The growing use of technology in the classroom has unlocked new possibilities in how schools educate their students. New channels and resources to forever change how teachers connect their students to the world seem to emerge each day. As innovation in the edtech space continues to advance rapidly, Google has become one of the leaders in the field, offering a free platform, Google Classroom, for students and educators to collaborate and share information instantly.
As more schools and districts seek to adopt this technology, they are bound to have some questions as they bring Google Classroom into their classrooms. To understand its potential, and how it can best be implemented, FETC recently hosted a live Twitter chat, addressing a wide range of questions and concerns about Google Classroom. Following are some of the topics explored:
Is Google Classroom more than homework management?
While Google Classroom indeed helps teachers streamline the process for assigning, collecting and grading assignments, its functionality goes far beyond that. For instance, with the Expeditions app, teachers can bring their lessons to life with virtual reality. Equipped with their mobile devices, teachers can take their students on virtual field trips to anywhere – historical sites, coral reefs or even the surface of Mars. Teachers can also share students’ results with their parents, letting them know how their children are performing in real-time, rather than waiting for parent-teacher conferences.
Paper enabled teachers to write comments on a student’s work. Don’t you lose this ability when you move to Google Classroom?
This is a common concern about transition from paper to a web-based platform. However, Google Classroom actually has drawing and writing tools that enable teachers to underline, add notes and highlight key passages, just as they would with paper and a red pen, contributing to a more interactive learning experience.
What else can Google be used for in the classroom?
Google Classroom has a number of features to transform how learning is delivered. With Inbox by Gmail, students and teachers can easily group or bundle messages together for quick reference. And since Google Classroom enables teachers and students to see everything in one place, it’s easier to collaborate on assignments and share feedback and ideas. Students can also create their own clubs, connecting with their peers in new ways. Moreover, with other Google features like YouTube, Google Earth and Hangouts, and integrations with solutions like EDPuzzle, Blendspace, Wizer.me and more, there are many different ways to interact, learn and share information.
Do I need to know a lot about Google Classroom to get started?
The simple platform is easy to get started on and use, regardless of one’s technological skills. Plus, Google offers comprehensive online training and support to help teachers, students and parents use the tool most effectively.
How can I learn more about Google Classroom?
Google for Education has a great online community, enabling teachers to connect with their peers and learn how others are using Google Classroom at their schools. Teachers can meet up – virtually or in person – with other Google users to learn, share and inspire each other on how to best meet their students’ needs. Google Classroom will also be explored at the National Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), taking place in Orlando January 23-26, 2018, with several workshops and sessions showing how educators can get maximum benefit from the platform.
Schools and districts will only increase their efforts to bring technology into their education strategies, and Google Classroom is one of the platforms facilitating this transformation. As our Twitter chat showed, educators have many questions as they seek to adopt this technology. But as one participant pointed out, it’s ok to make mistakes with the platform, providing the opportunity for teachers to learn and grow together with their students.