One of the many features found inside of Google Classroom is the ability for students to ‘ADD’ additional artifacts to an assignment. This is a valuable tool as it allows students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to meet the standard(s) using a wide variety of tools and then attach the artifacts to the assignment. This option is so important that the first assignment I give to my students is to practice using this tool by ADDING a screenshot of their favorite Chromebook app.
The effectiveness of this tool came into question recently when a student attempted to ADD a Google Doc that was shared with their partner. The student who created the gDoc, (i.e. the owner) was able to successfully ADD the shared file to the Classroom assignment. However, not only was their partner (i.e. with ‘Can edit’ access) unable to ADD the shared file but could not even find the gDoc, even though they confirmed that the file was in their Google Drive.
What the Google is going on?
Thanks to some ingenious troubleshooting by a pair of 6th grade students, we discovered that a student may only ADD a file to an assignment in Classroom if they are the owner of that file. So, this is what the girls did:
- Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
- She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
- Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
Now, some may say that this is only a minor inconvenient issue. However, not knowing why both project partners cannot attach a shared file to an assignment has caused frustration for several of my students. Plus, I can’t help but brag just a little bit for the two students whose independent troubleshooting solved this mystery for us.
The Share to Classroom extension for Google Chrome can perform several helpful tasks. Most users use it as a shortcut to open Google Classroom, but there is more to this extension than meets the eye. For example, did you know that it can also be used to push a website out to all of the students that are enrolled in a class? Did you know that the extension can also work in reverse, allowing a student push a website to their teacher so that it can then be pushed out to the rest of the class? Before we delve into how to do this, let’s go get the extension.
Get the Extension
- On your Chromebook, use the Launcher tool to access your Google Apps and locate the Web Store app. You can also open the Chrome app and do a search for Chrome Web Store.
- Locate the ‘Search the store’ box located in the top-left corner of the site, then type in the keywords “share to classroom” and press Enter.
- Under the list of possible Extensions find the entry for Share to Classroom.
- Click the ADD TO CHROME button to start the download.
- When prompted, approve the extension to initiate the install.
Using the Extension
After adding the extension, Share to Classroom should now be accessible from the Chrome menu bar, located to the right of the URL/Search box.
- Classes are organized into the same order as they are displayed in the Classroom app.
- Classes that you create or co-teach in are displayed first under the “Teaching” heading.
- Classes that you are a member of are displayed below under the “Enrolled” heading.
- At the bottom of the extension window are additional tools, help, and settings.
PUSH-ing a Website
As a teacher, you have the ability to ‘PUSH’ a website to the device of each student who is enrolled in the class. This tool comes in very handy when you want to share a website with your students but don’t have time to post the link or perhaps are responding to a teachable moment.
To PUSH a website:
- Open a new tab and navigate to the website you’d like to PUSH to your students.
- Open the Share to Classroom extension, then select the desired class.
- If the extension is able to successfully PUSH the website, then a preview of the site will be displayed in the window.
- When ready, click the PUSH button to transmit.
- Students will receive a pop-up notification window on their devices that the teacher has sent them a PUSH notification, and within seconds automatically open a new tab and load the website that you specified.
- Below the PUSH button, there are menus to that store websites that you have recently pushed to students. This list is temporary and is not meant to replace bookmarking the site for later use.
- If you are enrolled in a class then you cannot PUSH a site to the other members of that class. However, you can submit a website to the teacher for review, who can then PUSH it out the rest of the class. Sites that you have received PUSH notifications for from students can be accessed from here.
Additional PUSH Options
You can create assignments, ask questions, and make announcements to a class directly from the extension. All of the features that you would see when creating one of these artifacts from inside Classroom are available here (due date, topic, etc).
- If the website you PUSH is in fact a native Google Drive file (i.e. Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings), then you will have the additional option of setting the share permissions you want students to have to that file including:
- View only
- Comment only
- Group edit
- The only option that you cannot set here is for every student to get their own copy of the file. To do this, it is recommended that you create the assignment directly from within the Google Classroom app
Shortcut to Classroom
Users can use the extension as a quick shortcut to get to Google Classroom. Navigate to the bottom of the window and click on ‘OPEN CLASSROOM’ to quickly navigate to https://classroom.google.com/
Google always appreciate feedback in order to make their products better. Click on the exclamation mark speech bubble to send them a quick note if you encounter anything amiss with the extension.
Get Help & Support
If you need additional support with the extension, then click the question mark icon to access Google’s Support page on the subject.
Use the Settings tool to control whether or not you receive browser notifications when students PUSH as website to you.
Me: “Okay class, I would like you to open up the assignment in Classroom.”
Student: “Mr. Shuman, I don’t see it.”
Me: “Did you refresh the page?”
Student: “Yes, I did. It still isn’t there.”
Me: “Really? Now how can that…oops, I forgot to assign it. My bad.”
This scenario plays out way too often in my classes. I tend to prepare my posts ahead of time and leave them sitting in Draft form until I’m ready to deploy them. This works out well for me…unless I forget to follow through and assign them to the Stream. Now, in addition to posting or save as draft, Google Classroom has the option to schedule your assignments!
When you create a new item in Classroom, use the drop-down menu in the bottom-right corner to access the Assign, Schedule, or Save Draft option. The scheduling feature works for announcements and polling questions too. Once added, the schedule setting will appear at the top of a posts edit window:
NOTE: For an assignment, set its due date first, as you cannot schedule a post after the established deadline. For more information, please refer to the Google Classroom Help Forum.
In August of 2015 Google Classroom added a ‘Create Question’ feature, allowing teachers to post a question to students. Students would then respond by adding a ‘Class Comment…’ in the Classroom Stream. Now, the Create Question can poll the student audience via a multiple choice question.
- From the Stream tab inside of Classroom, click the ‘Plus’ button in the bottom-right corner and choose ‘Create question’ from the list of choices.
- Enter your question and any additional instructions in the fields provided.
- Click the ‘Short answer’ text to access the Multiple choice option.
- Enter your option choices.
- Use the slide tool to the right to specify whether or not you would like students to have access to a class summary of the responses.
- Just like any other post you can add additional artifacts, copy the question to multiple classes, and ‘Ask’ right away or save your poll question as a draft.
For more information and 4 ways to use the new polling feature, please check out the Google for Education Blog.
With the recent integration of calendars into Google Classroom, some of our students are seeing some of their class calendars in Google Calendar but not others (i.e. the class calendars are not visible from the Calendar web app or the iOS mobile app). Why some students are experiencing this and not others is unknown.
This tutorial will show how to force Calendar to add Classroom Calendars so that they can be seen within the web application and from the Google Calendar iOS app.
Shortly after Google Classroom debuted, one of the components that teachers asked to be integrated into the app was Google Calendar. As the 2015-16 school year got underway, Classroom was still devoid of a calendar option. All appeared to be lost. But in reality, Google was on the case and in late September Google Calendar came to Classroom.
There are two ways for students and teachers to access their Classroom’s Calendar:
- From the ‘sandwich’ menu in the top-left corner of Classroom
- From the ‘About’ tab
A third option is to access the Classroom’s Calendar directly from the Calendar app (there is also a shortcut to this option under the ‘About’ tab). Any assignment that is posted in Classroom that has a due date will appear in that Classroom’s calendar. And, just as in the Calendar App, teachers and students can filter assignments by specific classes or see all of the assignments from all of their classes on one screen. If teachers do not see their Classroom’s calendar in the Calendar App, then Google suggests that they may need to “Add a post to the class stream to create the calendar.”
Finally, now that a Classroom’s calendar can be accessed in the Calendar App there are more options at the teacher’s disposal to easily share this information with parents. Teachers can open up the sharing permissions on the Classroom calendar, then embed it on their teacher website. Parents who have Google accounts themselves will have the additional option to add their child’s Classroom calendar to their own Calendar App.
If a video would help explain these exciting new developments, then I would recommend checking out these two by Jenn Scheffer:
In my Digital Citizenship class, I sometimes use a Google Form as an assessment tool with my students. While a Google Form cannot be embedded into Google Classroom’s Stream (soon Google, yes?), one can easily attach the link to the live form. The first time I did this I posted the Form link as an Announcement, but then couldn’t tell when students actually completed the assessment. The second time around I posted the Form link as part of an Assignment, but while students remembered to ‘Submit’ the completed Form many forgot to ‘Turn In’ the assignment in Classroom. Now, I realize that I could just open up the Form Responses spreadsheet to check for completion, but I was so hoping for a more…efficient way to spot-check completion. That’s when Google does what it does best: change.
Last week in the Google for Education feed on Google Plus, they announced improved integration between Classroom and Forms (click here for the post). Now you can attach a Google Form to an assignment in Classroom (i.e. forgo the paper clip option and instead choose ‘Attach Google Drive Item’). Then, when students go to submit your Form, they will be prompted to also TURN IN the assignment in Classroom. As an added bonus, when teachers go to the Google Forms assignment in Classroom there is now a direct link to the Form Responses spreadsheet.
Sometimes you just have to embrace “Living in Beta.”