Technology makes learning possible anytime, anywhere. Learners aren’t always sitting in a classroom, and educators aren’t always lecturing at a chalkboard. That’s why last month we made Google Classroom available to users without G Suite for Education accounts. Now, using a personal Google account, teachers and learners in many different settings can teach or attend classes, manage assignments, and instantly collaborate.
Starting today, users can do more than join classes—they can create them, too. Over the past few weeks, teachers and students have been piloting this new feature, and they’ve already created some great new classes for adult education, hobbies, and after school programs. Below we’ll share some of these classes with you.
Teaching virtual adult education classes
On March 27th, educator Tony Vincent tweeted an invitation for a free online class teaching graphic design with Google Drawings. He quickly enrolled 75 enthusiastic educators across the U.S., Australia, Greece, and South Africa. Every week during the six-week class, Vincent would post instructional videos to Classroom. Then students would have a week to post their assignments, so they could get feedback from Vincent and other students. “I didn’t want to just publish a video tutorial and never see the end results. So when I heard that Google Classroom was open for personal accounts, I thought it would be a great place to gather a group of educators to learn, create, and share.”
For Vincent, topics has been a key feature. “For a self-paced class like mine,” he says, “I really like the ability to use topics to label announcements, assignments, and questions. This feature will also be incredibly useful after the class concludes as I’ll be able to navigate the archive of posted work, questions, ideas, and inspiration.”
In addition, Vincent likes how he can use Classroom to email students weekly summaries and reminders, and how he can refer students to previous posts, because every announcement, assignment, and question in Google Classroom has its own link. “I’m having a blast teaching in Google Classroom,” he says. “I’m seeing enlightening interactions and generous sharing from the educators who make up the class. I truly look forward to checking in on my class several times a day.”
Running after school programs
Linda Scarth, an elementary school STEM teacher, used Classroom in a Girl Scouts robotics club for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Dubbed the “Turtle Scouts,” the group meets in person once a week. Scarth was inspired to use Classroom when her group found it hard to share ideas and YouTube videos over email. “We needed a better way to share and access resources and to comment and share ideas based on them. And with Classroom, the girls are able to share videos, build ideas, and work collaboratively.” she said. “It really helps facilitate the work we are doing at our meetings and between them too!”
Managing school groups
Brazilian student Khin Baptista and his classmates at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) created a school club called GameDev Society UFRGS that hosts weekly discussions on topics such as design, art, and programming.
Baptista found Classroom when he was looking for an online tool to manage his growing group. “We have limited space available for our group meetings, but we have many more people interested in our activities. Google Classroom allows us to enroll participants who can easily access all the same resources we use in our meetings and get in touch with us and other group members,” he says.
The group is now using Classroom to inform members about upcoming lectures, share resources, and manage weekly tasks and assignments. They use the comments section of posts to help members with any questions they may have. After using Classroom for just a few weeks, Baptista says, “Its usability is amazing and we like how well integrated the web and mobile versions are. It’s already very promising and seems like a perfect fit for us.”
Whether you’re an adult educator like Tony Vincent, a group leader like Khin Baptista, a teacher like Linda Scarth who’s using Classroom for extracurricular activities — or you’re using Classroom in other creative ways, we’d love to hear your stories. You can submit them through this Google Form. And, as always, if you have further questions, check out our FAQ to learn more about these changes.