Initial Google Classroom review

by 10:14 AM 0 comments
UPDATES ADDED AT BOTTOM OF POST:

Our district Tech Integration guy, @dschoening, told the ModelTech team to watch for/ sign up for the Google Classroom experiment. So I did, as a good minion would.

Here is the Google Classroom website for some background (you can request an invite here too).

So far, it seems like a mashup of what our district tried out for the past two years (Hapara Teacher Dashboard) and Google+. We are getting away from the Teacher Dashboard, from what I understand.

Easy interface for anyone with social media site experience.
Within a matter of minutes I created a class, added a cover photo, added an assignment with a link, and posted a welcome message. Any experience with any social media site will make this process pretty intuitive.

While that was easy to do, I was struggling with adding students. You can have students go to classroom.google.com and enter a code given to the teacher; or the teacher can just add by email (importing a list would be nice, but not quite available). I tried to do it both ways, yet it didn't ever seem to load (30 minutes of the loading page for one email, so I gave up). So, without being able to test turning in assignments or anything with students, I'll have to stop this review and come back with a followup later.


Pros: Simple. Easy to use interface. Connects to Google Drive for easy file sharing and organization.

Cons: Was not able to add students (obviously a necessity), so a BIG negative.

Final Thoughts: I think this tool has potential for connecting teachers to students and parents, but it might just be another platform for tools that are out there. I would love to see a better integration of Google Sites, otherwise this might just be a tool for delivering material just as a "regular" classroom website would be. There is potential though, so I'll keep up to date (and hopefully the student loading will be fixed).

UPDATE: 7/12/14
I tried to add a student again today (thinking ample time) and I came up with this:
So I sent Google some feedback, hopefully this can be resolved. I am at a point in my summer that my class website domain is up for renewal (I have a paid WIX account, you can check it out here if you'd like: cbjacketjournalism.com, but if this works out, I might try it as my full time site.

UPDATE 8/4/14
IT WORKS! Well, it turns out it was my issue, I think. Once I tried a class list with my school email domain (tested some seniors... they all emailed me with "what is this?").
I added some assignments and announcements. It seems to work fine.

I worry that it's just one more step for my kids though.
"Go to my website to see my agenda, then go to my Classroom to see the assignment. Write the assignment in a Google Doc and submit it back to the Classroom."

I also sent feedback to to the site about having a calendar on the site (to see any and all upcoming assignments that I'd want to show), and a click verification/time duration (when I want the kids to watch a video, I can see if they watched it and for how long... also allows kids to watch something without having to open and share a Google Doc for that task).

I just (literally) found out today that Google Classroom is going to be available for our district next Monday (Aug 11) so I guess it's good I got this figured out and can see the benefits!

Have you tried Google Classroom? What do you think? Do you have suggestions for the site? Leave your comments below.

Lindquist

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I do a lot of things. The best thing I do is fathering (I think). I'm the ol' "Jack of all trades, Master of none." I teach aspiring journalists. I run. I play guitar(s). I also host a running podcast. Oh, and I dabble in drawing. And I dabble in authoring... children's books no less. I just dabble. Sometimes I ramble.

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