When Google announced it was releasing Classroom nearly a month early for all educators, I became quite impatient. I’ve been preaching the Gospel of Google for so long, I remember when Docs only had five fonts and the formatting changed depending on browser. For all its convenience, it was at times, a train wreck.
So anytime Google introduces a new product, I embrace it and deal with the bugs because history has proved the bugs will work out.
Here’s some basic observations about Google Classroom after one week.
1. Creating Assignments.
I love how easy it is to get assignments to students. I have most of them already made in Drive, so it’s just a matter of linking the assignment–and here’s the best part–clicking the option that says “Make a copy for each student.”
Every student gets a copy of the assignment. Gone are the “I thought I shared it with you” laments, because I gave each student the work. It’s a digital way of handing out assignments.
2. Quick View of Who’s Done.
I can easily see who has finished the work and who hasn’t. This is particularly handy for quick assessments done in class, when I don’t want to move on until all responses are turned in. It also is a nice reminder of how much grading I have…I teach so many different subjects that I often can’t keep track of how many students are in which classes. It’s nice to have a snapshot of the grading load.
3. Easy emailing.
In past years, I had to manually set up a class email group. With Classroom, just one click and I’m able to email my students. I know that seems like a small thing to be happy about, but it really is so much easier than sorting through the district directory to add and create an email list.
So far what I am not wild about is that once students turn in assignments, they can’t do any revising until I’ve returned it to them. I teach writing, so that’s a bit problematic since drafting and revising is so important. What I haven’t figured out yet is if students can turn in assignments a second time, after revising. I’ll figure that out this week.
I also wish it functioned a bit more like Blackboard–that I could post articles and links for students to read, but as far as I can tell, everything has to have a due date, and I don’t want a glaring red “DUE DATE” screaming at me. So I’m still using my class website for that.
Overall, I’m happy with how it’s working so far, and like I said, if history is any indication, it will only get better from here.