Monday, August 31, 2015

New Google Classroom Features Just in Time for the New School Year

The developers at Google have been busy this summer rolling out some new impressive features for Google Classroom, evidence that there is a serious commitment to supporting the use of GClassroom as an online learning tool.

Post a Question in Google Classroom
The lack of a full-featured discussion board has kept Google Classroom out of the running against other more robust learning management systems such as Moodle or Schoology.  Online discussions are key to online learning because they encourage collaboration, full participation, and higher-order thinking skills, all key to supporting the very important social aspect of learning. Finally, there is a way for teachers to post a question on Google Classroom that allows for students to respond, and for teachers to moderate the discussion.
To post a question that will be visible in a Google Classroom stream, click addthen click Create question, and enter a title of the question.   There are several options, including due dates, adding YouTube videos or Google Drive items, bumping a post to the top of a stream, and allowing students to see and reply to each others' answers...basically everything you would want to manage online discussions.

Get Instant Notifications with the Classroom App
Students can now receive mobile notifications via the Google Classroom on their Android or iOs devices anytime new content is added to their classes.  With this new features, students can be automatically notified when a teacher or student responds to a post, or when their work is graded, allowing them to more easily stay on top of their online learning.

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