Google Classroom Update: Another Way to Use The ‘About’ Section

Google Classroom About section text linkLast week I posted that Google had taken notice of our feedback about needing a place to store static files like syllabi, resource links, and other items that we want students to be able to access throughout the class term. They did this by creating a new option on the Classwork tab called “Materials.” What I want to show you in this post is another option available to us for posting long-term ressources that takes advantage of a connection between the Class Settings tool and the About section. The About section still exists, albeit reduced to a simple text link. It is located in the bottom-right corner of the Classroom banner on the Stream tab.


How it works

  • In the new Google Classroom, click on the gear icon located in the top-right corner of the Classroom banner to access the new Class settings page.

Classroom "Class settings" gear icon

  • Click the pencil icon to Edit and add a class description and optional room number information.

Classroom "Class settings" window with Edit option highlighted

Class settings editor window

  • Now here’s where the workaround comes in. In the Class description section add links to the resources you want students to have easy access to throughout the class term. To help keep the links clean and manageable, use a URL shortener tool such as the goo.gl URL shortener Chrome extension, Bitly or a shortener tool of your own choosing.
  • When you’re done entering in resources, click SAVE. Notice that your links become active automatically.
Class settings window with info. added

Teacher view via ‘Class settings’

  • Now, when students go into your class and click the ‘About’ text link, they will see all of this information including the links to your resources.
About section student view with resource info. added

Student view via ‘About’ link


My thanks to Christy Cate for sharing this great workaround on the EdTechTeam Google Plus Community.

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Google Classroom Update: Classwork “Materials”

Google Classroom Materials iconWhen Google released their updates for Google Classroom this past August, one of the changes made reduced the ‘About’ section from a major tab to a text link located in the bottom-right corner of the Classroom banner on the Stream tab. This saddened many teachers who had used the About section to store static files and resources that they wanted students to have easy access to through the class term. True to their word, Google has listened to our feedback and in their most recent update added a new feature to the Classwork tab called “Materials.”

Add Materials to Classroom animated gif


  • Materials provides fields to enter a title and description for the post.
  • Add multiple resources to a Materials post using the same options available in an Assignment post.
  • Materials posts can be saved in draft form and scheduled for publication just like an Assignment, Question, or Announcement.
  • If choose to not add a topic keyword to your Materials post, then the post will be displayed at the top of the Classwork page.

Classroom Materials Post sample


For more information, please refer to the Google Classroom Support site.

 

Google Classroom Update: Add Classwork Tab to a Pre-Existing Class

Google Classroom tabs without ClassworkIf you had created a class in Google Classroom prior to the major update Google released back in mid-August, then your class missed out on the new Classwork tab. With an update just released this past weekend, Google has made it easy for teachers to update their pre-existing classes to include the Classwork tab.

  1. Go to Google Classroom and select a class.
  2. Click on the “?” icon in the bottom-left corner and from the pop-up menu select, “Add Classwork page.”
  3. Confirm that you wish to update the class and Google Classroom will do the rest.

Update classes with new Classwork tab animated gif


For more information please refer to the Google Classroom Support site.

Google Classroom Update: Class Notifications

Last year Google expanded the Settings tool in Google Classroom to give teachers more control over what notifications they want to receive. A teacher can set their preferences for notifications based on Comments, activity from Classes you’re enrolled in, and Classes that you teach.  Toggle switches in blue are active and will send notifications to the teacher’s inbox in Gmail, switches in gray are inactive and will not send notifications.

Notification Settings in Google Classroom

New for the 2018-19 school year, Google Classroom now has the ability to enable/disable all notifications for a specific class. To access, scroll down to the bottom of the Settings list and click on Class notifications. A list of all of the classes that you are enrolled in and also teach will be displayed. Toggle the switch next to the class(es) that you no longer wish to receive any notifications from. This new feature could be very helpful for support staff, administrators, or perhaps long-term substitute teacher situations.

Classroom Settings > Class notifications options


My thanks to Eric Curts over at Control Alt Achieve for sharing this new update.

Recent Updates to Google Classroom

Google recently announced some updates to their Google Classroom app with a focus on improving communication with students as well as with parents/guardians. If you’d like to watch this review online then click here.

Comment Settings move to STREAM

Classroom commenting tool drop-down menuThe configuration box for controlling the commenting ability of students has been moved from the STUDENTS tab to the STREAM tab. The actual functions haven’t changed; you can still set the public or “class” commenting privileges for students, just that the tool is now located on the tab where the commenting actually takes place:

  • Students can post and comment
  • Students can only comment
  • Only teachers can  post and comment

Manually send Guardian Summaries

Email student or guardians envelope iconGuardian Summaries are a way for parents to get regular updates on how their child is doing in their classes through Google Classroom. Go to the STUDENT tab and click on the name of a student in the list to take you to their “Your work” tool. By clicking on the envelope icon in the top-right corner, now teachers can manually send a Guardian Summary to a student, the guardian(s) of the student, or both the student and the guardian(s). After selecting your receiver, there is a space below to enter a quick message. Don’t forget to check off the box to Include student work summary if you want that information included in the transmission. NOTE: A guardian must have accepted the invite prior to this point in order to include them in this communique.

Guardian summary email tool


Teachers & Co-Teachers

About section-teacher managementNothing much to say here except that the footprint of this module has been made smaller. You still use this tool to add co-teachers to your class, remove them, email them, or transfer ownership of the class to another. Students still see the list of co-teachers for the class and an envelope icon to send an email to them.

As always, if you like these changes or have suggestions for some new ones then please do not hesitate to send Google feedback via the question mark “?” icon located in the bottom-left corner of the window.


WeVideo & Chromebooks: Google Classroom Integration

One of the benefits of having an education account with WeVideo is the ability to easily share finished videos directly to Google Classroom.

Share to Google Classroom icon


Teacher

As a teacher, you can select a finished video and create an assignment, ask a question, or make an announcement. You will have access to the full Google Classroom editor from this pop-up window allowing you to add directions, set a due date, add additional materials to the post, and so on.

Share to Classroom options for teachers

Classroom editor window for an Announcement Post


Student

As a student, once they have selected a finished video and clicked on the Share to Classroom option, have them find their class and then select the appropriate assignment they would like to attach their video artifact to.

ADD tool inside of an assignment in Google ClassroomNOTE: This option will not work for assignments whose due date has passed. If a student finds themselves in this situation, I would recommend having them first verify that they have connected their Google Drive account to WeVideo (directions for this can be found here), then use the ADD tool inside of Google Classroom to attach it to the assignment.


For more information on using Google Classroom with WeVideo, please check out their support page and/or their video tutorial below.

Classroom Gets Cooler with Single View of Student Work

Once a class gets going, there is a great deal of information that moves back and forth between teacher and student. Google has made it easier to keep track of all this communication for both teachers and students with the new single view of student work.

SingleView-blog

Single View for Teachers

Navigate to the Student tab where the roster of students is displayed. Clicking on any student will open the single view screen for that student, displaying a list of all of the assignments that you have currently assigned and the status of each for that particular student. In addition to the name of each assignment and its due date, this view shows information on:

  • The number of attachments in each assignment.
  • The number of private comments that have taken place between you and the student.
  • The current status of each assignment.

Screen_Shot_2017-08-21_at_11_30_36_AM

You can use the filter tools to the left of the window to only show assignments of a certain status (turned in, returned with grade, or missing). Unlike the To-Do tool (formerly called ‘Work’) which showed the status of student work by assignment, this view gives teachers an overall picture of the status of each student.

Single View for StudentsScreen Shot 2017-08-21 at 5.06.15 PM

Navigate to the About tab in a class. Note that the shortcuts to the Google Drive folder and the two Calendar views for the class have been moved to a box in the top-left corner of the page. A new tool has been added called ‘Your work.’ Clicking on this will open the single view screen and list all of the assignments that have been posted. Much of the information displayed in the teacher single view is also available in the student single view, including filters to show assigned, returned with grade, and missing. Students can also access this screen from the Classroom home screen by clicking on the icon in the bottom-right corner of each class card. When paired with the ‘To-Do’ tool which gives an overall view of their academic responsibilities across all of their classes, these two views provide students multiple ways to check and evaluate their status in each of their classes.

Single View for Mobile Devices

Where the single view really shines is for accessing this information on a mobile device. While students can access their To-Do tool from the Classroom mobile app, there is no tool for teachers. And as I stated above, the the single view for both teachers and students provide a wealth of information and filtering options even on the mobile device.

single view mobile devices