It’s only been around for a few months but Google Classroom has already had a big impact on schools. Today the company released 5 updates to help teachers better manage their classes.

Classroom launched this summer and has been a big hit with teachers, but it isn’t without its flaws. There have been problems managing groups of students, stopping spam posts filling up Classroom streams, and recording grades in a useful way. Today Google fixes 5 problems that have been causing teachers issues.

Stop students spamming Classroom streams

First up, Google now lets teachers control students posting and commenting on the Classroom stream. Previously students could quite happily post anything to their peers without moderation, now teachers can choose what they want students to be able to post.

Open a class and under the students tab you now have three new options:

  • Students can post and comment
  • Students can only comment
  • Only teacher can post or comment

student-comments

Use groups to assign students to a class

classroom-groupsAccording to Google you can now use Google Groups to assign students to a class, but I have to admit I’m still a little confused. When inviting students to a class you can browse your personal contacts and users and groups within your domain. However, if you try to add a group to the class it causes an error. But if you try to add the same Google Group from the groups tab it does work — sometimes. I’ve spoken to Google about this and they claim they are aware of the issue, but this latest update only seems to complicate the process without resolving the original problem.

Take a look in the Groups tab and let me know how you get on.

Mark assignments as “Done”

mark-as-doneThere are some assignments which don’t need work handing in,  for this Google has implemented the “Done” button. Let’s say you ask your students to read a particular chapter in a book, once they have finished they can simply click “Done” and you’ll know they have completed the task — or at least hope they have!

Export assignment grades

You can now export all grades for all assignments to a single CSV file. You can then import the data into a gradebook or create a report in Google Sheets or Excel.

It’s great to see Google actively supporting Classroom and continuing to add new features. While there are still a few bugs and a plethora of features I’d like to see Google is showing strong support for the web app with the most potential to change the way students learn.

Google says:

We hope that these updates make Classroom even more efficient and effective to use with your students. We’ll be making regular updates throughout the year, so keep submitting feedback and stay tuned.

Source: Google for Work Blog

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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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