Monday, August 25, 2014

Classroom Notes & Tips for Getting Started....

Here are some quick 'tips' for managing and using Classroom. Please note that there will be changes in classroom in the future so some of the things you are noticing or wishing for are being worked on.  This post is based on classroom as of today, August 25, 2014! :)

Don't Delete the Classroom Group

Admins Beware ~ Do NOT delete the group in the admin panel for teachers.  Several have done this and it there is no easy fix.  You need this group so that teachers can create classrooms.

ReNaming a Class

Once you create a class in classroom it will create a Classroom folder in your Drive and a folder inside that with the name of your class.  Students will have the same setup.  If you 'rename' your class, it will not 'rename' the class folder in Drive (for now).

Using Forms

Yes you can post your 'Getting to Know You Survey's in Classroom.'  You may want to post it as a link in your About Page, this way when new students arrive you can refer them to that easily without them having to scroll down the Stream to find it.

Using the About Page

The About Page is a great place to post all your related course resources ~ Link to your website, add your syllabus, Getting to Know You Survey, portfolio or project site templates and more.  For the creative folks, if you have not already done so, consider creating a 'course trailer' and post to you Tube.  Then you can add that as well!  As of today you cannot sort or move around what you post on the About Page but I have found that you can create one post for Course Resources and add everything to that one post (as an 'option' for now).

Assigning to more than one Classroom 
If you have several classrooms set up for the same course (example Biology Period 1, Biology Period 4), you can assign to all of the classrooms at the same time.  Be sure to do this when you create the assignment as that option doesn't exist if you forget to do this and go into 'edit.'  (again, I see this changing).

Comment Stream ~ Icebreaker/prompt
Starting a new topic or unit?  Post a related YouTube video in the comment stream and post a question / prompt to get students thinking and provide some schema. 

Classroom as a Solution
Many seasoned Google for Education users are quick to note the 'flaws' in Classroom and 'want more.'  Just know that the feedback being provided is being monitored and you can expect 'upgrades' in the future.  

Classroom is an excellent workflow solution, especially for teachers that have had a difficult time managing sharing and accessing documents in Drive.  Please show them 

a.  How to set up Class
b.  How to 'push' a document out to each student.
c.  How to access those documents once students begin to work on them.
d.  How students submit them.
e.  How they grade and return the assignment.

Focus on getting a consistent use of Google Documents (show the research tool and easy bib add on for research projects).  

With classroom, the ease of assigning, providing formative assessment and feedback as well as a final grade is great!  

Also, consider placing all assignment instructions on the document you push out to students and tell them to simply delete the instructions as they no longer need them and build their document.  This way they work within only one document.  You can consider showing them page break (to move the directions to the last page) or revision history (to restore the directions if they need to review).

If you focus on what you CAN do with classroom you will have plenty to do with your students while those additional features are being developed!  

Here is a quick video I created that explains the newer features and demos the workflow in Classroom:  

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