Online learning can be a challenge, that’s something nearly everyone has grown to understand over the past few years.
Whether you are a teacher or a student, you’ll be aware of the number of online learning platforms that are available today.
We don’t always have time to go through and evaluate the different aspects of these and work out which ones would be beneficial for our needs.
Luckily, we have done the work for you. In this article, we are going to discuss the benefits of Google Classroom and how the platform works as a whole.
To give a complete picture, we have also included some of the negative aspects of the platform too.
What Is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is a free online learning platform created by Google that allows educational institutions to connect with their students via the internet.
It is an array of online tools that allow teachers and students to achieve everything they would in a real classroom.
There are over 150 million students and teachers around the world that currently use Classroom.
Who Is Google Classroom Designed For?
Anyone with a Google account can use their Classroom platform.
It’s not just schools that use tools available, non-profits, independent schools, home-schoolers, and families are all able to use Google Classroom.
The Benefits Of Using Google Classroom
Let’s jump into the number of benefits that come with using the standard version of Google Classroom:
It Can Be Accessed Anywhere
Google services allow you to log in from anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
This means learning has more flexibility and can adapt more easily into family life.
Family life and learning from home isn’t always easy, especially when parents have errands to run and appointments to make.
Using Google Classroom allows students to be more mobile and complete assignments or access their learning wherever they are.
Not every household has access to multiple devices at a time, so it’s really great that you can log-in to the classroom from anywhere such as a library or borrowed school device.
It’s Easy To Use
Even the least technically advanced teachers and students can learn to use Google Classroom.
As with many Google services, it is simple to use and clearly presented for user-friendly design.
User guides and helpful videos are available to help explain to any user how to access the features of the platform.
There are also a number of YouTube videos created by the public which may also be helpful.
There are also a number of accessibility tools that assist students with a diverse range of learning needs.
Everyone can be supported with Google Classroom, such as those with sensory or learning disabilities.
It Allows You To Collaborate
Online learning can be stressful, video calls where people are talking over each other and patchy internet signals that don’t load files properly.
With Google Classroom collaborative learning is made a whole lot easier.
The ability to access Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms means that students and teachers can easily utilize up to date resources.
Changes can be made quickly and in a timely manner, you don’t have to wait to edit and upload new versions of the same documents.
As there are options for many people to work on the same document with Google, students can work collaboratively between themselves on assignments and homework.
Other ways in which users can collaborate is via Gmail, Chat, and Google Meet.
Whether it’s a parent-teacher conference or a student asking a question to their teacher over chat, there are so many easy ways to effectively communicate with Google Classroom.
Combines Learning Tools In One Place
Having everything you need in one place is ideal for any work or learning environment.
It’s super annoying and time wasting to constantly be back and forth between a bunch of different tabs and platforms to do simple tasks.
Google Classroom allows all users to access their classes, assignments, grades, and any other information they may need in one handy place.
It also means you don’t have to remember a ton of different passwords!
Parents And Guardians Can Get Involved
As a parent, it’s natural to worry about how your child is getting on at school.
We all know how difficult it can be to get a straight answer or enough information out of a child too.
With Google Classroom, parents and guardians can receive email summaries of their child’s work.
Other benefits parents and guardians can expect are review announcements and notifications of their child’s activities.
This way you can always stay up to date with everything going on at school.
All the necessary learning materials and assignments are stored in cloud space which means no paper is needed.
Not only does this help the environment, it keeps all the relevant documents in Google Drive until they are needed.
Students therefore have access to everything they need and can’t complain about losing worksheets or not being able to find the work they missed due to being sick.
With everything in one place life becomes much easier for students and teachers!
Compatible With Third-Party Applications
There are a number of third-party educational apps that can be used in sync with Google Classroom.
Examples of apps that integrate with the platform include: BrainPop, Classcraft, Classtag, Flipgrid, Quizlet, Wakelet, WeVideo, and Edcite.
Using third-party options makes learning more fun and exciting for student’s and can help them understand content through different learning styles.
When it comes to data and privacy, we all want to know our information will be safe. This is important even more so when we’re talking about children.
There are a number of settings that can be altered to make sure if any data is threatened, such as users receiving real-time alerts to enable them to take quick action.
From teachers to students, everyone who uses Google Classroom are all equally protected with the built-in encryption and identity and access management.
Compliance with GDPR regulations are followed by Google, as well as privacy and security regulations.
If you’d like to read more about the ways in which Google helps to keep your data safe, then head over to the Google Classroom homepage.
It’s Always Being Updated
Luckily, Google is always working to give their users the best experience possible.
This means they are often updating their programs such as Google Classroom to add new features and fix any issues.
As a result, the features and tools mentioned in this article may not be exactly the same as the current versions.
Further guidance and information on the new features can always be found via Google’s related websites.
What About Paid Editions?
Qualifying institutions are able to access the standard version of Google Classroom for free.
However, there are other paid subscription options available that come with a wider range of tools and resources.
Along with the features of the standard version, this step-up provides users with more security features and analytics tools.
For example, threats can be prevented and detected with a more advanced Security Center.
There are a number of insights that you can track across the platform which means that audits can be performed on areas such as user behavior.
This subscription version will cost $3 per student, per year at the time of publishing.
With every four students subscribed, one staff member will receive a subscription for free.
Teaching And Learning Upgrade
The main difference between this version and previous versions of Google Classroom is the more extensive means of communication.
Google Meet allows for up to 250 participants to join in with classroom sessions, and live stream options can host up to 10,000 viewers which is ideal for college students.
Breakout rooms, interactive question and answer sessions and polls are also available for a more interactive classroom experience.
These features can make online learning a lot more interesting and enable students to really engage with the subject material.
Accessibility is also improved with this version of Classroom, live closed captioning, automatic transcriptions and recordings of Google Meet sessions are available here.
If students don’t already have adaptations for their disabilities then this can make their learning experience a lot easier.
As this version is for teaching staff or meeting hosts, these people will need individual licenses.
The final offering from Google Classroom is Education Plus, which is the most comprehensive package available.
The major benefits of this version is the increased security and analytics features as well as some fantastic learning tools.
Teachers can offer students writing and analysis assistance in Docs and Sheets, allowing them to work side-by-side for a real classroom experience.
With this package, up to 500 participants can connect via Google Meet and up to 100,000 viewers can participate in live streams.
School assemblies or large college classes are examples of where this will be beneficial.
The priority support offered with Education Plus is also a benefit of the package, as institutions will receive their own support team of education specialists to assist them with anything they need.
This package costs $5 per student per year at the time of writing this article.
For every four student subscriptions, one staff subscription is given to the institution for free.
Are There Any Negatives?
There are negatives to almost anything which we are going to highlight here to give the reader a fair evaluation of the platform.
You Need To Make An Education Account
Google Classroom doesn’t allow you to use your personal Gmail address to sign into classrooms.
Therefore you’ll have to make a new account, which can be frustrating for some.
This also means there are more passwords and things to remember. This isn’t a deal breaker, but something to be aware of.
Getting every student to sign up for an education account may take a while and be a frustrating experience for those in charge.
You Can’t Detect Cheating
Detecting cheating when students are learning online is extremely difficult.
Google Classroom relies on Forms for students to participate in their quizzes, therefore there is no way to detect if any cheating has taken place.
Some schools may wish to use third-party trackers or applications that may be able to detect cheating but there is currently nothing available from Google.
Conflict With In-Person Teaching
There are some conflicts between the actions that occur in the in-person classroom setting and the online classroom setting that don’t always match up.
For example, adding assignments that were handed in in person can’t always be uploaded to the platform, similarly if there are emails or pictures of the work sent to teachers this cannot always be added to the assignments tab and marked off as done.
The Bottom Line
Google Classroom is a great tool for those that need to undertake online learning.
There are free and paid versions of the platform that offer users more advanced features.
These are budget-friendly solutions and can offer students an easier way to learn online.
We hope you found this article interesting and informative, giving you all the information you need to start learning with Google Classroom.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Features Of Google Classroom?
There are many features of Google Classroom, the ones that are the most helpful to students and teachers alike might be considered to be the grading system, the setting of assignments, and the ability to have a virtual discussion.
What Type Of Learning Platform Is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is a blended learning platform.
This means that learning incorporates technology and digital media with more traditional teacher-led classroom tasks.
Blended learning can benefit students by giving them more flexibility with their learning and can be beneficial for some that don’t do well in a traditional classroom setting.