Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Classroom Organization: Google Classroom

We often work with students who struggle with difficulties with executive functions, which make it hard for them to manage their time, organize their materials or plan their studying and homework. As a teacher, one has to be the ultimate multitasker who can organize, prepare, track and document everything from attendance to assignments to grades for a classroom full of students. Even for those with impeccable executive functioning skills, this can be a major challenge. When I was a classroom teacher I jerry-rigged my Google Apps account into my own learning management system to help me streamline my home-school communications, track my grades and prepare, organize and distribute my lesson materials. However, as of this past summer an educator no longer has to attempt their own variation of a learning management system, because Google has now launched Google Classroom. Not surprisingly, Google’s version is much more insightful and user friendly than my makeshift attempt. Google Classroom is a learning management system that was designed to simplify a teacher’s process for creating, distributing, and grading of classroom assignments. The added benefit is that it does so in a completely paperless way. Google Classroom is available for free for anyone who has access to Google Apps for Education

Now, with the advent of Google Classroom, teachers can easily create assignments, distribute materials to all students, provide feedback and track grades all in one paperless space. It also offers a space to store student work, and organizes each student’s assignments into their own drive for easy accessibility. On the assignments page, students are able to see what has been assigned and when it is due, which they can access from both home and school. In addition, teachers are able to easily see who has completed their assignment and make notes and provide feedback to any students who appear to be struggling. When work is completed, teachers can grade the assignment and track all grade metrics right in the Google Classroom framework. All of these combined features make classroom management a much more effective, seamless process. 

The video above does an excellent job of highlighting the simplicity of using Google Classrooms, as well as the key features that will help streamline any teacher’s organizational burdens. A summary of the features of Google Classroom is also available as an online document. Many schools already have proprietary systems in place to manage some or all of the functions of Google Classroom. But for those teachers for whom such a system is not available, or who want specific features that Google offers, Google Classroom can be an excellent asset.

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