The disruption of learning by Covid-19 has led to the development of various tools and ways to enable learning to continue without hitches. This disruption has led the education sector to embrace Google classroom with open arms today more than ever.
Being a new feature for many people in the education sector, it is essential to discuss it in detail to allow them to understand what it entails and how it can be used to facilitate learning. Read along the article to discover Google classroom features and how education stakeholders can use them in learning effectively.
What is Google Classroom?
This is a free web-based education platform created by Google to enable teachers to create courses, run a class online, and share classroom assignments digitally online.
The tool allow teacher-students collaboration by making the use of different Google suite features like sheets, docs, and slides.
Essential Google classroom features.
1. Customized grading systems.
It helps teachers identify grading styles and opt for one that they find suitable for their teaching method. The teachers are at will to either make the grades accessible to the learners or not. If they decide on letting the learners be able to access the grades, here are a few systems they can choose from;
a. Total points grading; allows the teacher to divide the total points learners attain by the maximum points possible.
b. Weighted by category grading: grade categories are assigned a weight after which the average scores of each grade category are calculated and multiplied with the grade weight to attain the overall grade out of 100%.
c. No overall grade; here, the teacher chooses not to allocate any grades to the learners; hence no grading is done.
Trainers have an option of creating assignments with the aid of learning materials like; Google survey forms, PDFs from the Google drive, and educative YouTube videos.
Assignments can be assigned to learners at either individual levels or in the form of group work. Another exciting feature is that trainers can choose to issue assignments instantly or schedule given dates either after a lesson or just before the lesson.
As of today, trainers can create assignments without due dates as long as they are using long terms projects.
Classrooms have created a timetable for all classes in Google calendar, and assignments with a due date have a way of being automatically added to your class calendar and kept on track. You have an option of viewing your calendar either in the Classroom or on your Google calendar.
3. Originality report.
This feature enables the teacher to view students' work for authentication, verify if the students' submission is their original work and if there is a plagiarized portion citation has to be credited to the original source to avoid penalty.
This makes it simpler for teachers to access students’ submission papers, it also encourages students to be as authentic as possible with their work to avoid being penalized for plagiarism.
Virtual discussions: this is used by trainers to invite learners to partake in answering questions in a discussion form by responding to their classmates’ questions and have their questions responded to.
The comments section on Google docs allows for a two-way discussion as trainers issue feedback to learners either to clarify a part that was incorrectly responded to or to elaborate on a point that was not well put across.
This feature is exciting as it is a good way to keep the students engaged more, particularly in classes where you can’t see them. The trainer remains in charge of the entire discussion as they have an option of muting learners from posting and commenting as they wait their turn to be engaged.
Learners need to be regularly updated on various issues relating to schoolwork or, at times, the platform so as to know what needs to be done, the intended use of this feature is to give updates to learners.
In Google classroom, assignments or tests should never be posted here as announcements are normally posted informing and reminding learners of deadlines, tests, or any other classwork and not issuing the assignments or tests as there is a specific feature for that purpose.
Teachers have the will to schedule announcements; they can also regulate replies and comments made on the announcement posts to keep them respectful and reasonable.
5. Live classes.
Without supervision, most students will choose to abuse their class time by engaging in activities of their personal interest. Being one of the latest features, it allows learners to take real-time classes virtually through Google meet. Teachers have the ability to add up to 250 people to a hangout call, and close to a million viewers can live stream.
This demolishes the learners' inability to attend classes as an excuse as the courses are flexible and easily accessible on any device as long as you have a Google account. These meetings can also be recorded so that students who missed the live session can watch them later and get to catch up with the rest of the students.
6. Reuse assignments.
In most cases, the curricula are usually reusable, probably annually, this feature is essential to teachers as they can access their curricula whenever need be and review them to fit their current classes.
Classroom assignments allow access to announcements or questions from any of your classes or any class you co-teach, whether it’s from a year or two ago. Once you identify what you would like to copy, you will be able to make changes before you post or assign it. Teachers can then tailor their assignments to fit the students’ assessment at the current level or year.
Attach a Google Form to a post; this is an essential tool for a teacher. They will be able to attach forms from drive to posts and assignments and get a link in Classroom to view answers easily. This saves on time and resources for both teachers and learners as it is fast and seamless to access and interpret, it will allow for more interactive learning time.
7. YouTube functionality.
Enables teacher to attach learning videos on announcements and classes where necessary for the students to view. It’s also important to note that without restrictions, it’s expected of learners to be mischievous as they will try to access YouTube sites that are not educational out of curiosity. This feature puts the admin in charge by allowing them to restrict YouTube videos and video games viewable for signed-in users as well as signed-out users on networks managed by the admin.
Hence as long as you are signed in via the Google classroom site or link, you are restricted on YouTube content you can access or view. This feature allows for the proper use of the Classroom.
8. Mobile applications.
This feature enables the learner to access Google classroom on their mobile phones via an application available for both IOS and android users. Students who don't have laptops don't have to worry as they are still able to attend their classes as long as they install the mobile application on their devices.
Like any other digital platform, Google classroom has its advantages and disadvantages, it's easy to use and it’s easily accessible as it can be used on any device since it's web-based and can therefore contain as many learners as possible.
It's an effective means of communicating and sharing information digitally because of the Google doc since it is saved online and can be shared limitlessly, it speeds up the assignment process since it is done just by clicking a button as it is one of the key features of the Classroom, cost-effective as it is paperless since teaching, examination, and grading is all done virtually via the reliable features in Classroom.
It, however, has the disadvantage of having a difficult account management system as you cannot log in with your personal Gmail account, nor can you access it from multiple domains making it difficult to juggle accounts, especially if you have multiple accounts.
It is unfair for students without access to proper interconnectivity as well as a constant power source as they are not able to be actively involved due to the struggles of accessing the two, without forgetting those who can't access smart devices for the same purpose. It can be a bit hectic for them.
The classroom pattern has evolved to meet the new reality. The collaborative classrooms and student-led learning have created more rooms for teachers and students to engage, explore and express themselves conveniently without the need for physical presence.
With the rise of digital penetration, Google classrooms have been at the center of an effective, interactive, and organized learning system. With Google classroom features like mobile adaptability, YouTube integration, assignment reusability, announcement updates, live classes, originality reports, and assignments, individuals can complete their education quests as normal.