Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Tech Tip: Google Classroom- a Teacher Timesaver!

At the beginning of the school year, we published a blog post on how Schoology, Google Classroom and gScholar can be used to support teaching and learning. Here's a link to that post in case you would like a refresher: http://techtips-ccsd.blogspot.com/2014/08/digital-classroom-tools-schoology.html

Today, we thought we would dedicate a post to Google Classroom and what it can do for you as a teacher. 

If you use Google Docs with your students, you might be running into the same frustrations many other teachers do with organization, sharing and naming of documents. Luckily, Google has come up with a solution to all of those issues, Google Classroom.  
It takes about 5-10 minutes to set up a class the first time, and because we have Google Groups set up in CCSD, you can invite all of your students at once to a class, just by knowing the course name in PowerSchool.  Or, you can give your students an access code to join.  Either way, it’s easy.
Once in, you can share attachments of any kind, presentations, YouTube Videos (secondary only), links to websites, and anything else in your Google Drive with students. There are three ways to share these items. You can allow students viewing rights only, push a copy to each student (which will be shared back with you automatically), or you can give full editing rights of a Google document or presentation to all students. That feature can be used for a class creating a presentation in which each student contributes a slide, or a document used as a backchannel when watching a video or listening to a presenter. 
You can also create an assignment without any attachments. Then your students can see what the assignment is, then create a Google Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, or attach a file, picture, or link to a website directly into a Google Classroom assignment.
How does this take care of the mess of shared documents from students?  When you set up a class in Google Classroom, a set of folders is created in your Google Drive. There you will find a Classsroom folder, with folders in there for each class you create in Google Classroom. They contain folders with all of the assignments you have created within the class, and all student work is contained in the folders, named by the assignment name and the students’ names. This makes it very easy to find a student’s work. You can also find student work in Google Classroom, and can see who has turned in work, and who still needs to turn it in very easily. And don't worry, you can still add all of the comments you want in Google, and students can still share their work with a peer or parent as well.  
I think anyone having students write in class, especially those who are frustrated with the organization of Google Docs, should check out Google Classroom. I guarantee it will save you time and help you be more efficient in using Google Docs with your students.
You (and your students) can find Classroom at http://classroom.google.com. Make sure you are signed in with your Cherry Creek e-mail address, as Classroom is only for teachers and students.

Below you'll find a couple of videos from Google that explain a little more about Google Classroom and how to set up a class of your own.

For more information about new features in Google Classroom, including a great new mobile app, visit http://googleforeducation.blogspot.com.

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