Google Classroom, part one

Thanks in large part to a couple of presentations I’ve seen at conferences and district PD days, I decided to start using Google Classroom with my music technology class this semester. This series will track the successes and struggles of using Google Classroom, and hopefully offer some insight into the process for others considering adopting it.

Why Google Classroom?

My district is in its third year using Google Apps for Education, and Google Classroom (GC) seemed like a more logical choice for my music tech class than Edmodo. We’ve been using Edmodo for two and a half years now, and while it’s definitely a great product, GC seemed like an attractive option because of its simplicity and the fact that a student could potentially access materials for all their classes in the same place.

The initial setup

There are two options for getting students into your classroom. First, GC produces a unique code for each classroom. Students can log into their school account, head to GC, and enter that code to join the classroom. The other option is to log into your teacher account, and invite each student on your roster via email (this is the option I chose). This is a little time consuming up front, but it allows you to see which students have not read their invitations, which means you can always give those students a reminder or help walk them through the signup process.

The first assignment

Our first assignment was a simple one. Students had to create a brief ABA composition using Incredibox. When they finish recording, Incredibox spits out a link to their recording that can be shared.

On the teacher’s end, you can create an assignment right in your GC feed. You can attach a Google Doc, YouTube Video, link, or file to this assignment. Each student will see this assignment in their own feed, and will click on it to submit their assignment.

Once the student goes to submit their assignment, they have the option of attaching a link, Doc, or file before they click “turn in”. It was a relatively simple process for them to add a link to their Incredibox project and turn in the assignment. And I could open up the assignment in GC and see how many people were finished, which helps with scheduling and planning.

Grading and feedback are equally simple. If a student needs to revise their project, you can make comments and “return” the assignment without entering a grade. The student then has the opportunity make edits and resubmit. No matter how many times a student submits a project, you will only see their most recent submission, which cuts down on clutter.

First impressions

I’m really impressed by how simple and easy it was to get GC up and running for my class. Feedback and organization on the first assignment was great. The next test will be seeing how GC handles large MP3 files with our next project.