Monday, June 5, 2017

Google Classroom: A Tool to Aid the Digital Workflow with Google Apps

[Update as of June 6, 2017. Post originally published on August 30, 2015.]

If you have said to yourself at least once in the past year, "There has to be an easier way to assign work to students and collect work from students digitally," then Google Classroom is likely the tool of which you have dreamed.

Starting this school year, staff members in the School District of Waukesha will be able to utilize Google Classroom to communicate with students, to assign work and resources to students, to collect that completed work from students, and to easily manage and access assignments submitted to them via Google Drive.

Google Classroom is functioning today and ready for use.  The learning curve is not very steep on this tool and most teachers will find themselves up and running in no time.  Unfortunately, Google Classroom is limited in what it can do, but what it does for teachers it does very well.

With that said, we do want to make one very clear point.  Google Classroom is amazing and powerful, but it is NOT a replacement for Blackboard.  Google Classroom is good for communicating with students and for organizing the digital workflow of handing out docs/sheets/slides from Google Apps (and collecting them).  Google Classroom is not good for organizing and presenting information to students in a lesson format.  It is also cumbersome to enroll parents into Google Classroom

For this reason, Google Classroom does NOT replace Blackboard.  Blackboard is still our primary learning management system. Staff should still initially post resources and information in Blackboard, and then link out to Google Classroom as necessary.

Resources for Learning to Use Google Classroom

There are plenty of resources out there to help staff members learn to use Google Classroom.  Here are the two most notable resources, though, to help you to get started.

This resource from Google is an excellent (and constantly updated) text tutorial.  It is well organized and makes it easy to find the answers you seek.

Video tutorials hand-selected (and created) to assist you in learning about and setting up your Google Classroom courses are available.  These videos are custom tailored (in many cases) to provide information relevant to SDW staff.