It’s a new term and you’ve got a new class(es) and you may have noticed that you have a new Google Classroom as well – at least, some things have changed. The good news is that it won’t take you long to adjust to the changes, and they are generally for the better, so here are a six things that will hopefully help you get up and running with the new features.
The Classwork tab
Before the summer ’18 updates to Google Classroom, any posts you made went on to the Classroom Stream. Therefore, the stream became a mixture of announcements as well as work set through assignments and questions. You will now find that the Stream is reserved for teacher announcements and student posts (if their ability to post is enabled). All work that is posted now goes into the Classwork tab, where it can be better organised. You also have quick access to the Google Drive folder and calendar for your class, from this tab.
Topics for organising work
We had topics before, but when you use topics now they become organisational categories in the Classwork tab. Create a topic, apply this to an announcement or question and the work will be displayed under that topic, meaning you can be more organised with classwork and homework than before. For example, you could create topic for homework, to clearly show students which pieces of work they are expected to complete outside the classroom.
Reorder work and topics
Work that you have neatly organised into topics can be reordered by moving them up or down (via the three dots to the right of the assignment or question.) Likewise, the topics you have used can also be reordered on your Classwork page.
New way of adding class materials
In the old version of Classroom, Materials (permanently available documents etc.) were added via the About tab, which no longer exists in the new version. Materials are now added to the Classwork page, via the Create button. And, in the same way as Assignments and Questions, these can be categorised into Topics, and reordered.
The People tab
The Students tab has gone and instead we have this People tab. Here, you can view, add, remove or mute students. By clicking on a student’s name, you can view all the work that this student is associated with, the marks given, work that is missing and more. You can also add co-teachers from this tab, and email guardians if you are using this feature of Classroom.
This is accessed from the ‘gear’ icon at the top / right of your Classroom, and provides access to some of the features that were previously available through the About tab in Classroom’s previous incarnation. You can edit the name and description of the class from here, and find and display you class code (which can be used by those joining your class.) This is also where you will find the permissions students have to post and comment on the Stream, a feature that was previously found on the Stream itself.
When giving feedback on handed-in assignments, teachers now have the ability to build up a bank of comments, which they can easily access and copy/paste, to save them typing the same comments over and over again.
There are other, more minor differences to Classroom that have appeared over the summer of 2018, but we hope that a pointer to these main changes has been useful to you. We have also published a short video to guide you around the main new features, which you can watch below.