How I Use It
I use Classroom as a learning management system to organize my resources and share them with my students. I also use it as a mean to communication (announcements) and as a forum (students can start or reply to me or others using posts). The most interesting feature of Classroom is the "Assignment" because it allows the teacher to select a file (from Google Drive) or several files and share this documents in three different ways possible:
- either for a "read only" = "students can view file" (for example: a document to read)
- or for collective edition = "students can edit file" (for example: a brainstorming activity where all students will edit the same document)
- or for individual edition = "make a copy for each student" (for example: an essay that has to be written individually).
Those assignments are shared in the students' drive and are listed in Classroom (for the teacher) and backed-up in the teacher's Drive as well. There is an Assignment Screen to monitor the work in progress. A teacher can view specific assignment and can even join a student in his document and start a chat, or co-edit or make suggestions to the document making real-time differentiation possible.
There are plenty of ways to use Google Classroom. It can be used in a traditional way and teacher-lead or, with an innovative teacher, it can lead to more collaboration and agency by the students. It's necessary for new teacher users to be trained and see innovative ideas on how to use Classroom to increase engagement. Alice Keeler has a very furnished website and wrote a book which can help give ideas: "50 things you can do with Google Classroom". In addition, it's necessary to watch YouTube videos on the latest features such as the Calendar integration.
The students like the tool for many reasons: it's organized so they can also find what was done in class and, when absent, what to catch up with. They like to see the deadlines on a calendar so they keep track of their assignments and manage their time effectively. They appreciate the fact that teachers use collaborative files from Drive, chat, announcements because there is more room for team-work and project-based learning.
They like to use the extension "Save to Classroom" on Chrome in order to share site links easily with the rest of the class, like their teachers.