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
The 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
Guardian 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.
Teachers & Co-Teachers
Nothing 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.
One of the benefits of having an education account with WeVideo is the ability to easily share finished videos directly to Google Classroom.
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.
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.
NOTE: 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.
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.
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.
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 Students
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.
First Google improved the communication between Google Forms and Classroom so that, when a student submitted the Form they would see an option to TURN IN the assignment (more info. here). Then Google introduced the “Quiz” feature to Google Forms with point values, pre-written feedback options, and the ability to decide when student grades would be released to them. Now, Classroom and Forms are shaking hands once again, allowing us to important grades from a quiz-enabled Form directly into a Classroom assignment.
- When you add a Google Form to an assignment in Classroom using the Drive icon, a note and toggle switch will appear at the bottom of the window. The note explains how your Google Form quiz will be configured in order for grade importing to be carried out successfully.
- Once the assignment has been posted, students have submitted their answers, and their responses have been assessed then you are ready to import the grades into Classroom.
- Open the assignment, and in the top-right corner click on the IMPORT GRADES button.
- Importing grades in this fashion will overwrite any grades previously entered.
- If you neglected to enable grade importing before posting the assignment, then you can still use the traffic light icon (i.e. 3 vertical dots) to ‘Edit’ the post and turn on this feature.
Because this feature was announced literally just yesterday I haven’t had time to go through the process yet with one of my classes. However, I do have an assessment ready to go and will be posting it later today. And then, we’ll see what happens!
Please refer to the Google Education Help Article and look under the Grade and return an assignment to a student section for more information.
I’ll admit it, I love being organized…a lot. And when it comes to Google Classroom there is no exception. I like my class cards setup so that they are in the order that my classes run at the start of each week. This meant creating my classes in reverse order so that the last class that I made would be listed first on the Classes screen. If I made a mistake then, oh well. That is, until now!
At your Google Classroom homescreen (called Classes), you will see the cards for all of the classes you’ve either created or joined. Click anywhere on a card to drag it to its new location.
Students can reorder their class cards too, so that they are no longer locked into the order in which they join their classes each term.
At the start of each new term I create a new class in Google Classroom and then copy the class code to paste it into a Google Slides deck. This way, when students arrive for our first meeting together I can project the code on my presentation device large enough for them to transcribe it into their devices. Now Google has made this process even easier.
Under the Student tab you will find the join code for your class. Clicking the disclosure triangle to the right of the code displays a drop-down menu with the new option to ‘Display’ the code. This will enlarge the code and display it boldly in the browser window. Clicking on the box in the bottom-right corner of the code window will enlarge the code further to fill your entire browser window.
I love Google Classroom. All of the notifications that I tend to get from Classroom, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate some of the notifications I get, for example when students re-submit assignments because they are challenging themselves to improve upon their work and demonstrate mastery of the standard(s) being assessed. Thankfully, Google Classroom has expanded their notification settings so that we can decide which types of notifications we want to get.
From the home screen inside of Google Classroom, click on the hamburger icon in the top-left corner to reveal the menu sidebar. Scroll down to the very bottom of the list and clicking on Settings.
Now, in addition to turning on/off all Classroom notifications, you can now customize Classroom notifications based on comments, activity in classes that you’re enrolled in (i.e. a student) and classes you teach.
I still have a filter rule in my Gmail for all email notifications from Classroom to bypass my Inbox and drop directly into a label. However, these improved controls will help better manage those notifications that I want to receive, especially from the Classroom app on my mobile device.