Google Classroom: Getting Started and Creative Features to Try
As the traditional school year calendar comes to an end, many educators are taking stock of the tools they use to interact with students. The upcoming school year will certainly feature more in-person learning than the past year. However, we can all expect to see some form of online learning continue in the future. Whether your next school year will take place in a virtual, in-person, or hybrid setting, you’re sure to love the intuitive interface that Google Classroom offers. Here’s how to set it up, add students, and make it reflect your teaching style.
What is Google Classroom?
Think of Google Classroom as the school version of Google Drive with lots of educational features. Educators can use Google Classroom to manage documents, share assignments, make announcements, and interact with students. This Google feature is designed to work with the way students learn and the way educators teach.
Google Classroom isn’t a Learning Management System (LMS), but it works well with these types of software applications.
How to set up Google Classroom
To set up a Google Classroom, you need a Google Apps for Education account. (Note: this isn’t the same as a regular Google account.)
To set up a Google Apps for Education account, first go to classroom.google.com .
- Sign in with your regular Google account.
- Click on the “Get Started with Apps” button in the top right corner.
- Select the Google Classroom app.
- Input your institutional information and click “next”.
- Type in your username and password.
- Go through the necessary verification steps and sign up.
You may need help from your school’s IT department to verify access to your domain. Once everything is squared away, you’re ready to set up your Google Classroom!
- After signing in, click on the plus (+) icon in the upper right corner.
- Next, select “Create class” from the drop-down menu.
- You’ll see a message that says, “Using Classroom with a school/university with students?” If you haven’t already, link your school network to Google Classroom.
- From there, you can set up your Classroom with information such as class name, subject, room, and section.
To add students, simply select the People tab. You can enter the email addresses of your students, which will share the class entry code with them.
Fun Google Classroom features
One of the best things about Google Classroom is the ability to personalize your online academic space. Once you log in, you’ll see a clickable banner and thumbnail. You can change these images and your overall theme to make your Classroom yours.
To set up assignments, head to the Classwork section. Here you can easily upload your syllabus, materials, resources, and readings.
There are also several ways to customize your grading system. Google Classroom comes equipped with a grading system and grade categories. Some of the options include no overall grade (best for pass/fail, enrichment courses, or learners who are auditing), weight grade categories (each category is assigned a weight), and total points (where total points earned are divided by the maximum available points).
You may also enjoy the virtual discussion feature. This feature allows you to facilitate two-way discussions. You can simply create a question, select “short answer” as the response type, and select the students you would like to group together. From there, you can follow the process again to create multiple groups.
How to prepare for future lessons
Teaching the same course again next semester? You’ll love being able to reuse assignments and materials.
To do so,
- Open the class you want to post in.
- Click on the “+” icon in the right corner of the screen.
- Select “reuse post.”
- You’ll then see a list of classes to choose from. Select the course you want to reuse.
- From there, you’ll find a list of assignments, questions, and other materials. Simply select the item you want to reuse.
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