Google Classroom: An Online Platform for Virtual Learning
A Virtual Solution for the New Normal:
As COVID-19 spread around the world at an unprecedented rate, many of us have been forced to adapt and break our familiar routines to embrace the new normal. Likewise, millions of teachers have been challenged with replicating the in-person experience with the virtual classroom, using distance learning tools and programs.
Fortunately, the task is made easier with Google Classroom. Google Classroom is an online tool designed to streamline the distribution and marking of assignments and make the entire process paperless. In addition, Google Classroom’s flawless integration with Google Drive, Sheets, Slide, and Gmail is the ultimate tool to port your in-person lesson into a virtual learning environment.
Class customization: Using your Google account, you can create a “class,” which is managed as a folder on your google drive. You can then provide access to a course for your students using a shareable key automatically generated when you create the class.
Assignments: Teachers can assign four types of assignments to their class. There are “Questions,” which function as a quick, gradeless survey for the students. The “Material” option serves as an opportunity to distribute learning content to the students, as you can assign resources and reading materials for the students to review before an assessment. “Quizzes” are an automatically marked assessment of student performance in the class. Quizzes can be built and completed on Google Docs, with the marks imported to Google Classroom. The teacher and the students can see their marks immediately following submission. Finally, “Assignments” is an option for teachers to either upload a file or create one online and issue it to the students in the class.
Integration with Google WorkSpace: With all files being stored on Google Drive, you can peruse your entire class’s database from any device and trust that every change is automatically backed up. When using Google Docs to create an assignment, Google Classroom’s integration will provide the option to “share” individual copies with class students at the teacher’s request.
Tasks and Assignments: When a student returns a completed assignment to the teacher, this document will have the “View” status (a signal to the teacher that the work needs to be checked). The teacher can return the assignment for revision or immediately assign a grade.
Assignment Analytics: Google Classroom provides the functionality to view each student’s progress and review past assignment performance.
Classroom Communication: Teachers can communicate with their class by creating announcements that all the students can view. You can also leave comments for each assignment so that a student can receive feedback for their work. Teachers and students can also communicate over Gmail, as it is part of the platform.
Mobile Capable: Google Classroom has a mobile app for iOS and Android. Students can access the course contents, download and upload assignments, and take part in examinations through its use. Teachers use the app to create or upload content, review homework and give grades.
Accessibility for the Visually Impaired- Google Classroom is accessible for the visually Impaired by enabling screen reading programs. For example, VoiceOver was created for iOS devices and TalkBack for Android.
+Intuitive Interface: The developers have simplified the interface of Google Classroom as much as possible so that teachers, students, and their parents can intuitively access a class in minutes without technical skills and maximizing class time.
+Helpful Hints: Google Classroom provides plentiful task-specific hints, such as how to create a course or test, where to see the results of students - so that you can quickly master its capabilities.
+Google Workspace Integration: Google Classroom works with Google Drive for storing files, Google Docs for publishing text lectures, presentations, and polls, Google Meet for video calls, and Google Calendar for scheduling, among other popular virtual tools.
+Teamwork: Several teachers can work on the course at once. One teacher may teach a class, while another is uploading documents for the lecture, while another helps grade assignments.
+Feedback: The teacher can comment and leave remarks on each submitted assignment and marked quiz. If the student does not understand something, they have the ability to post a question on the general feed and attract the attention of instructors, as well as fellow students.
+Parent Transparency: Parents can see their children’s grades to monitor their progress - a report with marks can be sent to their Gmail account. Parents can also see the information feed of each course to follow the teacher’s news and announcements.
+Mobile Capable: Available as a mobile application that gives instructors and students alike the power of Google Classroom but in the palm of their hands.
-Does not support eLearning standards: SCORM, Tin Can (xAPI), and cmi5. Therefore, courses created in these standards do not work in Google Classroom.
-Limited Quiz Settings: Unfortunately, Google Classroom’s excellent quiz design function does not afford many testing options for the teacher. For example, there is no way to set a time limit on the quiz, randomize the order of questions per student, or proctor the student’s test to ensure that they maintain academic integrity.
-Access Limited to Google: Before starting work, all students must create a Google account. As a rule, some of the students may have questions and difficulties - this delays the beginning of training.
-Bland Design: For each course, the teacher can decide on a laconic cover photo or upload one of their choosing with a colour theme provided by Google. The lack of creativity will ensure that the design for each class, no matter the subject, will remain similar, with few distinguishable features.
-Limited Class Size: With a limited class size of 200 participants, including teaching staff, you may need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace for Education account.
-Limited Video Conferencing Functions: perhaps Google Classroom’s most significant disadvantage is the inability to control certain aspects of the lecture. For example, muting unruly students or mics that were accidentally left in operation. Therefore it is harder to take control of a situation during the lesson.
All in All
If you are looking for an easy-to-use platform to replace your in-person classes, online, Google Classroom may be your best bet. Classroom’s integration with the entire Google Workspace allows you to take advantage of Google’s cornucopia of popular and easy-to-use apps, such as Google Meet, Docs, and Calendar. With that being said, a teacher, their staff, and their students will transition with as little downtime as possible, making Google Classroom one of the leading online learning platforms.
Google Classroom is suitable for schools with smaller class sizes and will help launch blended learning. With the ability to combine study materials into a course to a handy calendar for scheduling classes, there is a lot of functionality ready to make the transition to remote learning in an online classroom as smooth as possible.
However, Google Classroom is less suitable for universities and larger enterprises - there will not be enough functionality to maintain and manage larger class sizes. For example, it will not be possible to divide students into faculties or for school administrators to manage the classes of several teachers.