10 ways Google is making Classroom and Forms easier for teachers this school year

Today, Google is excited to announce 10 updates to Google Classroom and Google Forms designed to make teachers’ lives easier this school year.

We’ve seen educators do incredible things with G Suite for Education tools: creatively teach classroom material, collaborate with students, and design innovative assignments to achieve meaningful outcomes. Classroom is a useful tool for teachers, and since it launched three years ago, students have submitted more than 1 billion assignments.

This year, we’re sending teachers back to school with updates designed to help them do what they do best—teach. Today, we’re announcing 10 updates to Google Classroom and Google Forms to help teachers save time and stay organized.

1. Single view of student work: To help teachers track individual student progress, we’ve created a dedicated page for each student in Classroom that shows all of their work in a class. With this new view, teachers and students can see the status of every assignment, and can use filters to see assigned work, missing work, or returned and graded work. Teachers and students can use this information to make personalized learning decisions that help students set goals and build skills that will serve them in the future.

2. Reorder classes: Teachers can now order their classes to organize them based on daily schedule, workload priorities or however will help them keep organized throughout the school year. And students can use this feature too. “For teachers and students, organization is important, and being able to reorder class cards allows us to keep our classes organized in a simple and personalized way,” notes Ross Berman, a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. “Students can move classes around so that the first thing they see is the class they know they have work for coming up.”

G Suite for Education-Reorder Class Cards.

3. Decimal grading: As teachers know, grading is often more complicated than a simple point value. To be as accurate with feedback as possible, educators can now use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.

G Suite for Education-Decimal Grading.

4. Transfer class ownership: Things can change a lot over the summer, including who’s teaching which class. Now, admins and teachers can transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes to other teachers, without the need to recreate the class. The new class owner can get up to speed quickly with a complete view of past student work and resources in Drive. 

G Suite for Education-Transfer Class Ownership.

        

5. Add student profile picture on mobile: Today’s students log a lot of hours on their phones. Soon, students will be able to make changes to their Classroom mobile profiles directly from their mobile devices too, including changing their profile picture from the Google Classroom mobile app. Ready the selfies!

6. Provision classes with School Directory Sync: Google School Directory Sync now supports syncing Google Classroom classes from your student or management information system using IMS OneRoster CSV Admins can save teachers and students time by handling class setup before the opening bell.

7. New Classroom integrations: Apps that integrate with Classroom offer educators a seamless experience, and allow them to easily share information between Classroom and other tools they love. Please welcome the newest A+ apps to the #withClassroom family: Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and coming soon, org.

8. Display class code: Joining Google Classroom classes is easier than ever thanks to this new update. Teachers can now display their class code in full screen so students can quickly join new classes.

9. Sneak Peak! Import Quizzes in Google Forms scores into Classroom: Using Quizzes in Google Forms allows educators to take real-time assessments of students’ understanding of a topic. Soon, teachers will be able to import grades from Quizzes directly into Google Classroom.

10. Add feedback in question-by-question grading in Quizzes: More than test grades, meaningful feedback can improve learning. At ISTE this year, we launched question-by-question grading in Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers save time by batch grading assessments. We’re taking it one step further and now, teachers will have the option to add feedback as well.

As educators head back to school, we want our newest Classroom teachers to get the most out of their experience. In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching a new resource hub to help teachers get set up on their first day of Classroom. If you’re already a Classroom pro, help your fellow teachers by sharing your favorite Classroom tips, tricks, resources and tutorials on social media using the hashtag #FirstDayofClassroom. Stay tuned on Twitter this Back to School season for more.

From all of us here at Google, we wish you a successful start to the school year! We hope these Google Classroom and Forms updates help you save time, stay organized and most importantly, teach effectively during back to school and beyond.

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Is this the new class every student should take?

With the high-school graduation season over, it’s time for grads and parents alike to celebrate and relax a bit – and maybe enjoy a long summer before recently minted graduates start college or a new job.

But here is something to contemplate (hopefully not too strenuously) over the coming summer weeks and months: What is the next learning step in the graduate’s preparation for a future career?

Whether a recent graduate plans to study 18th Century English literature in college or jump right into the workforce in any number of jobs, I have a one-word suggestion for them: Data.

Specifically, start learning about the analysis of data.

As seemingly odd as that might sound – perhaps even odder than the elder gentleman who recommends “plastics” to the young Dustin Hoffman character in the classic movie “The Graduate” – the simple fact is that our lives and careers, moving forward, will be increasingly influenced and determined by data analytics in just about every field, from what consumer products we buy to the type of medical treatments our doctors prescribe.

The data analytics era is already here. We see it every time we surf the web and those same pesky advertisements keep following us around, from site to site, no matter how much we try to lose them. Those ads are the result of data-analytic computations by Google and others designed to specifically figure out, mathematically, our consumer interests based on past purchases and web browsing histories.

As ubiquitous as this type of data analytics may already seem, we haven’t seen nothing yet, as they say, and it’s going to change the way we live and work. This data revolution is, ultimately and obviously, the result of the huge leap in recent decades in computer technology and the reams of data generated and collected by corporations, academic and public policy researchers and others.

But it’s only been recently that many have started to ask: What do we do with all this data, and how do we do it? In a nutshell, data analytics is about humans telling computers, via computer coding, what they want so that computers can tell humans what they want – and what they may well need.

And this means that humans – especially those young ones just starting out in their careers – need to learn how computers “think,” or, more accurately, how they’re coded to make computations that impact our lives.

(Next page: The need for Data Analytics 101)

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Differentiation, individualization and personalization: What they mean, and where they’re headed

Throughout the education sector, we hear a lot about “differentiation,” “individualization” and “personalization.” But what do these terms really mean, and how are they different?

At their core, they all deal with a similar overarching concept: customizing students’ learning experiences to address their particular learning needs.

Customization is incredibly powerful, and educators have long understood that custom-tailored lessons can drive student success more effectively than virtually anything else. But as the degree of customization increases, so too does the complexity of implementation – it’s no small feat for a single teacher to deliver perfectly customized lessons for a class of 30 students.

In response to this challenge, educators have been using a variety of approaches, including: differentiation, individualization and personalization, all of which can scale in terms of complexity.

These are not new concepts; in fact, various forms of differentiation in the classroom have been around since  the 1960s, and individualization and personalization also have been used for some time. Today, with technology, educators now have new opportunities to broaden their use of these methods to reach more students than ever before.

I’ll elaborate on the power of personalization and the role of technology in a moment, but first, let’s define these three distinct terms.

Differentiation, Individualization and – Most Importantly – Personalization

Differentiation: Differentiation has been a common fixture in classrooms for decades and is designed to address the needs of all students, who may be at varying levels, within a single classroom. In a differentiated learning environment, students are organized into groups based on proficiency on a particular topic – for example, an elementary school classroom might be divided into an advanced reading group, an intermediate reading group and a developmental reading group.

The teacher drives instruction and adjusts lessons that are best suited for each particular group.

Differentiation doesn’t customize the learning experience for each student, but it does help ensure that groups of students, at different levels, receive lessons that are  geared toward their particular abilities.

Individualization: In an individualized learning scenario, the teacher still drives instruction – but, unlike differentiation, an individualized lesson is designed to accommodate the particular needs for an individual learner, rather than a group.

Perhaps the best-known examples of individualization are the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that many schools use to address the needs of special education students. The fact that most schools implement IEPs for only a relatively small portion of their students reflects both the advantages and the shortcomings of the individualization format – while it’s highly effective, it’s also relatively resource-intensive.

(Next page: Personalization and technology)

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