A Google Classroom Wish List

Google Classroom came a few years too late to rescue me from Moodle and Google Docs folder management nuclear winter but it’s out now and teachers are picking it up like wildfire. Early critics, myself included, criticized Classroom for all the things it didn’t do when in fact the simplicity of it is probably a big factor in it’s rapid adoption among “non-techie” classroom teachers. As more teachers have started using it, feedback and feature requests have started to roll in. Rather than try and remember all the ideas and issues teachers have had with Classroom in my district, I think Jeremy Davis (@teachtech) from Capistrano Unified School District hits the nail on the head with these 7:

1. It would be amazing if our classrooms automatically generated a group with the same name so teachers could assign google play apps, extensions, and books to their classes. Maybe even a play store button on the classroom screen.

2. The student count next to the word students on the main screen would be huge, because as students join the class, if the total was in parentheses next to the word students teachers would know when everyone was in and could disable the code so no stragglers popped in (parents, friends, other students who want to get the work ahead of time)

3. Student View – A lot of teachers want to show off a student view (I need this during training as well) but we can’t manage 2000 dummy accounts for teachers. If there was a “student view” button in the stream that would flip the classroom to what the students see, it would be easier to teach.

4. We would really love it if we could assign group work – When a teacher goes to assign work and wants multiple students working on the same template from Drive, they now will assign, it creates 35 copies, then the teacher asks one student from a group to go in and change the name on the assignment to include the last names of each of the students in the group, then the teacher has to go in and either delete the 20 copies that aren’t being used or just figure it out on the grid. If there was a fourth option in Classroom, “assign by group” that would pull up a list of all students in the class, with a drop down A-Z menu next to each name, then the teacher could assign John, Sally, and Jose to group A, Joe, Eric and Adam to group B, etc. Then Classroom would make a shared document between the selected students and the teacher. That is one of our most asked-for features.

5. Timed assignments and date fix – We love that teachers can make an assignment and then select all 5 classes and assign it all at once. However, this doesn’t work so well if the teacher is pushing out an assessment. If they push to all classes at once, the students who don’t have her class until 1pm get the essay question at 8am. If there was any way to have a timer next to each class, so when you drop down and select the 5 classes to send the assignment, you could also select a time. Schools across the country have strange bell schedules, so you would want it in 5 minute increments. But if I could select Period 1 gets it at 8:05, Period 2 gets it at 8:55, Period 3 gets it after snack at 10:00, and so forth that would make things easy on assigning. Lastly, we have gotten reports that when a teacher selects multiple classes to assign, the date and time due do not transfer over to other classes. Is this a known issue?

6. When we look at assignments in grid in the assignment folder, every assignment has the same name, and the student name is cut off unless you mouse over and click. There is no way to get a quick glance. Is there any way that google could put the student name before the title of the assignment rather than on the end?

7. (also known as “the dream”) We would really, really like a snapshot button on classroom, that would take a quick snapshot of every student’s screen and create a quick grid with names for teachers. This would allow us greater classroom management (even just letting the students know it is possible) so teachers can feel more comfortable having side bar conferences and one-on-one coaching with students where they can’t see the screens of students. While some may ask for a live feed, the screenshot would not tax our networks in the same way.

Ditto! Seems pretty reasonable to me. What do you want to see from Google Classroom in the next 3-12 months?

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