Using Google Classroom During A Pandemic

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Google Classroom


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How can teachers make their work easier?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear to me that some schools have been unprepared for online learning, whilst others have seen online notifications reach unprecedented levels…

I have been involved in managing ICT networks across large secondary schools since 2007, supporting IT infrastructure, the deployment of devices as well as selecting and procuring hardware and software with very large budgets. If you want a laugh, you can see me in action in this Teachers TV video from 2010, or jump straight to the footer and download my latest resource.

Managing teaching and learning

Of all the technology solutions I have used within education, Google Classroom has had the most dramatic impact on teaching and learning from the very moment I’ve seen GSuite used in my schools (and others). After the initial teething issues you would see from using any new software or hardware, within a matter of weeks the school leaders around me, the teachers and pupils started to see significant benefits from using Google Classroom. The most powerful thing about using Google Classroom is the ability to collaborate together on a single document. It’s the perfect solution, offering the capability to complete synchronous and asynchronous work.

With the usual ICT Tools for the Classroom on offer, the ability to project slides, documents, sticky notes and videos through a projector, one child’s piece of work can be shared with other pupils. Having the software as well as the hardware to bring learning to life is perfect for amplifying student voice. Teachers can track student progress and know very quickly where and when to give extra feedback.

Advice for schools

Beginners Guide to Google Classroom for Classroom TeachersIf I can offer key pieces of advice before rolling out GSuite across a school, find the early adopters who can train others teachers and support staff in smaller groups (beginners, intermediate and advanced), rather than a one size fits all training session. I would recommend that your computer science department spends one or two lessons teaching pupils the basics to help them get up to speed. During a pandemic, this isn’t possible, but this should be a routine procedure in all schools, generally. Finally,  update your IT and email policy and consider notification overload to support teacher workload.

Google provides endless resources, training and support and it is easy to get lost. Apart from signposting the most obvious sources within Google, I thought it would be best to share best practice tips and tricks from other online sources.

Resources for teachers

Google also provides a wealth of curriculum ideas, lesson plans, activities and teacher resources, as well as apps that work with Google Classroom. Some of the things that caught my eye include:

  1. What to do when the internet stops working?
  2. Coding certificates
  3. BrainPOP – curriculum-aligned animations
  4. Khan Academy – self-paced learning
  5. Plagiarism Check – for writing assignments.
  6. Book Widgets – move from paper to online tests
  7. I have also listed 46 ideas: How to Teach Online (50K readers)

I could go on listing many more resources, yet writing this during a global pandemic, I can safely say that Google Classroom (to date) has been timeless for supporting pupils and teachers. At this time, it is probably more important than ever and depending on where your school is with online learning, I hope this PDF guide helps you either get started, to help control notification overload.

Google Classroom can transform your teaching and learning culture across the school, engages your students and supports better teaching.

2 thoughts on “Using Google Classroom During A Pandemic

  1. Thanks Ross, a timely reminder of the sheer scale and quality of G Suite tools. Arriving shortly are a range of addional services, such as inviting classes to videoconference (Meet) within Classroom as well as inviting classes via Calendar.
    Italy has just enrolled its entire education and university system into GSuite and Classroom, real evidence of Google’s ability to work at scale.

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