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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Google Classroom Vs Canvas

Google Classroom Vs Canvas: Which is Best for you?

Are you stuck between these two software platforms? If you are then this article is going to be perfect for you.

In this article we cover both of these software platforms so that you can get a better idea of what you need and what you should consider. 

So, without further ado, let us dive right in and know which is better from Google Classroom Vs Canvas!

Let’s Talk About Google Classroom And Canvas Features

Both of these programs have unique features. The focuses that they have are tailored to their target audience. 

Google Classroom is a very accessible option as it is both user-friendly and it can be quite pricey.

The fact that this program is easy to use makes it more accessible for students that are younger and working remotely.

It is also suitable for those of you that need a program like this for in person situations. For example, if you wanted to work independently in the classroom. 

This product is free to use for schools which is why it is so often sued by institutions like this.

Especially schools that do not have a large budget, or if you have an additional administrative or IT overhead. 

Canvas will better suit people that are focused on an administrative higher education need. It is brilliant for managing documents.

This means that you will be creating assignments and managing all your faculties. 

The fact that you are able to do this makes Canvas more appealing to places that are more focused on higher education institutions.

As it is better suited to having a ton of course content. On top of all that it also has a robust gradebook which you can use for managing and scaling things up or down with larger universities.

Below we have listed several of the main features that this software offers. So, without further ado let us dive right in and take a look:

Assignments

This product has an assignments features which allows teachers to create assignments using learning materials.

So you can put things up from YouTube, Google Form Surveys, PDS, and anything else you might need to make well researched assignments. 

Customizable Grading System

This product has features that allow teachers to choose a grading system as well as creating grade categories.

They also have the option to make grades accessible to their students. This feature allows you to choose from any of the following systems: 

  • Total Points Grading
  • Weighted by Category Grading
  • No Overall Grade

Virtual Discussions

Google Classroom Vs Canvas

This feature allows teachers to invite students to virtual discussions which then allows their students to answer any questions or have two-way discussions with their teacher.

Announcements

With this software, this software will be able to update students by way of announcements. These announcements can be shown as posts with no assignments.

They can be any notices that students might need to see. Deadlines, tests, classwork, or anything else that they might need. 

Live Classes

This software has a feature that will allow teachers to host live classes and talk to a bunch of people live.

On top of that the lectures can be recorded for students that have missed one of their classes. 

What Are The Limitations Of Google Classroom And Canvas

Both of these programs are somewhat limited, despite both being rather amazing overall. Canvas for example is less user-friendly than Google Classroom.

You need to be aware that there will be a steep learning curve with this program. On top of that it also does not have a very intuitive interface.

This can make it less usable for students that are younger or for schools that do not have very good IT support to help administer the platform.

However, Canva is not a free which means that you will need to make sure that you have a budget to make use of this program. 

Google Classroom on the other hand is much easier to use. On top of that there are several more complex mechanisms and processes that you can use with this program.

For example, if you want to integrate and interact within the G Suit like Docs or Slides. Thai particular issues have caused a lot of trouble for users that are inexperienced students. 

For example, if you want to manage the permissions related to sharing documents in a classroom is not a very intuitive princess and may mean that your students will need to learn from both teachers and students. This may especially be the case if you are in a classroom of younger students.

On top of that Google Classroom gradebooks features are fairly limited when you compare it to other programs that you pay for.

Canvas has a ton of features that they offer. Because there are so many features, we have just listed them below for you to peruse at your leisure. 

  • API
  • Academic/Education
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Alerts/Notifications
  • Assessment Management
  • Attendance Tracking
  • Blended Learning
  • Calendar Management
  • Certification & Licensing
  • Certification Management
  • Class Scheduling
  • Class Summary
  • Classroom Management
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Communication Management
  • Compliance Tracking
  • Content Library
  • Content Management
  • Corporate/Business
  • Course Library
  • Course Tracking
  • Curriculum Management
  • Curve Scores
  • Customizable Branding
  • Customizable Reports
  • Document Management
  • Employee Training
  • Engagement Tracking
  • Faculty/Staff Management
  • Grade Calculations
  • Gradebook
  • Higher Education
  • Individualized Assessments
  • Interactive Learning
  • Learner Portal
  • Learning Management
  • Learning Paths/Tracks
  • Lesson Planning
  • Media Import
  • Media Management
  • Mobile Access
  • Parent Portal
  • Progress Reports
  • Progress Tracking
  • Real Time Notifications
  • Real Time Reporting
  • Real-time Broadcasting
  • Remote Access/Control
  • Report Cards
  • Reporting & Statistics
  • SCORM Compliance
  • Screen Sharing
  • Self Service Portal
  • Skills Assessment
  • Skills Tracking
  • Social Learning
  • Student Information/Records
  • Student Portal
  • Support Audio/Images/Video
  • Surveys & Feedback
  • Synchronous Learning
  • Talent Management
  • Teacher Dashboard
  • Tests/Assessments
  • Third Party Integrations
  • Training Companies
  • Video Conferencing
  • Virtual Classroom
  • Weighted Assignments
  • eLearning Companies

What About The Price?

Google Classroom can be used by schools for free and it comes with what it includes you get a fair bit as well.

For example included with Google Classroom you will have access to G Suite which comes with the Education Package. 

Canvas on the other hand is priced based on what the vendor is charging for it. But G Suite for Education is included within the package as well. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Google Classroom?

Google Classroom Vs Canvas

Starting off with Google Classroom, this company has offered their service since 2014 and ever since then they have been a staple for many people in the education field.

But there are plenty of good reasons why educators love using Google Classrooms. 

It is especially useful for teachers that are not very good at using technology. This is because the LMS has a very simplistic method of setting up.

All you need to do is insert your course’s name. On top of that you can easily select a premade theme which allows you to customize your course.

This can help to make your course stand out from the others. Other than that there are a ton of amazing features that make Google Classrooms so good. 

For example, you have resources that can be shared throughout the class any using Google Drives and using Google Calendar.

This allows people to be able to mark due dates and other important events. 

Aside from that, the LMS for this product is super easy for students and teachers alike to navigate. The more teachers that make use of this program the easier it is to use and navigate.

This product has a mandatory course home stream activity which allows teachers to reference their own work, post any relevant announcements, or even allow students the opportunity to answer questions. 

If you are using Google Classrooms you can use the classwork tab to help you find and separate your coursework into modules which are ordered exactly how you need to.

This program also interacts with popular LTI’s such as Quizizz. Kami, or even EdPuzzle. With this software both students and teachers will be able to download iOS or Google Play.

This means that students will have access to Google Classroom and hand in any projects. This in turn means that teachers can easily assign the grade work that they need to. 

But Google Classroom is not all sunflowers and rainbows.

There are downsides to anything and everything. One of the biggest limitations is the fact that the classroom is not able to be customized very well.

All the classrooms that this software offers look pretty much identical.

On top of that teachers are not really able to change anything other than a few pictures and maybe the color.

This means that you as a teacher will not be able to decorate your room and express yourself as you see fit.

This can be a negative point if you are largely teaching online and not meeting your students in person before you teach them online. 

Another large issue with this software is the fact that the assignments will never close. We have had experience with this issue.

For example when we were teaching this summer there was a student that did not realize that we were using a different LMS.

This meant that the student finished two weeks of very late work from their previous teacher’s classroom as opposed to doing the assignment that we laid out for summer school. 

When this kind of thing happens it can be very frustrating as it is never fun to get your work three weeks late.

Even worse, when you get this work over the summer. On top of that there are a lot of school districts that have policies in place that prohibit students from allowing students to turn in work after a certain amount of time. 

The final negative to this software is that Google Classroom does not log your student’s activities or interactions in the course. The lack of this makes it hard to keep on top of your student’s attendance.

Summing up the pros and cons of the software, it is perfect to use for just about any subject, grade, or student.

But one of the best things about this software is that it is very user-friendly. For this reason it is perfect to use if you are teaching young children or people that are not as good at using tech. 

In short, Google Classroom is perfect for you if you need a blended learning environment and also need a supplement to an in person classroom.

This software is really a good option for those of you that need this kind of atmosphere. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Canvas?

Canvas is quite similar to Google Classroom, many refer to it as the older brother of Google Classroom.

This software was first launched back in 2011 and since then it has only grown in popularity since then.

You can really see how popular this software has become because it is one of the most widely used Learning Management Systems in the United States. 

We have had experience with this program both as a student and as a teacher so we can say for use that it is a good program for both sides of the coin. 

There are a lot of pros to using this software. For one, it can do nearly anything that Google can do.

You will be able to easily create assignments, organize your modules, have access to a class calendar, create Google Cloud Assignments, and many other fantastic features.

But Canvas does a lot more than that, one thing that makes it better than Google Classroom has to be the pages.

This means that you and your students will have the option to create pages, add content or any information that they think is relevant.

So, if you want to get to know your students you can create a unique and fun ‘About the Teacher’ page.

So it could have some interesting facts about you, some pictures, contact information, as well as showcasing your office hours. In short, your content pages can be whatever you need them to be. Who does not love customization! Canvas allows teachers to totally customize their courses in a unique way.

This can make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. Your links may be the same but as a teacher you will have the option to change and edit the whole structure of your course.

You can even choose whether your students can see the modules and announcements or allow the students to see and interact with them as well. 

With these features at your disposal, teachers will be able to personalize their home pages while also having control over the whole process that their students will have.

But that is not all Canvas also has the option to cross-list sections into one big shell.

This means that you will have all of your English students in one course while also having the option to separate them from English honor students for example.

On top of that, Canvas also allows you to get interactions and have access to any reports. By having these options you will be able to see which student did what and when. 

Canvas also has the option to allow users to embed LTIs such as EdPuzzle, FlipGrid, and many other amazing learning tools. In addition to that you can also do this through iOS or even Google Play. 

This software has a bunch of different apps which do different things for canvas.

This means that teachers, students and even parents will be able to submit assignments, messages, or look at various course content using just their cell phones.

By having the option to use apps you are allowing people to use different roles within the course and allow people to have easier access to the services that you are offering. 

As with anything, even Canvas has some cons. While this software is brilliant it can be a hassle to set up and to get it to the stage that you want may mean that you will need to have quite a good understanding of tech. 

If you want to use this teaching software you will need to be patient, as you are setting everything up you will need to make a lot of small alterations.

Not only because it is a tough software to get your head around but also because there are a lot of of updates and new features being added which can mess with what you have built. 

On top of that you are going to need to give your students an overview and explanation of how the structure of your course works.

We have found that the best way to do this is to do a quick screencast and use EdPuzzles so that your students can be clearly shown how to navigate the software.

Overall, while Canvas is good it is quite hard to get set up. There is a lot that you need to learn about to get everything up and running as it should.

But if you have a head for working with software, Canvas is a wonderful option for you. 

What Do We Recommend?

If you have to choose between these two amazing software platforms then you really need to consider what you need.

We have found that Canvas is better but it did take a lot of research to get the hang of. Luckily for us, we knew what we were doing and it was not that difficult to learn how to customize and build.

But if you are not good at using software or you are teaching very young children then Canvas may not be the best option for you. 

 Overall, you just need to pick an option that works for you. Google Classroom is simpler to use while Canvas offers more customization but is hard to use.

Consider your options carefully and go for one that suits your needs and abilities.

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