Google Classroom: A new frontier for teachers and students

To honor American Teacher Appreciation Week in 2014, Google launched a program for students around the globe. Since its inception almost a year ago, Google classroom has enabled students to receive and post over seventy million assignments.

Google classroom is accessible from mobile devices through a stable app and its services include grade postings, due date reminders, and over fifty other handy tools for teachers and students alike. The app incorporates many Google services already automatically available to Elms students, such as Docs, Drive, and Gmail. The stream page serves as a social media format reminiscent of Google + and it shows updates on assignments and group documents.

The service enables teachers to share documents with students paperlessly, customize their online classrooms with themes, and quickly view who has turned in their assignments.

All work, such as slide presentations, documents, and spreadsheets, can be submitted electronically, or marked as done, according to teacher preference. And, never fear, if a student accidentally turns in an unfinished assignment, they can simply unsubmit it. Work can be stored in a variety of customizable manners, improving organization for both students and teachers.

Teachers can grade assignments with a customizable grading scale and leave comments on the assignments or in footnotes before returning them to students. Teachers may also share lessons from videos on Youtube and provide links to other resources for their classes. For many students, class discussion is key to their progress and understanding, so teachers also have the option of implementing an interactive class forum during lessons.

As a part of Google’s extensive education app program, Google Classroom is free for schools and contains no ads. This paperless service has greatly assisted under-funded educational systems internationally.

While sometimes criticized as the poor man’s LMS (software for online education courses), Google Classroom has no doubt been successful since its announcement in August. This may be in part due to its user-friendly format and step by step user guide for both students and teachers, in combination with its ever-expanding resource services. 

Physical education and health instructor, Mrs. Giel, already uses the service for her health class. “I use Google Slides for all my presentations. If students miss a day, they still have access to the notes. It eliminates excuses,” Giel said.

Mrs. Giel also advocated for the paperless education system, and she appreciates the progressive shift toward an interactive education in the digital sphere.

Students that have worked with the program in Mrs. Giel’s class, such as Teagan Webb ’16, remarked about Google Classroom, “Yas, yas. I’m all about Google Classroom.”

As all Elms students already have access to Google Drive through their school-provided accounts, integration to the Google Classroom system could lie ahead.


Additional resources

TIME Magazine

Google Classroom Introduction