Google Classroom: the ultimate guide for parents and teachers

What are the features of Google Classroom for teachers, students, and parents or guardians of kids? Here's a list of the main features

Schools of all grades have been closed for more than a month now. The health emergency linked to Covid-19 has left at home teachers and students who, in the meantime, have organized themselves to continue teaching at a distance: the solutions adopted are really many, but there is a tool that has proved more useful than others.

We are talking about Google Classroom, the platform created by the Mountain View giant in 2014. In recent years, already many schools have taken advantage of the features of this free service available to those who have a Google account. Thanks to this program, it is possible to follow lessons, assign school assignments and, above all, share files of all kinds, setting goals and results to be achieved. This is a system full of opportunities, which allows institutions to effectively manage education even remotely. But what are the ways to best use Google Classroom? Here is a definitive guide for parents, students and teachers.

What is Google Classroom and differences between student and teacher interface

Google Classroom provides solutions for distance learning, thanks also to the support of G Suite applications such as Google Drive, Docs and Meet. To access you need to connect to the platform and log in to G Suite. Alternatively, you can install the Google Classroom app on Android and iOS devices. Of course, student and teacher interfaces have different features.

The main teacher screen shows all the existing projects for different classes. Just click on a particular project and view the details.

After logging in, you can choose an item from the main menu on the top bar of the page, which brings up three items: Stream, Coursework (Classwork in English) and Information. Stream allows teachers to manage topics and add new ones; students can view active projects and all assignments completed.

Inside the Classwork page are all assigned assignments. The teacher also adds the due date for the assignment: the work can be completed, in progress or not done. Teachers have the complete list of assignments and by clicking on each one the names of the students and their progress appear. Course participants can keep track of their assignments and those still to be completed, as well as any corrections and notices from the professor.

G Suite: What apps could be useful to students?

There are many possibilities offered by Google, so the advice for professors is to coordinate with their students to choose which apps and platforms to use to complete assignments or send other necessary materials. In most cases, it will be necessary to use Gmail, Google Drive, Sheets, Presentations or Documents, but it could also be useful to rely on Google Meet for videoconferencing lessons. G Suite also offers the possibility of establishing deadlines and appointments through Google Calendar or making virtual post-its through Google Keep.

Students: managing assignments and working offline

Another quality of Google Classroom is the possibility of working even when you're not connected with certain apps like Documents, Sheets or Presentations. Managing offline files is very simple: just go to Settings and then select the item that allows you to manage recent files offline. This is also possible in Google Drive by enabling the checkbox next to Offline in Settings.

Naturally, students need to manage assignments quickly and intuitively. Classroom from this point of view offers an excellent user experience. To create a new assignment just go to the main menu and then click on Coursework. After selecting the assignment created by the teacher you can click the "+ Add or Create" item to produce the document. You can choose the application to use based on the teacher's request and produce the assignment. When finished, it will be added to the completed tasks and can be viewed by the teacher. Next to each assignment, the teacher also enters the deadline so that you can keep track of the deliverables. In fact, the app is able to report any delays.

For parents: how to check their children's work

The last interesting feature is designed for all parents who want to check their children's educational work through Classroom. Updates are sent via email periodically and include information about the class, work done and work still in progress. Only the teacher or administrator of an account can put parents' emails on the list, which functions as a kind of newsletter. In addition to creating this list, the teacher will also need to enable it to take effect.