Google Classroom

5 reasons why you should start using Google Classroom right now!

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Charlotte Paine – Assistant Headteacher

At Sarah Bonnell, we are well on our journey towards adopting Google to streamline our school systems, increase our ‘anytime, anywhere access’ and collaborate effectively.

Google Classroom is our next stage of development, modernising the way we teach our students, encouraging them to become independent, stretch and challenge all students including our HPA, and differentiate effectively so that we are truly providing ‘Education for All.’

Here are five quick reasons why you should give Google Classroom a try, if you haven’t already of course!

1. Send students, or groups of students, bespoke assignments.

Classroom’s ‘Assignment’ function allows you to send work to any student, or group of students, in your Classroom.  Each student receives only the assignment that you have set them, which means that multiple differentiated versions of the same assignment can be sent out to different students.  This is a really handy function for students who require additional challenge – you can add different links or documents to their assignments – as well as students requiring additional scaffolding, who can access different resources as part of their assignment.  Combine with the ‘Reuse Post’ function to subtly adapt assignments to meet the needs of all students.

2. Ensure students who have missed the lesson don’t fall behind.

Classroom is a game changer in this way.  Using the ‘Assignment’ function mentioned above, you can easily send the lesson objectives/content/work to any student(s) who has been absent.  If they complete it on Classroom and then ‘turn in’ to you, you can quickly and easily check understanding, and use the ‘comment’ function to provide formative feedback where necessary.  Setting homework through Classroom also means that students can access it whether they have been in school or away, and that the classic ‘I didn’t know what the homework was’ excuse is thoroughly redundant!

3. Streamline your marking, provide effective feedback that students can action, and never lose track of work again!

The new version of Classroom, released this summer, had made improvements to the process of providing feedback on work submitted through an Assignment.  Clicking on the work that has been ‘turned in’ opens a new interface, which allows you to mark/provide feedback on each response in turn. Additional features include a comment bank which means you need only type those common feedback comments once, and then you can insert them into any students’ work where relevant.  I recently marked 24 exam questions in 36 minutes – a task that would previously have taken me well over an hour. Using the ‘Topic’ choice function when setting the Assignment also means that the work will be collected into a named Classroom folder on your Drive – meaning you can see at a glance what has been completed, and access it for future reference.

4. Save time with the ‘Reuse Post’ function.

If you teach more than one class in a year group, or have courses (especially GCSEs) that are taught year-on-year, you can reuse old Classroom posts across any Classroom.  When clicking ‘Create’ choose the ‘Reuse Post’ function, and then choose which Classroom, and which post, you wish to reuse. Even better, it will load the post, and allow you to make any edits before posting it again.  This is particularly helpful I find for students who haven’t completed homework – you can resend it to them, which removing from the student list anyone who has already completed it. It also works well between teachers, one person can construct the post, and others can ‘reuse’ it in their Classrooms.  Just make sure you have invited your colleagues to be co-teachers to your original Classroom.

5. Link to other Google apps, ensuring students have access to everything they need to be successful.

Google works best with Google, meaning that Classroom allows seamless linking to other Google apps including Forms (great for self-marking quizzes and easy data analysis), YouTube, Docs, Slides, Sheets and weblinks.  Collecting together resources for your students in this way, using either the ‘Assignment’ or ‘Material’ post functions allows you to curate a collection of links and resources for your students that is so much more tailored to their needs and objectives than just searching the internet.  Combined with the handy ‘Topic’ labelling function, your students can return to these resources time and time again, particularly useful for GCSE and A Level classes for whom you can build a bank of revision resources.

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