How Google Classroom can help teachers

Adam Speight

Award-winning teacher Adam Speight is a Middle Leader in a secondary school in South Wales and also works as an FE lecturer specialising in ICT and Computer Science. Aside from Adam's teaching commitments he also runs his own education consultancy business - Mr Speight Consultancy and since qualifying as a teacher in 2011, he has worked in both Wales and England in the state and independent sectors in a variety of roles. He is always keen to share his ideas and is a frequent educational writer and speaker. Adam is always looking for new, innovative teaching ideas, so that no learner ever gets left behind.

Follow @Mr_Speight

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Plenty of teachers use Google apps in their classrooms, but is Google Classroom as widely used as it should be? Kings Monkton Private School teachers Adam Speight and Fiona Thomas explain how it’s been innovating their classroom this year.

In 2006 Google introduced a product known as Google Apps for Education to the world. This product became a game changer, as schools no longer had to stick with using the traditional Microsoft Office Suite; there was now a free variable alternative product available to them. Zoom forward to 2014, and Google have once again transformed the world of Education. This latest initiative comes in the format of a virtual learning environment (VLE), and is known as Google Classroom. Furthermore, it is free to anyone using Google Apps for Education. This product weaves together both Google Drive and Gmail, so it is a tool which helps teachers organise classes, provide feedback, save time and improve organisation so that the learning experience is fully enhanced.

Google Classroom is real competition to other VLEs, as it’s a far simpler system which can be used with all age ranges thanks to its simplicity and efficiency. Furthermore, this VLE is a practical solution as it’s completely free of charge; there are no hidden charges connecting to using it, and like Google Apps for Education, it is both secure and robust.

At the school in which both Fiona and I work, we teach students from the age of 2 to 18, and Google Classroom is something we are slowly introducing. As such, we are now going to provide you with an insight as to how we are both using Google Classroom in our lessons in order to add value to the learning experience of our students.

Collaborative Learning

Google Classroom enables students to research topics together, as well as post simple links and answers onto the stream of posts which appear on their main wall. It also enables students to develop a forum with one another, as they can respond to each other’s posts regarding the quality of work they are currently sharing with their peers. Anything which students post on Google Classroom is completely visible to the whole class, and you as their teacher instantly receive an email as soon as a post has taken place so any inappropriate activity can be dealt with quickly.

Online Resources

With Google Classroom you don’t need to print resources out for your lesson or for homework, as you can simply post them onto the wall. Google Classroom allows you to upload a variety of content, even allowing you to automatically put resources into students’ Google Drive accounts so that they can’t make an excuse that they couldn’t find their homework sheet.

You can also attach videos, websites, documents (Office or Google), pdf or images to any posts you put on the stream, great for reinforcing work being done in school or for ‘flipping the classroom’. With younger children, this is also particularly useful for attaching documents such as letters / timetables / blog rules etc which you will want parents to see and have easy access to throughout the year. You can also add general information and documents applicable to your class in the about section of your class profile.

Accountability

Each Google Classroom you set up provides you with codes which you can give to both parents and line managers so that they can see exactly what is going on in your lessons. Furthermore, during a lesson observation Google Classroom can be shown to the observer in order to show them that the lesson they are witnessing is a true reflection of the type of lessons which always take place in your classroom.

Assignments

Students can very easily turn in their work on Google Classroom, and such it provides you the teacher with a very visualised display as to who has / hasn’t handed in their assignments on time. Also, when you receive an assignment on Google Classroom from your students, the system automatically organises the files you have received straightaway into folders on your Google Drive. This means you don’t have to waste any time downloading and organising any files you receive, which is very useful and efficient.

M-learning

Whether you are fortunate enough to have lots of good computers in your classroom or not, Google Classroom supports mobile learning. It can be accessed anywhere on the go, providing you have an internet connection. This is really useful, as students can be going around the school on a particular activity and then can instantly upload key parts of their activity from their mobile device straight to the Google Classroom. It is also useful in that whatever equipment the children have at home, access is still available providing they have an internet connection.

In conclusion, while there are many other VLEs out there, Google Classroom is different as it does all that a VLE is supposed to do, but in a very simple, effective way so that all learners can access it. It is an inclusive and efficient VLE which adds value to the learning experience for all learners across the primary/secondary age ranges.

[This article was co-written by Fiona Thomas of Kings Monkton Private School. You can read more of her work at www.fionathomasict.wordpress.com and www.kmsyear2.wordpress.com]

Do you use Google Classroom in your work? Share your experiences below.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"