Following school closures due to Covid-19, the past few months have been a crash course in distance learning for so many educators. Just about every educator is learning the ins and outs of distance learning. If you’re a teacher testing various digital tools for your distance learning program, this is a good time to try Google Classroom which can help you manage assignments, grade work and give students feedback just as you’ve done in your classrooms at school.
Getting started with Classroom
Teachers and students need G Suite for Education accounts to use Google Classroom. Your G Suite administrator will need to set up accounts for your school if necessary. While anyone with a Gmail account can create a Google Classroom, such as those using it for personal use, if you are using Google Classroom in a school setting, you must use a G Suite for Education account. G Suite for Education accounts let schools decide which Google services their students can use and provides additional privacy and security protections that are important in a school setting. You can also get the Classroom app for Android, iOS and Chrome OS devices.
Now, you can create a class. Each Google Classroom is a space where your students can receive assignments and read your announcements. Head to classroom.google.com to get started. You’ll have your class up and running in no time. Invite students to your classroom in order to enrol them. You’ll do this by sending an email invitation or code.
In Google Classroom, you can set up a grading system and grade categories. You can choose a “Total Points” or “Weighted by Category” grading system and the grades will be calculated for you. If you opt for no grading system, choose “No Overall Grade” and grades will not be calculated. With grade categories, you can organise classwork (essays, homework and tests). If you choose not to set a grading system, you can still use Classroom to share materials and engage your students.
Once the grading system is set up, you can create assignments and organise materials by topics. You can post assignments to multiple classes as well as to individual students. You can give feedback on assignments, grade and return assignments and reuse assignments. You can also add a question on the Classwork page as a quick and easy way to take attendance, especially while class is virtual. Apart from that, you can also create quizzes, import quiz grades and return grades to students.
Students learn better with interactions with their teacher and peers. Keep kids engaged and foster a feeling of connection and community with video conferencing using Google Meet right from Classroom. You can also set up digital office hours.
For students with low or no internet connection at home, check out this guide for offline learning. For students who are blind or low-vision, they can use a screen reader with Classroom. Teachers can learn more here. There are many accessibility features built into G Suite for Education tools that all work with Classroom.
At any point, you can reach out to a community of teachers for tips on how to engage your students and stay motivated yourself. Teach From Home has resources that can help you stay connected with your colleagues, trade stories over virtual coffee breaks and share teaching resources and strategies. For more help, check out this training on the Teacher Center.