by TeachThought Staff
At TeachThought, while we love Apple’s products, app ecology, and general aesthetic, we tend towards recommending Google for most classrooms. Though they’re not mutually exclusive, rare is the classroom that has the budget for Chromebooks and iPads. 1:1 is rare; 2:1 is rarer still.
Google Classroom is the result of Google bundling Google Calendar, Google Drive, Gmail, and other services into something simpler for teachers to use. We recently shared 60 ways to use google classroom, and it’s likely we’ll need to follow that post up with an updated version as Google continues to iterate their academic side.
Will Phan, a Google Classroom Software Engineer, released a blog post that reviewed some new changes to Google Classroom for the 2015-2016 school year, which excerpted from for the post below.
7 Changes To Google Classroom
1. Post Questions
Phan explains, “You can post questions to your class and allow students to have discussions by responding to each other’s answers (or not, depending on the setting you choose). For example, you could post a video and ask students to answer a question about it, or post an article and ask them to write a paragraph in response.”
2. Reuse Assignments
If you reuse curricula year after year–or at least reuse documents, there is an update you might like. Phan explains, “Now you can reuse assignments, announcements or questions from any one of your classes — or any class you co-teach, whether it’s from last year or last week. Once you choose what you’d like to copy, you’ll also be able to make changes before you post or assign it.”
3. Improved Calendar Integration
We love changes that improve workflow. Phan: “In the next month, Classroom will automatically create a calendar for each of your classes in Google Calendar. All assignments with a due date will be automatically added to your class calendar and kept up to date. You’ll be able to view your calendar from within Classroom or on Google Calendar, where you can manually add class events like field trips or guest speakers.”
4. Bump a post
Sticking posts on blogs, tweets, or facebook updates has long been a thing. Now you can do it on Google Classroom as well by moving any post to the top.
5. Due dates optional
Project-based learning, Self-directed learning? Maker ed? If you use long-term projects or other due-date-less assignments, you can now create assignments without due dates in Google Classroom.
6. Attach a Google Form to a post
If you’re a fan of Google Forms (here’s a post on using Google Forms to create a self-graded exam), this is a change you’ll appreciate. Phan explains, “Many teachers have been using Google Forms as an easy way to assign a test, quiz or survey to the class. Coming in the next few weeks, teachers and students will soon be able to attach Google Forms from Drive to posts and assignments, and get a link in Classroom to easily view the answers.”
7. YouTube Functionality
Love YouTube, but concerned with objectionable content? Google hears you. “Because it also contains content that an organization or school might not consider acceptable, last month we launched advanced YouTube settings for all Google Apps domains as an Additional Service. These settings give Apps admins the ability to restrict the YouTube videos viewable for signed-in users, as well as signed-out users on networks managed by the admin. Learn more here.”
You can read more over at the Official Google For Education Blog.