Google Classroom is an online platform designed to manage workflow and communication between teachers and students. Teachers can create online classrooms, invite students to attend and create and share resources. Teachers and students can instantly communicate, and teachers can send announcements and start class discussions.
Google Classroom is easy to access and manage from a computer, phone or laptop and has the usual simple Google layout. Teachers can, by clicking a few buttons, create a classroom, choose students to invite and share resources, post videos and add links. A simple menu, under the create button, allows you to choose whether to create assignments, questions, quick quizzes or share resources. You can choose whether to send tasks and communications right away, schedule them for sending or save as a draft. The student dashboard is similar to the teachers – students get a code from the teacher’s invitation and can see the class work on the class page together with due dates. Students can start their work by simply clicking the assignment then opening a Google Doc.
Language level and skills.
As content is shared by the teacher who creates the class/group of students, teachers can take control of language levels and keep them relevant to their learner group, using language across levels as appropriate. Teachers can gradually build the learning experience and share course materials at the pace of their classes, according to the subject demands and the group profile.
The option to choose which students you invite to different classes allows teachers to assign work based on their students’ unique learning needs. Teachers can create classes of up to 1000 students and 20 teachers allowing team-teaching where needed.
Language learning content.
A very useful feature of Google classroom is that it allows students to go over their work after they have submitted it. Teachers can get notifications on students’ reworks or notes from students on anything they are finding difficult. This means you can give personalised attention to those students who need it and give them further chances to demonstrate their learning, working at a pace that is right for them. Teachers can easily differentiate learning by deciding which students might need extra resources, which may want to work with answer grids or model answers and so on. English language teachers can also make use of the Google Translate extension for Classroom.
As an LMS (Learning Management System), Classroom offers a variety of ways to track learning. The Assignment feature allows the teacher to both grade a task and decide on a deadline for its completion. As Classroom easily integrates with other G-Suite Apps, teachers can use linked Google Sheets to keep track of overall student grades. You can also see a dedicated page for each student which shows the status of each assignment as well as all their work in a particular class. Teachers can also comment on and edit students’ work in real time or check understanding through real-time quizzes (created with Google Forms).
The Class Stream feature allows students to reflect on what they’ve learned together in class or in online discussions. Teachers can set permissions for class interaction and choose whether:
- both students and teachers can post and reply
- only teachers can post and students reply
- only teachers can post and students only follow.
Students cannot message each other privately in Classroom; the Stream feature is the only way students can interact with each other. Teachers can get notifications of posts and can decide to delete or mute individual students from exchanges if required.
Learning through language.
The Class Stream feature can also encourage students to practise language use during and also outside class. Teachers can encourage more active student participation beyond just reading teacher posts - for instance if a student misspells a word, the teacher can ask them to delete that comment and post a new one with the correction. In this way, students can be encouraged to feel accountable for their posts, as everything they post is visible to the whole class.
Supporting teaching and learning.
Google Classroom is essentially a tool designed to support teaching and learning and is a good collaborative platform for students’ development along a course/level which can be personalised by the teacher, according to their teaching style and the group profile and goals. There are many ways for teachers to use Classroom – it can be used in a more teacher-led traditional way or used more creatively, which in turn can lead to more creativity and collaboration between students. There is a wide variety of material available online — websites, courses, YouTube videos, blogs etc. — offering tips, methods and new ideas to help teachers use Classroom in new and innovative ways to suit their learner needs.
Technical: user safety and data security.
Classroom is part of the Google’s G-Suite for Education which does not carry advertising.
Full privacy and security policies and how G-Suite for Education products keep data secure are found here.