Google Classroom gives a number of distinct advantages to teachers, but it’s also valuable to college students and even designers.
In recent years, paperless classrooms have become more common than ever before. Even in rural areas and at many universities, students now complete the majority of their work online. This change saves a toll on the environment by cutting back on paper use, and it’s also convenient for students, especially those who might not have access to an actual classroom but attend virtually.
Google classroom was released in the summer of 2014 and is now used in classrooms around the United States. There are many benefits to utilizing this free platform.
1. Take Advantage of an Easy-to-Use Tool
Google Classroom offers a super easy-to-learn interface that’s highly intuitive. The platform talks you through each step of the process. When you land on the main page of your classroom, you’ll be invited to “communicate with your class here.” You can create announcements and schedule them to go out on your own time. You can also respond to any student notes. The interface is self-explanatory too, which means there’s no learning curve to using the software.
2. Integrate It With Other Google Products
Google Classroom also integrates easily with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. For schools on a tight budget, offering a platform that syncs up with other free tools provides a way for schools and students to come into the 20th century without spending a fortune on expensive classroom software.
Teachers provide assignments, and students see those assignments as tasks. Once the work is done, the student checks it off. A structured set of steps for task completion keeps everyone organized and helps avoid confusion about which tasks are due.
3. Allow Students to Interact With Other Students
One feature of Google Classroom is creating assignments, such as questions. You can set up how many points a question is worth and even allow students to interact with one another. An easy-to-access forum facilitates interaction, even in an online environment, and enables students to learn from one another.
In addition to the students interacting with one another, the teacher can interact with individual students and even with parents via email, posts to a stream, private comments and feedback. You can also make a class announcement that applies to all the students registered.
4. Learn to Use an Online Classroom Platform
Most universities now use a combination of online and real-life classroom environments. Using Google Classroom gives you experience using an online environment as either a teacher or a student.
If you’re a teacher, you can also sign in as a student and test out how the platform works so that you can guide any confused students a bit. As the world becomes increasingly more connected, expect even more online courses, even for topics such as graphic design, where students can now view a lesson online and upload work via a whiteboard or attachment.
5. Provide Video Lessons
YouTube is a simple platform to use, and Google Classroom allows you to either insert a video someone else created on a topic or create your own video and upload the embed code via URL.
The feature of video lessons allows you to provide a classroom competitive with some of the more expensive platforms that charge monthly fees for similar functions. However, with Google Classroom, you can add videos at no charge and even separate them into topics.
6. Save Time
For students, all the resources for a class are in one single location. There’s no need to find a book, grab your notebook, drive to a classroom for a lecture or print out an essay. Instead, you can view the lesson online, respond to questions and even submit work all in one location. Everything stays neat and organized this way, and time isn’t wasted looking for lost classroom materials.
For teachers, all of the students, information, submissions and grades are in one convenient location.
7. Add New Students Easily
Add new students easily on Google Classroom. Simply navigate to the “People” tag. You’ll see a list of teachers and students with a little person icon and a plus sign to the right. Click on the person icon next to the word “Teachers” to add another teacher and share some of the workload or allow someone to take over your class.
Students can also add themselves to your class if you give them the code, which is positioned just under the list of students.
8. Differentiate Between Skill Levels
If you have more than one skill level in a classroom, Google Classroom lets you differentiate by setting up as many different classrooms as you’d like. One example might be self-guided reading programs. You may have two or three groups of students using the program, but Group A might be at a sixth-grade reading level, Group B at a fourth-grade reading level and Group C at a second-grade reading level.
With Google Classroom, you can separate each group so that they work at their own pace, but you can also see all your students from the same dashboard and organize who’s working on what to stay on top of who needs additional help and which students excel in the topic and need more of a challenge.
9. Cut the Excuses
Some students seem to perpetually have an excuse for not turning in their work. You’ve heard the old “the dog ate my homework” answer, but some students take excuses to a new level. With a digital classroom, work is assigned and submitted online, meaning it can’t be “lost.” Online platforms also allow parents to stay on top of what their student completed and what still needs finishing.
Some schools are also utilizing online learning on snow days instead of forcing students to make up cancellations due to extreme weather. No longer is spring break cut into or school in session for a week after it should have ended. Instead, the school provides access to online learning modules so that work continues even on days when school doesn’t.
The Wave of the Future
Google is on the cutting edge of new technology and what people want out of online systems. An online classroom system allows schools and people who just want to offer information to others a place to do so without spending a lot of money. The free productivity tools also give you a place to keep classes organized and store documents.
Google Classroom streamlines the entire education process by eliminating the need to print and copy papers and manually enter grades into a grade book. Instead, everything is done digitally, saving time and effort. Teachers also save time and can focus on individualized learning.