Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Google Classroom - Changing How We Do Class

One of the things I love about being a GAFE (Google Apps For Education) District is that we have access to an amazing set of apps and programs to truly bring our teaching into the 21st century. The technology developed by both Google itself and by those working within the Google Script Environment allow us, as teachers, to reach our students in ways that were never before possible. As wonderful as this technology is, we must be careful to not become too comfortable with the way things work because there will be change and that change will require us to continue learning and to adjust our expectations - in short, we may be required to think differently.
GAFE, as with all technology programs and services, is constantly undergoing changes that aim to make the technology work more smoothly and effectively. For example, as we started the year, Google Classroom allowed teachers to post only assignments and announcements to the classroom stream. Be the end of September, those who are actively using Google Classroom likely noticed a change - features were added that allow teachers to Reuse Posts and Ask Questions in the stream. Additionally, Google Classroom now allows multiple teachers to manage content for a group and any due dates that the teacher establishes for assignments in the Google Classroom environment are automatically recorded on the teacher's Google Calendar. While these changes have added some much-appreciated functionality to Google Classroom, the changes are still coming!
In October, Google changed the way in which teachers add Google Forms to the Google Classroom. For those that conduct assessments via Forms, you may have noticed this change. Teachers no longer have to copy and paste the URL for the Live View of the Form to the assignment in Google Classroom. Rather, teachers can simply create the assignment and link directly to the Form file in Google Drive. When students click on the link in Classroom, they will be taken to the Live Form. When the student completes and submits the Form, the assignment, if there was no other work attached, will automatically be marked as Done for you and the student! Check the screenshots below to see how this works.
Post Form To Classroom Teacher View Animation.gif
Post Form To Classroom Student View Animation.gif
Teacher View when opening the assignment. Student View when opening the assignment.
You may wonder where Google gets the ideas for the changes they are bringing to GAFE on a regular basis. Google listens to those who are using GAFE - the teachers. If there is a feature you would like to see added to Google Classroom, simply click the question mark in the bottom left of the Classroom window, choose Send Feedback and follow the onscreen prompts. It's quick and easy and Google considers each and every suggestion!
If you have any questions about the changes to Google Classroom, please do not hesitate to contact me! I will help you make sense of it all.
Cheers,
Justin