It is exciting time for teachers: technologies that are available at their fingertips broaden the horizons for education like never before.
With the new generations so responsive to dynamic learning, it would seem teachers have no other way than to adopt new methods to engage students in the process.
Google Classroom, first appearing in 2014, has become a hit among K-12 schools not because they proposed something revolutionary, but because they donated their software to all teachers of the world, thus giving them needed tools to revolutionize the system from within.
Since then, developers at Google and other technological companies have improved existing and created new tools to help teachers in their demanding mission to educate new generations of Earth.
Below is the list of 10 most important updates in regards to Google Classroom that will surely come in handy at the start of a new school year.
New Possibilities in Classroom
We start off with the most anticipated function that Google Classroom lacked: possibility to check submitted papers for plagiarism.
Unicheck is the first plagiarism checker to make integration with GC, and what it means to teachers it is that problem of plagiarism in the papers has just become easier to solve and to prevent.
The tool is one of the favorites among teachers because it can find similarities with internet sources and internal library of the school, which means that peer to peer plagiarism is been left in the past. Unicheck is able to show properly formatted citations and references in the paper in almost all academic styles. Unicheck runs checks automatically, and sends a detailed and easy to follow report to the teacher’s Gmail.
Unicheck also overcomes a financial obstacle many teachers face when looking for a quality plagiarism checker, as Unicheck offers a free option.
Another useful integration is Quizizz, a free app that turns material review and student assessment into a pleasurable game-based activity. It works in such a way as to take some of the teachers’ unnecessary workload off of them.
No need to compile quizzes manually, or spend hours looking for a suitable quiz online, because this simple API integration does it for teachers.
All teachers would be pleased to learn the way their quiz routines can work now: first, choose a quiz; then, select a class to use it in. Students will receive a link that should take them directly to the game. As soon as the quiz is completed, answers and scores are sent to the teacher. No effort wasted on putting the quiz together, no time lost on mechanical task of grading each single quiz.
One more advantage on Quizizz is that it adds fun to the educational process and helps students to review material and to be assessed on their proficiency in a gamified form.
In Google Classroom teachers can do the following actions: view assignments, grade the assignments, return them, change a grade, and view grade history.
The default point value of any grade is figured at 100 points. It is now possible to grade any assignment using decimal numbers. Teachers are free to use several digits after decimal point, but the number will be rounded to two decimal digits after the point. Teachers can also use the grades less than 1.
It is now possible to integrate Google Calendar and Classroom, as well as other mobile and web apps via The Calendar API.
This update is what makes using Google Calendar worthwhile: operating on a single platform, the calendar entries appear automatically when teachers add assignments.
It is convenient for students to have due dates for papers and assignments in their calendars without having to manually make them. It is one more reason not to be late with papers.
Other apps can also be integrated in Google Calendar, like a hiking app, which will add a route to the entry in the calendar.
It is now possible to juggle Classroom and other G Suite Google tools with ease, as Google bar gives direct access to all apps. Teachers will find it most convenient to manage notifications, customize menus, perform search and do other necessary things with their Google account.
Verified teachers identification
All users that have been verified by Google can now be identified. That doesn’t only improve the visual part of using Classroom like having people’s names written properly; the system also gives certain access and rights to the teachers that have been verified.
Google Groups Invitations
Google is constantly working on eliminating redundant steps and clicks when working in Classroom. Now teachers can add groups of students instead of adding each one separately. To do that, teachers need to be members of the group they are adding participants to and to use Google Groups.
It is still possible to add students, or co-teachers inviting them or giving them a code to add themselves, but in a case of many members to be added, it saves time and effort.
Class Cards Reorder
This one may seem insignificant, but it greatly contributes to the productivity.
This feature gives teachers opportunity to rearrange how classes are displayed in Google Classroom. The new class order will be automatically synced on all devices. The most recently added classes will appear first, as well as unarchived ones, so if teachers need them elsewhere, they will have to move them around.
Here’s another useful feature that makes teachers’ school life easier. Single view can do what it says: it provides teachers and students with a view of all work, grades, and comments that have been made or submitted for each separate class. There is a filter for each student: the performance can be viewed by status of their work, like assigned, turned in, done late, or missing.
Class Ownership Transfer
Transferring Class ownership is not a problem, as Domain Administrator can do it now in couple of clicks, using Classroom API. The transfer will also make the new teacher owner of the Class’s Drive folder, all materials, and turned-in student works. Deleted materials and works will remain owned by the previous teacher, who’d become a co-teacher in the class.
Actual Presence in Classrooms
There are opposing opinions about the level of actual Google Classroom presence in K-12 schools in US and globally, but one thing is clear: Google is establishing itself as a go-to platform for teachers to operate and manage their classes on the basis of accessible software. And while most of the higher ed institutions often require more sophisticated tools, Google Classroom becomes more and more appealing to secondary schools.
The latest data shows that in US the segment of preschool to 8th grade has been adopting Google Classroom as the main platform.
Around 35.4 million children currently attend preschool to the 8th grade, and ½ of them use Google Classroom on the regular basis. This is an impressive number, even without counting high schoolers in US, or all other schoolchildren in the world.
The future of Google Classroom looks bright, and teachers may rest assured that more updates and integrations will be coming their way, allowing even bigger opportunities to become real in the classrooms.