First off, what is Google Classroom?
The simple answer: Google Classroom is an LMS (learning management system) But, well what does it really do!? First let’s discuss the difference between a virtual classroom and an LMS.
The key distinction between LMS’s and Virtual Classrooms is how they’re used. LMSs are best for tracking student progress on learning objectives with use of tools such as a quiz. While, Virtual Classrooms offer students deeper interaction and student engagement.
As training professionals, we know how important it is to find the right educational platform for your individual needs, so the best first step is to learn the main features of Google Classroom.
What can you do with Google Classroom?
Start and invite students to a video meeting.
Create and manage classes, assignments, and grades online without paper.
Add materials to your assignments, such as YouTube videos, a Google Forms survey, and other items from Google Drive.
Give direct, real-time feedback.
Use the class stream to post announcements and engage students in question-driven discussions.
Invite parents and guardians to sign up for email summaries with a student’s upcoming or missing work.
Track classwork and submit assignments, shared learning.
Check originality, feedback, and grades.
Collaborate, share resources and interact in the class stream or by email.
What are the limitations of Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is not a true group collective experience. It’s more an individual one, closer in nature to an LMS. Students are encouraged to join with either an invite, code or a link. This provides the student the autonomy to decide whether to join the classroom or not.
Overall the best description I can provide of the ability for students to interact with each other is “limited”. It appears that while yes students can see each-others comments, reply back to group discussions, it seems to be designed to more supplement another external classroom.
The value of these limits can change without notice to protect Google’s infrastructure.
|Activity or feature||Google Workspace or school|
|Personal Google Account|
|Teachers per class||20||20|
|Class members (teachers|
|Classes you can join||1,000||100 maximum, 30 per day|
|Classes you can create||No limit||30 per day|
you can send
|500 per day, per teacher||100 per day, per teacher|
|Guardians per student||20||Feature not available|
|Email address visibility||No limit||Feature not available|
|Topics per class||200||200|
Note: You can invite more than 20 teachers, but only 20 teachers can join the class.
The experience as a student starts with the registration process, this is quite simple as long as you have a Google gmail account. Other email domains are also supported but it appears that gmail obviously creates an easier log in experience.
Secondly, it was noted at this time of review that students have the autonomy to create their own unique usernames. Upon registration you are pushed into the classroom stream as your home page. This will be your normal classroom view separated by “stream”, “classwork”, “people” and “grades”. One of the most useful pieces of the Goggle Classroom experience is the Stream which allows students to view announcements, participate and communicate in a collective experience.
Instructional Designer Perspective:
The ability of Google Classroom to be a functional classroom is linked with its ability to incorporate learning. Learning can happen through a variety of methods such an online, in-person, virtual. The classroom itself can be link to any Google service such as Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Forms and so on.
A key responsibility of an instructional designer is to take content and essential transform it into quantifiable learning experiences. Instructional designers have the learned ability to create content utilizing adult learning principles. The most common adult learning language is typically derived from the term Andragogy which is synonymous to adult education. According to Malcolm Knowles, andragogy is the art and science of adult learning, thus andragogy refers to any form of adult learning. (Kearsley, 2010).
From an instructional designer perspective Google Classroom is limited to its capacity to link external resources to the classroom itself. Google Classroom by itself currently lacks much ability to create internal content which is typical of a virtual classroom. The advantage here however is how widely accepted Google as a web service is, the general consensus is if it doesn’t work with Google then it will likely not be accepted.
At the time of writing, the Google Classroom at the most basic functions is likely one of the least expensive LMS options compared to private 3rd party providers. This is a huge advantage especially for smaller sized organizations who may be starting out or simply wanting a tool regardless of its full capacity.
Trevor’s expert rating as an LMS: 6/10