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Google Classroom- Enhanced teaching and learning platform for 21st century

Google Classroom- Enhanced teaching and learning platform for 21st century

Published:19 October 2018

# Jayakumar K

How the thoughtful use of Google Classroom might lead to improved teaching
and learning outcomes. Here is a comprehensive guide to walk you through.

Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google for schools that aim to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students. 
How the thoughtful use of Google Classroom might lead to improved teaching and learning outcomes. Here is a comprehensive guide to walk you through. 

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

The concept of virtual learning environment (VLE) has begun early 1960; a virtual learning environment (VLE) in educational technology is a Web-based platform for the digital aspects of courses of study, usually within educational institutions. They present resources, activities and interactions within a course structure and provide for the different stages of assessment. VLEs also usually report on participation; and have some level of integration with other institutional systems. VLEs may have a de facto role as authoring and design environments. VLEs have been adopted by almost all higher education institutions in the English-speaking world.


A noted development in this sector during this period was UrbaPLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) system developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in a project led by Dr. Donald Bitzer during 1960, or simply called PLATO, Some rights to PLATO, including the trademark, are now owned by Edmentum (formerly PLATO Learning), which delivers managed course content over the Internet, it was considered to be first and effective internet based virtual learning environment.

The PLATO system featured multiple roles, including students, who could study assigned lessons and communicate with teachers through on-line notes, instructors, who could examine student progress data, as well as communicate and take lessons themselves, and authors, who could do all of the above, plus create new lessons.

Primarily this system was designed to creates an environment facilitate teachers' management of educational courses for their students, especially a system using computer hardware and software, which involves distance learning.

During 1970 The Havering Computer Managed Learning System was developed in London, England, by 1980 it had been used by over 10,000 students and 100 teachers in applications that included science technology, remedial mathematics, career guidance, and industrial training, and further there has been lot of innovative ideas and plans have been adopted and implemented by industry majors to make the platform perfect.

Google Classroom – the beginning

After continual study and research, May 2014 Google has announced Classroom as a new tool in Google Apps for Education, this online classroom that allows participants to communicate with one another, view presentations or videos, interact with other participants, and engage with resources in work groups. The very recent addition to virtual classroom supports mobile versions as well. This online learning management system for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments. It was officially introduced as a feature of Google Apps for Education in August, 2014.

A synchronous form of virtual classroom used for e-learning has been embraced by many organizations in their attempt to promote workforce learning while trying to cut travel time and costs associated with face to face instructor-led training.

Google Classroom is considered as one of the best platforms out there for enhancing teachers' workflow. "It provides a set of powerful features that make it an ideal tool to use with students. ‘Classroom helps teachers save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students. It is available to anyone with Google Apps for Education, a free suite of productivity tools including Gmail, Drive and Docs.

Since the launching of Google Classroom, exactly in six months, within such a short span of time, it has managed to host over 30 million assignments turned in by teachers and students that indicates that Google Classroom is being "widely endorsed within the education community .

2015 Google Classroom was meant to released a new version with the aim of helping teachers, manage the creation and collection of student assignments in a paperless environment, basically leveraging the framework of Google Docs, Drive and other Apps. Google classroom allows teachers to spend more time with their students and less time on the paperwork, and it is now even better.

Google's latest announcement brings new functionality to Google Classroom. Included in the new functionality is the ability to add more than one teacher, as well as to preparing for classes in advance as well.

  • Google Classroom can help students to keep their files more organized because all their work can be stored paperlessly in a single program
  • Faculty can more quickly identify which students may be struggling with their assignments due to the tracking mechanisms associated with assigned tasks.
  • Grading processes can be simplified because of the grading features associated with student submissions.

And early 2018 October Google announced the roll out of a whole new Google classroom suite of devices, and was also updating its tools for educators, it has been published in their official blog (https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/mobile-apps-mobile-teachers-classroom/) , by Classroom product manager Lisa Wang outlines a new system to encourage engagement from students in class. Student Selector is, essentially, a way to randomly select kids to answer a question rather than waiting for hands to go into the air, which is only currently available on Android devices, and it'll pick a kid for them to pick on. Teachers can then either ask them to speak up, ask the app to call on them later or mark them as absent if they're not in class that day. Wang says that the selector gives "all students a fair chance" to answer questions and keeps track of who isn't participating.

Teaching in the 21st century

Teaching in the 21st century does mean teaching 21st generation. It means helping and monitoring the students to learn and implement 21st century skill. So teachers must be very welcoming to such a new technology to ensure the best learning in the virtual classroom besides the physical classroom.

In foreign countries, majority of educational institutions have come to rely more heavily on digital platforms to structure the learning experiences of students, it is important to carefully consider how pedagogical practices need to change in order to capitalize upon these changes.

While implementing digital platforms its efficacy also to be analyzed based on geographical and technical disparities, and make sure that It can also encourage teacher educators to be self-reflexive and inquiry orientated about their use of technology and its impact on students. It’s mandatory that instructors should understand well about the before they are going to utilize the platform, but also in constructing meaningful learning experiences for students.

Pre measures

The major factors to be considered while implementing digital learning platforms, ensure the tools enabled could increase pace accessibility, which could foster collaboration agency and voice, finally that could leads to Quality Learning.

There are lots of tools, technologies, methodology and practices have been made available in the industry. Many tertiary institutions have embraced digital learning through the use of online learning platforms and social networks. However, the research about the efficacy of such platforms is in question sometimes, as is the field itself, in part because of the rapidly evolving technology, and also because of a lack of clarity about what constitutes a learning platform, here is the actual significance and need of an effective collaborative learning tool exists, where teachers, students and parents must be collaboratively integrated in a single frame-work where lectures, assignments, evaluation and grading features must be integrated and accessed in ease.

Market study

Based on educational market study and trends shows that there is a growing demand for Google Classroom, The data showed that Google Classroom increased student participation and learning and improved classroom dynamics. It also revealed concerns around pace and user experience.

Pace, ease of access, collaboration and student voice are the major components in Google classroom, Google classroom provides a vital chance to promote blended learning and professional development, this cloud-supported tools generate greater participation and interaction between students, teachers and parents in education, along with integrating Google Suites such as Drive, Docs, Forms and Slides would increase student agency and promote student voice by allowing all students opportunities to express their views in a productive way.

This platform has been proven to be very effective in asynchronous learning, blended learning, distributed learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) paradigm;

Google Suite of Educational Tools (GAFE)

Before implementing Google Classroom, one should be aware of the useful educational tools made by Google in order to support Google Classroom functionality, more precisely the collaborative use of respective tools could only be brining the right results. However, there is considerably less literature on the specific use of the Google Suite of educational tools (which is sometimes referred to as Google Apps for Education or GAFE). This is symptomatic of the challenges of studying online learning platforms, the nature of the learning platforms changes very rapidly, and research into the educational strengths and weaknesses of such tools are often well behind the deployment and uptake of these tools by educational institutions.

While using Google Class room, one should be aware of using the GAFE tools, which could enhance the effectiveness of Google Classroom practices, goes on to above tools several benefits that are specific to GAFE, including the ease in setting up to share information, the simplicity of assignment management and enhanced communication, using the GAFE product in teaching methods increases both the educator’s and student’s competency in using twenty-first century technology.

Teacher Educators as Researchers in the learning paradigm

They critically reflected on their use of Google Classroom and the Google Suite to determine what impact it had on student learning. In particular, they explored how the online tools enhanced student agency and voice, as well as the utility of such tools and the ways students used the tools to learn.

The concept of Google class room is rather different and its application is not limited to the four walls, it can even be linked with Universities, colleges, educational institutions, teachers, students, and even parents also. It would meet the students’ requests for a simpler, easier interface that allowed more interaction. Google Classroom along with GAFE will give a new dimension in teaching and learning. Its questioning capabilities helps students to present upon their learning, and then share that learning via the online platform.

In addition to the questioning tools available in Google Classroom, we can integrate a much wider range of GAFE tools based on our requirements, for example we can use Google Forms to create surveys and questionnaires (including to evaluate student use of the platform), Google Slides to share materials and enable student to contribute to the teaching and learning resources in real time. Google Drawing tools as part of GAFE could help to create mind maps with students and to help them to engage in critical thinking about key philosophical and ethical issues, which could help increase student engagement.

The Benefits and Challenges of the Google Suite

The use of Google Classroom and the other tools from the Google Suite was generally very well received by the students, unfortunately the studies shows that, in India, its usage is significantly very low because of educator’s lack of knowledge in the tool.

According to the market study and reports shows that in Europe and US Google Classroom changed the nature of the classroom in a positive fashion. Students liked that, it made the learning atmosphere more relaxed as it allowed them to interact dynamically with classroom content, but also more focused on the learning experiences. Students also valued the opportunity to use the learning tool at any time, not just in the classroom: Google Classroom enabled to work on the materials anytime. So all the discussion which ended during class could be kept discussed in Google Classroom as in the form of Student submission.

Accessibility and retrieval issues

Issues with accessibility also became apparent in some cases, which has been related to the responses which is related to the ‘stream’ or ‘feed’ based nature of Google Classroom. Messages, discussions and activities are posted in the Google Classroom stream, with the most recent messages appearing at the top, while older messages move further down the stream as new messages are added. This means that it can be harder to find older messages as more and more posts to the stream are made, which can necessitate a lot of scrolling for students and instructors, which is similar to that of posts that we have posted in Facebook, its harder to find the old messages.

Features of Google Classroom

Google Classroom is very simple to create and to use. Here all available features are integrated. Once a new course space is created, the instructor can see three tabs.

These are labeled as STREAM, CLASSWORK, and PEOPLE, In the CLASSWORK , on the bottom of the right side, we can see a plus sign.

If the instructor clicks on it, four different tabs will open named assignment, question, material, reuse post, along with a topic session can also be seen. A teacher can keep all files save in the Google Drive. He or she can grade, attach you tube or any link for instructional purpose. From Google Classroom, a teacher can send mail to all students at a time.

Benefits of Google Classroom

Easy to use: It is very easy to use. "Google Classroom’s design purposefully simplifies the instructional interface and options used for delivering and tracking assignments; communication with the entire course or individuals is also simplified through announcements, email, and push notifications.

Saves time: Google classroom is designed to save time. It integrates and automates the use of other Google apps, including docs, slides, and spreadsheets, the process of administering document distribution, grading, formative assessment, and feedback is simplified and streamlined.

Cloud-based: Google Classroom presents more professional and authentic technology to use in learning environment as Google apps represent "a significant portion of cloud-based enterprise communications tools used throughout the professional workforce.

Flexible: This app is easily accessible and useable to instructors and learners in both face-to-face learning environments and fully online environment. This enables educators to explore and influence "flipped instructional methods more easily as well as automate and organize the distribution and collection of assignments and communications in multiple instructional milieus.

Free: Google Classroom itself is not necessarily available to learners without access to an educational institution. But anyone can access to all the other apps, such as Drive, Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides, etc. simply by signing up for a Google account.

Mobile-friendly: Google Classroom is designed to be responsive. It is easy to use on any mobile device. "Mobile access to learning materials that are attractive and easy to interact with is critical in today’s web connected learning environments.

Google Classroom ensure streamline counseling only by posting an announcement, facilitates collaborative learning. Here teacher can upload materials and can give feedback to students .Students also can upload materials and make personal comment. Moreover, students can collaborate with each other. They can share their documents and assignment and thus they can produce the best assignment. Google classroom encourage collaboration between students.

For a successful implementation of Google Classroom both teacher and learners must have positive attitude towards technology for instructional purposes.

If done correctly we can systematically monitor Classroom activities, Active Student Participation, Frequency and Depth of Student Participation, Authentic Student Participation, assignments and its status, grading, parent’s involvement etc Its an easy to use and all-in-one solution, as teachers, we much preferred Google Classroom.

Google Classroom made this possible by enabling increased pace of content delivery and improved accessibility for all students in the class. The use of the learning platform was generally perceived to be a positive experience.


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