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Parents' Guide to Google Classroom

Everything Parents Need to Know About Using Google Classroom With Your Kids

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Parents across the globe have recently been thrown into the innovative world of online learning. If you're getting stressed about the new homeschool transition, you're not alone. Whether your child's school recently adopted Google Classroom as a solution for distance learning or you just haven't familiarised yourself with the digital learning platform yet, don't worry — we're here for you.

The good news is that even the most technologically challenged parents catch on quickly to the ins and outs of Google Classroom. What first appears as a scary world of distance learning will soon be a breath of fresh air. You'll learn to help your child stay organised and find success thanks to this innovative online solution for face-to-face educational instruction.

"Online resources can enrich and enhance the education provided to students," said Anna Cutaia, Ed.D., the superintendent of Milford Public Schools in Connecticut. "While this is not a substitution for face-to-face teaching, this is an opportunity for families to maintain and sustain the progress that each child has made and will continue to make throughout the school year."

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What Exactly Is Google Classroom?

Initially, many parents think that Google Classroom is a virtual classroom where students log on to find their teacher and classmates waiting to start the day. While Google Meet and Google Hangouts allow for that type of interaction, Google Classroom is different. Google Classroom "allows for a platform for teachers and students to interact via posting assignments, engageing in academic dialogue, and providing feedback to one another," Dr. Cutaia said.

When students log on, they see a snapshot view of upcoming homework assignments, teacher announcements, student questions, and other important class information. Students can submit their work directly through Google Classroom, and teachers can provide feedback, assign grades, and return the work. All your child's work stays organised and conveniently stored on Google Drive. Assignments are even automatically added to the Google Calendar based on their due dates. Essentially, the Google Classroom is where all your child's schoolwork is created, exchanged, and stored.

How Does My Kid Access Their Classroom?

The process for setting up your child's account is pretty simple. Your child's teacher does most of the work. They will set up the classroom and provide a join code that is unique to your child. Teachers can also invite students by email. Once access has been granted, your child can get into their classroom anytime by going to classroom.google.com.

For older students who have different teachers for different subjects, multiple classrooms will appear. From their dashboard, they can choose the class they want to view. Once they enter a classroom, students find three tabs at the top of the page.

  • The Stream tab can be compared to an interactive workbook. It's an outline of the course and an announcement page with a full overview of homework, assignments, and any other posts the teacher adds.
  • The Classwork tab stores all your child's assignments. Here, they'll see each assignment that's been added by their teacher. When they click on a task, they'll get the due date, details, resources needed, and status of the assignment. Students also can turn in their work here once it's completed. They can add files or create slideshows and images to be submitted.
  • The People tab shows all the teachers and students in the classroom. It's also a place where students can communicate directly with one another or their teacher.

Can My Kid Use a Mobile Device or Tablet to Access Google Classroom?

Absolutely. Like all the other Google apps available, your student can access the full functionality of Google Classroom from virtually any device. Just be sure to add the other essential Google apps needed for success to their devices, like Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Drive.

How Do I Stay on Top of My Kid's Learning Progress With Google Classroom?

Instead of looking over your child's shoulder to check their grades, parents have the unique option of being added as a student guardian. Be sure to ask your child's teacher to grant you access. You'll receive an email that requires you to accept the invitation. Once approved, you can choose between daily or weekly guardian summaries. Based on your preference, you'll get an email that details missing work, upcoming assignments, and classroom activity.

Want to learn more? Parents can find the latest updates for Google Classroom here.

Image Source: Getty / Westend61
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