How I Use It
Google Classroom is essentially a lightweight LMS that can be used as a landing platform for communication, sharing and a more efficient, paperless workflow that helps you manage all the Google madness that can happen when you work with a lot of students. As a technology integration specialist, I use this to help train teachers on a variety of topics. It serves as a place where I can share resources, assignments, and pose questions to spark conversations relating to best practices when it comes to using technology in the classroom. Use Google Classroom as you flip your instruction. This is the place that will house all of your resources while providing an easy way for your students to message the teacher or ask questions. Why not even take it a step further by having students change their profile picture to an important person they are studying and create conversations that could have existed during a particular time period. (Example: Abolitionist and Suffrage Leaders during the Civil War time period) - Have Harriet Tubman have a conversation with Abraham Lincoln; Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, etc.) Lastly, you may talk about digital citizenship with your students, but do you provide a safe platform for them to "practice?" Use Google Classroom to promote those safe, respectful and responsible behaviors.
Google Classroom is a "must have" if you are using Google Apps with your students. One of the most frustrating things about using GAFE with students is the management of all their documents. Using Google Classroom solves all of these issues and saves you gobs of time as a foldering structure is automatically created the second you create your classroom. As you create assignments, additional folders are created making organization so easy. If you are all about saving time, don't overlook this product. You will certainly be amazed.
While Google Classroom isn't as robust as Blackboard, Moodle or Schoology, you can utilize additional Google Apps, Add-ons, and other third-party apps to help compensate. For example, you can embed various types of formative assessment by adding a link to a Google Form or Padlet Wall. One big wish I have for Classroom is the ability to embed other video sources beyond YouTube videos. Although you can link to other sources, I do wish we could embed.
Google Classroom helps with providing students more authentic feedback. It's quicker and more meaningful since it not only comes from you, the teacher but also other classmates.
Google Classroom also provides students a publishing platform. As students learn and create, they can quickly share their work in Google Classroom allowing other students to view and comment. Learning becomes a social event and is more relevant to our digital natives.