Thursday, April 2, 2015

Don't be Tardy to the Google Classroom - A Plano Teacher Exclusive!

You've heard about it, and now you're ready to find out what the excitement is all about. If you have been, or want to, have your students turn in assignments via Google Drive, you are going to LOVE Google Classroom. It's intuitive, user-friendly, and adds to Google's googly goodness! Google Classroom does not replace myPISD as it is not a robust Learning Management System (LMS). It's a content management system that lets you communicate with students and streamlines the workflow of how you/your students can assign/submit work via the Google Drive. Here are some basic steps to getting started with your very own Google Classroom(s).
  1. Video How-To: I subscribe to Amy Mayer’s YouTube channel because she has fabulous instructional videos for all things Google. Her tutorial on Getting Started with Google Classroom (12 min.) is worth the watch! Check it out!
  2. How to get to Google Classroom: Open Google Chrome (NOT Internet Explorer) and go to classroom.google.com. Sign in using your PISD email address and network password. If this is your first time accessing it, you’ll need to select whether you’re a Teacher or a Student. (This might seem obvious, but don't click Student. I learned this the hard way!) J. On the top right of the screen, click the plus sign and choose Create. Name your class and click Create. When you open your class, look for the Class Code on the left. This is what you’ll give your students to join your class. (No need to type in your students’ names!)
  3. How students join your class: Tell students to open Chrome and go to classroom.google.com. They’ll sign in using their email and password, too. Student email is firstname.lastname.#@mypisd.net. They will click the plus sign and select Join. Then give them your class code. It’s that easy! Tip: Zoom in using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key and the + sign so your students can see your class code on the big screen.
  4. Who can access it? Google Classroom requires a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) domain to access. We are a "GAFE district" so staff and students can get to it, no problem! It is not accessible by the public so parents will need to sign in using their student's email and password.
  5. Learn more! Join my Google Classroom to see news/tips/handouts, to practice, and to ask questions. My Class Code is 1mser3!

The steps above are just the basics. For a more in-depth training, one of us from the Instructional Technology Dept. would be more than happy to come show you/your dept. how to have your students turn in assignments and how to post announcements in the Stream. We'd need just 30-45 min. to get you going. Plus, we can give you some tips that will help you feel knowledgeable and comfortable with using Google Classroom (e.g. how many classes to create, enabling/disabling students' ability to post/comment in the Stream, posting an assignment/announcement to more than one class at a time, and more!). I recommend that you create a class (even if it's just called "Practice Class"), join each other’s classes to test things and see how it works before students join your Classroom. You can always archive the class and/or delete posts on the Stream later. Good luck!