of any of the Google apps, forms, docs, slides etc., whilst actually in the classroom. Any resources already made and stored in the Google Drive are instantly available for the courses.
As teachers assign a task they can add it to a ‘Topic’. These topics could simply be ‘Week 1’, ‘Week 2’, etc and a topic could be added showing a syllabus, introduction to the course or any other useful documentation. See this layout as an example:
What the students sees:
For students to join the course they need to enter the Google Classroom as a student and add their course code. This is available to a teacher alongside the course name. There is a tiny enlarge symbol next to it which enlarges the code for copying etc.
Students go to Google Classroom and click on ‘I’m a Student’. They have to type in the class code as given by their teacher and they will see their course. If someone has been enrolled by email then they will automatically see the course they are enrolled into as they enter the Google Classroom.
The stream shows them everything that has happened in the course since they last logged in.
Under their name is an option to view their own work see what they have handed in and what is still outstanding.
They can do a task and hand it in, they can add a comment if they wish to and the teacher can add a comment even if it is only an acknowledgement of receipt.
The following video gives a very quick overview on setting people up in your classroom:
At its easiest level you can simply add files such as video links, worksheets and texts for your students to access. Or, you can build a week by week course for them. Like everything it may be best to start as simply as possible and forget the marking system, but as you build in confidence it can do a lot more for you.
There is a lot of online help and support if you need it over on the Google Teacher Center website.
Good luck with your Google Classroom!
If you would like to read more blog articles from the Supporting Every Teacher series, click here.