Google Classroom is Google’s attempt to pull all of its services together in a way that makes sense in schools. So far features are pretty minimal, but Google promises to add more functionality in the coming months.

In this guide we show you how to get Google Classroom ready for your teachers and students in the new term.

Step 1: How to enable Google Classroom

Classroom is enabled from the Google Apps Control Panel as you would any other Google App. If you’re on the rapid release schedule, and new products are set to release automatically, you’ll find that Google Classroom is already enabled for you. If not, you’ll have to manually enable it as you would any other Google App.

You can check which release schedule you’re on by going to Company Profile > Profile and viewing the New Use Features options:

Google Apps Rapid Release

If Classroom isn’t enabled you can allow access by going to Google Apps > Classroom and turning it on for the relevant users.


Step 2: Managing Google Classroom users

When your users first login to Google Classroom they’ll be asked if they’re a teacher or a student. Without careful management it’s very easy for a teacher to accidentally signup as a students and get locked out of being able to create classes, and likewise a student can feel the power that only a teacher has with the ability to set assignments for their peers. Luckily there’s a way to manage this.

When you enable Google Classroom a new Google Group called Classroom Teachers is automatically createdUsers claiming to be teachers when signing up are automatically added to this group. By going to Google Apps > Classsroom > General Settings you can tell Classroom how you want it to deal with users in this group. The options available are:

Option 1: Anyone in this domain

This allows all users regardless of status to create classes and assign work. This may be more suited to higher education where teaching structures are flatter.

Option 2: All pending and verified teachers

This option allows anyone to register as a teacher and create classes, but they are held as pending and have to be manually verified or denied access by an administrator through Groups.

Option 3: Verified teachers only

With this option set anyone can signup as a teacher, but they can only create classes once their account has been verified by an administrator. You can set this option and populate this group manually with your teacher accounts to get everyone set up straight away.

Tip: Turning students into teachers

A few people have emailed me with an issue where a teacher has accidentally signed up to Classroom as a student and want to know how to switch them back. The easiest way to do it is to make sure the teacher is listed in the Classroom Teacher group. Anyone in this group will be given teacher access. Simple!

Wrap up

And that’s all there is to getting set up with Google Classroom. It would be nice to see a few more configurable options available, but I’m sure those will come with time. Let me know how you’re getting on with classroom in your school, and if you’ve got any good Google Classroom tips share them in the comments!


About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

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