Here’s the situation: You want to set up folders so your students can receive and turn in assignments all electronically. You school has Google Apps for Education, all you students have a Google account, and all you students have a means of accessing and working online during class – how do we use this great new technology effectively???
I’ve been asked time and time again by teachers who want to use Google Drive in their classrooms how to set up folders for their students. I’ve had all the questions that could be asked; how to get started, how to keep everyone from seeing everyone else’s work, is there a faster way, and on and on. The good news it Google has you covered!! Google Classroom does the organizing for you, and organization will set you free.
Google Classroom is easy to setup, easy for your students to access, and does the work for you. Here’s how.
Log into classroom.google.com and take the quick tour it gives you. Then you just have to set up your classes, and have your students access the site using the correct class code to join your class. If you have been doing much with EdTech in your classrooms, this process is similar to most others (ie – Edmodo, Pear Deck, EDUCanon, ect…). Finally, create your first assignment and you are off and running. Here’s where Google Classroom shines –
Google Classroom automatically sets up shared folders for you and your students. You will find a folder in your Google Drive called Classroom. Salvation lies within! Classroom sets up class folders within, and then within those class folders you will find a folder for each assignment you create. The same happens for your students but documents are only shared between you and the individual student – not everyone in the class.
So when a student accesses the assignment, Classroom creates a file named “the assignment name – student name” and is shared between you and the student. All of this is organized within the Classroom Folder->Class Folder->Assignment Folder .
Other services such as Hapara do similar things (with other bells and whistles most of the time) but the organization is much less useful to me as a teacher. When I’m ready to sit down and grade papers – having a folder with nothing but the assignment at hand and each file labeled with the same naming convention is a HUGE time saver.
Google Classroom also allows better feedback options than Hapara by allowing you to enter grades right into the assignment where the student can see what they got, and enables two way communication between student and teacher all through the Google Classroom interface.
And the best news of all, because this is a Google product, there should be continued improvements and Google’s team of experts ensuring that the up-time is as high as humanly possible.
While my school currently pays for Hapara service, I will be exclusively using Google Classroom with my students this spring. Expect more reviews, tips, and tricks as I better learn this system.