Creating Google Classrooms
Creating Google Classrooms was once limited to educational institutions but as of April of 2017, it is open to anyone with a personal Google account. This does not mean that we can mix accounts. For example, a student cannot access a personal Google Classroom with an educational institution account. The accounts used to create and join classrooms in a personal account must all be personal accounts.
What is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is designed to be a blended learning platform. It was developed by Google for schools to make it easy to create, distribute and grade assignments. The focus is on a completely digital experience. It is tightly integrated with G Suite. This means students and teachers can easily integrate Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and YouTube into lessons and daily assignments.
Google Classroom doesn’t have to be limited to providing lessons or instructions. In my district, we often use Google Classroom to deliver professional development, training, materials, and resources. Google Classroom can be used by anyone to provide distance learning opportunities.
Creating a Google Classroom
Creating Google classrooms is easy and we can create as many classrooms as we want. I have created dozens of classrooms myself and know of others that have created more. I will assume this is your first Google Classroom and take you through this lesson from that perspective.
Go to https://classroom.google.com and log in with your account.
If you are already logged in, the site will prompt you to confirm the account to be used to access Google Classroom.
An arrow will point us to the Plus symbol in the menu.
The Plus button provides two options. We can join a classroom or create a classroom. Click the option to create a classroom.
The first time we create a classroom the system will inform us that Google offers G Suite for free to educational institutions. G Suite for education offers several very powerful tools for managing student accounts. Click the checkbox to show that you have read and acknowledge the message and click the continue button.
A Class setup box will display on the page. There are three items we can supply when creating a classroom. The only required information is the name of the class. The other information refers to the class section and subject. This information is optional.
In this example, we have a class for physical science in section 6.3. The third field allows us to include the subject for our class. In many cases, this subject is self-explanatory from the title of the class. If it is not, we can use the subject field for the class.
Google Classroom provides some recommended subjects based on what we type into the subject field. We can use one of the subjects or use our own.
Click the create button.
During the creation process, Google Classroom creates a folder in your Google Drive called Classroom.
Within the folder, we have folders that identify and contain the information, documents, media, and other resources for each class. The contents of this folder can only be viewed by the creator of the classroom. The contents of this folder also contain documents and resources related to those assignments.
When students join the class they also get a folder in their Google Drive called Classroom. Resources in the form of Docs, Sheets, Slides, PDF, and any other similar media is stored in their folders and viewable only by the individual student. Students can create Docs, Sheets, Slides or upload media which is then stored in this folder and subfolders. When this media is submitted in assignments a copy of the documents is sent to the teacher’s Classroom folder.
All of what goes on in this folder structure is not part of what teachers and student use when interacting with Google Classroom. This is the behind the scenes process for what takes place within Google Classroom. It’s important to know that these folders are here but we don’t need to interact with them to work with Google Classroom.
Basic Structure of a Google Class
A Google Class has three basic sections. These sections include Stream, Students, and About. The Stream section is where we create all the assignments that are part of our lessons. The Students section is where we see a list of students that have joined the class.
In the Student section, we can control some of the student’s behavior in the class and interact with students.
The About section is a resource area. In this section, we can provide resources that can be accessed at all times by students. These resources could include the classroom syllabus, classroom calendar, and any other resources students might need throughout the school year. This is an important section and one that not too many teachers take advantage of when using Google Classroom.
In next week’s blog post, we will take a look at creating an assignment in Google Classroom. You don’t have to wait until next week. Explore creating assignments by clicking the circle with the plus symbol in the middle. This circle is located in the lower right corner of the page.