Google Classroom Explained

Google Classroom Explained

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Google Classroom is one of Google for Education's newest products and it has received rave reviews from many educators. It is a learning management system that allows you to digitally create and manage assignments as well as to provide feedback to your students. Google Classroom works particularly with Google Apps for Education, a suite of productivity tools (Drive, Docs, Gmail, etc) that you may already use in your school.​

Google Classroom is beneficial for both novice and advanced users of Google Apps for Education. It is has a simple, easy-to-navigate interface that appeals to many teachers. If you are already pretty adept at using Docs and Google Drive folders to manage student work, you may be surprised to find that Google Classroom makes this process even easier for you.

Google Classroom has evolved considerably since its debut last summer. New features seem to be added all the time, so stay tuned for future improvements!

View this short introductory video from Google and this presentation by Heather Breedlove in order to familiarize yourself with Google Classroom.

Important Links for Future Reference

Here are four links that you'll want to keep handy for future reference:

Step 1: Log in to Google Classroom

Go to //

  1. Make sure you are logged in with your Google Apps for Education account. If you are using your personal Google account or are at a school that does not use GAFE, you will not be able to use Classroom.
  2. You should see your Google Classroom Home. Below is a picture of my homepage with annotations to explain different features.
  3. Click on the + sign to create your first class. Create one for an existing class or a practice one for purposes of this tutorial.

Step 2: Create a Class

Do the following practice activities. Notice that there are three tabs in a class: Stream, Students, and About. These support materials will help you with this step.

  1. Select the About tab. Fill in basic information about your class. Notice that there is a folder in YOUR Google Drive that will contain files related to this class.
  2. Click on the Students tab and add a student or two (perhaps a colleague who will serve as a guinea pig for this experiment). Make sure to indicate what permissions you want these "students" to have in relation to posting and commenting.
  3. And/or, give the class code posted in the Student tab to a student or colleague for practice. This code is also available on your Stream tab.
  4. Go to your Stream tab. Share an announcement with your class. Notice how you can attach a file, a document from Google Drive, a YouTube video or a link to another resource.
  5. Staying in your Stream tab, create a mock assignment for this class. Fill in the title, description, and give it a due date. Attach any resources and assign the assignment to students enrolled in this class.

Step 3: Monitor Student Assignments

Here is information on grading and returning assignments. 

  1. On your Stream tab, you should now see your assignments in the left-hand corner under the heading Upcoming Assignments. Click on one of your assignments.
  2. This will lead to a page where you can see students' status in terms of work completion. This is called the student work page. For an assignment to have been marked complete, the student will need to turn it into their Google Classroom account.
  3. Note that you can assign grades and points. Click on a student and you can send them a private comment.
  4. If you check the box next to a student's name, you can email the student or students.
  5. If a student has submitted work, you can then grade it and return it to the student.
  6. To see all student work at the same time, you need to click Folder at the top of the Student Work page. This Folder link will be grayed out until students have turned in work.

Step 4: Try Classroom From the Student Perspective

Specific student help is available here.

  • Ask a colleague to invite you to their practice class and to create an assignment for that class.
  • Pretend to turn in the assignment.
  • Have your colleague grade this assignment and return it to you.

Step 5: Consider Creative Uses of Google Classroom

How could we use Google Classroom in innovative ways?

  • To house professional development materials.
  • To deliver digital citizenship curriculum.
  • To manage departmental activities, meetings, and projects.

Step 6: Download the iPad App and Repeat the Previous Activities

How does the Google Classroom experience on the iPad differs from the web experience? Any features that are unique to the app perspective? Discuss your findings with your colleagues and share your preferred method of using Google Classroom.

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