Well 2016 is here! One of my New Years Resolutions was to resurrect my blogging. So here's to 2016 :)
I have been involved with technology integration and online/digital teaching since I started my career. In my time I have used many systems and the one I am learning now is Google Classroom.
Well, what exactly is it? Basically Google Classroom easily connects a teacher using Google Apps with students who use them. Some people call that a learning management system (lms), a content distrubution system and other things. For me I call it the tool that finally allows a teacher to adapt to the blended classroom and do it with an ease to which surpasses any lms I have used in the past.
The feature I like the best is the ability to create a class and add students. All it takes is a click to create a classroom a code for students to join. It does not get simpler than that. Our team has been exploring it's use for professional learning communities and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Ease of use wins every time.
It also contains only 3 tabs (Stream, Students/Classmates and About) and all its functionality is enhanced by integrating other Google Apps within those 3 tabs. For example assignments can be Google Docs with revision history for tracking while Google Forms can be added to the Stream for Formative Assessment. Simple but extremely powerful.
The teacher can also provision permissions individually within Google Classroom. For example one student can be restricted for posting while others can be given full functionality. No more does a permission have to removed from all because of the behaviour of the one, or the few.
I will conclude by saying this: if you are a school who wishes to look at blended learning or a school district considering a lms, have a strong look at Google Classroom. You may be surprised... and it's all free... if you are a Google Apps For Education entity.