Today I want to talk about Google Classroom. Let me start by saying that I am not a huge fan of Google so please don’t think that I am advertising Google products. Also, this is not a product I have used for teaching at the university as we use Blackboard. I like Blackboard, but it took me a long time to get comfortable using it. Something that did not occur with this product. I had also heard from several colleagues that have used Google Classroom instead of Blackboard that it was such a wonderful product to use and there is no learning curve.
So when my son’s Greek schoolteacher needed assistance with setting up a virtual classroom due to the COVID-19 quarantine I chose to use Google Classroom because I wanted to take a look and see how user-friendly it was. Also, it is a small school with a couple of sections and with no real budget for online teaching so since this tool is free it was a no brainer.
I found Google Classroom to be straightforward and intuitive to use. It took me a few minutes to create the course shell for each section. Then I told each teacher to go into their course and upload their information as well as personalize it as I did not know what their vision for their course was. When I checked in on them, the instructors told me that it took them a few minutes to start to personalize and upload their course material.
Here is how one of the instructors chose to personalize her page:
Since it is free it gives one the opportunity to experiment and try new things out without worrying about the cost especially since most LMS platforms can be expensive. The thing that I noticed about Google Classroom is that you can make your course as simple or as intricate as you want depending on your needs and what you are teaching.
From this brief experience with Google Classroom, I am certainly planning on giving it a try for one of my courses so I can really see how it feels from the perspective of a teacher as well as figure out if it is possible to replace Blackboard.
If you have tried Google Classroom let me know what your experience has been with it.