Google Classroom is a great way to digitize a class and present it to students in a user-friendly way. Rather than using a complicated LMS, teachers can automate file-sharing and give feedback as students work on assignments.
Teachers using Google Classroom to substitute for pen and paper are taking an important first step but are not using this tool to transcend instruction. These teachers should be encouraged to use Google Apps for Education’s great feedback features. They should also be encouraged to go deeper with Google Classroom. Here are five strategies for doing so. There are five more in part two of this post.
Anchor Activities in the About Tab
Have a student or group of students who work very quickly? Need a challenge to ramp up difficulty when they say, “I’m done.”? The About Tab is a great place to put anchor activities. They can be course or unit specific or simply provide a worthwhile use of their time such as Blockly for coding:
Create a Question for Class Discussions
The “create question” option is a great tool for assessing students while they converse with peers. Two great features about this for teachers: students only see classmates’ responses after they post their own and Google Classroom keeps track of who answered the question and who has not.
Easily Find All Google Classroom Files by Student
Thanks to Jennifer Scheffer figuring this out, teachers can easily view Google Classroom files by student. Students rename and share their class Google Classroom folder with the teacher:
From there it is easy for teachers to organize their folders so they can find all files for each student. This helps teachers conference with and provide feedback to students. Additionally, teachers can easily share work with parents, guidance counselors, and inclusion teachers. Let Jenn explain how easy this can be:
Google Classroom as Backchannel for Students to Help Each Other
Thank you Nicole Dalesio for this idea! Have students use the comment feature in Google Classroom to ask questions and have peers answer them. If teachers prefer to keep student comments out of their Classroom stream, they can create a separate backchannel Google Classroom.
Make it All Accessible to Absent Students and/or Convert to Blended Learning
Last year, I used Google Classroom to provide guided notes for lectures, give students multiple opportunities to learn the material, and make catching up easy for absent and homebound students. Students completed guided notes in class. I added a video recap to the assignment afterward. It looked like this:
This allowed absent students to easily access material they missed. All students could refer to the video to study or if they needed another chance to master the concepts.
Now, as a tech facilitator, I don’t teach a class but if I did, there would be no more lecturing. It would be replaced by blended learning. Guided notes would still be a Google Classroom assignment. Students would take them in class while watching my video. I would then add EdPuzzle and TED-Ed assessment. Students could do these things at their own pace. It would look like this in Google Classroom:
Thank you for reading these suggestions. I hope they help you go deeper with Google Classroom. Please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom if you would like to chat more about going deeper with Google Classroom. Check out part two of this post for five more suggestions.