Ed Tech

10 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently

Google Classroom can be even more powerful with a few tips and strategies to make it efficient and effective.

Google Classroom can be even more powerful with a few tips and strategies to make it efficient and effective.

Google Classroom streamlines the management of student work — announcing, assigning, collecting, grading, giving feedback and returning. It has certainly saved many teachers hours of work.

Without a solid workflow and some strategy, grading digital work can be cumbersome. Google Classroom does make working with student work more efficient — but only if you understand how Classroom works and how to use it to your advantage.

Sometimes, a few quick tips can make all the difference.

Here are 10 tips to help you use Google Classroom more effectively and efficiently:

1. Use move to top to bring important older material back to students’ attention. This simple act bumps an assignment, announcement or question to the top of the class stream. Use this if students haven’t turned an assignment in OR if you want to remind them of an upcoming deadline.

email everyone2. Email everyone in a class in the “Students” tab. Once you click the “Students” tab, click the checkbox above all of your students to highlight everyone. Click “Actions” and “Email.” This is great for calling special attention to something you want to communicate to students OR for longer-form communication.

3. Use the right kind of comment. There are several kinds of comments you can leave students in Classroom. Knowing how each one works can make you more efficient and effective.

  • Adding class comments: Do this by adding a comment in your class stream on the “outside” of an assignment or announcement. This will make the comment visible to the entire class (important if it’s an answer to a question anyone might have).
  • Adding private comments: Do this by viewing student results and clicking on an individual student. On the right, where you can see student submissions, the comment bar at the bottom adds a comment that only the student can see (important if it has sensitive grade or feedback information).
  • Adding comments in a doc/slide/sheet/drawing: Do this by clicking on the student’s file that he/she submitted to you. Click the black speech bubble icon after highlighting something you’d like to comment on. This adds a a very pointed comment on specific items in student work (important to be very exact in feedback).

4. Use announcements to share “right now” links. Announcements put content in your classroom stream without creating an assignment students must turn in. Use them to give students important links, docs/files and videos they’ll need right now. (If it’s a resource they’ll need often, add that resource to the “About” tab instead.)

keyboard commands5. Use the keyboard instead of the mouse. Keyboard commands beat moving and clicking the mouse every time. The best one in Google Classroom: When entering grades, type the grade for a particular student’s assignment, then push the down key to get to the next student. Cycle through students with keystrokes instead of mouse clicks to save lots of time.

6. Reuse posts. Don’t recreate assignments, announcements or questions that are similar to those you’ve already created. Click the “+” button in the bottom right and select “reuse post.” Choose an assignment, announcement or question you’ve created before. You can modify and update it before you repost it.

  • When you reuse a post, you can even choose to create new copies of all the attachments you used before.

7. Grade everything in one place. Click the three lines button in the top left of Classroom and select “Work” at the top. Here, you’ll find all of the assignments for all of your classes in one place. Work your way down the list and get on top of everything in one spot.

8. Get email from Classroom the way you want. Do you spend too much time deleting email notifications from Classroom and wish you could turn them off? Click the three lines button in the top left of Classroom and choose “Settings” at the bottom. There’s a checkbox where you can turn off emial notifications. (Or if you have it turned off and wish you’d get emails, that’s where you turn them on!)

9. Get ideas from others. Educators that are already using Google Classroom hang out in lots of online communities where you can read their posts and ask questions. Here are some suggestions:

10. Get the features you really want in Classroom. Do you have a suggestion for a new Google Classroom feature? Is there something you can do but wish you could do it easier? This type of feedback is what the Google Classroom team craves from teachers. Click the “?” button in the bottom left of the screen and choose “Send Feedback.” According to the Google Classroom team member that talked to my Google Teacher Academy group in December 2014, someone from their team reads every single feedback item sent that way. It’s how they’ve made many of the important feature changes to Google Classroom. And the more popular a feature request, the more likely it’ll be implemented. So send feedback and send it often!

Looking for more? Here are some of my most popular Google Classroom posts:

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Click for full-sized infographic!

[reminder]What do you do to use Google Classroom more effectively and efficiently? We’d love to hear your ideas![/reminder]

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