I LOVE Google Classroom! It is a simple tool for teachers to learn and use. It is a powerful tool and it can become the digital hub of your classroom.
I think Google Classroom is so important for teachers to use that I have started to do all of my professional development sessions in Google Classroom. I can load all of the resources we will be discussing into Classroom prior to the session. I can even give extension activities for teachers to complete after the face to face session. I use an assignment post, schedule it to go live about five minutes before we are finished and then have teachers submit their work to Classroom after the session.
One of the main reasons I like using Google Classroom for professional development is because teachers get to experience Classroom as a student. If you have used Classroom at all you know that not everything looks the same to a student as it does to a teacher. There are slight differences. For example, if you attach a template and share it "make a copy for each student" the teacher will see the template as part of the assignment. Students will have to open the assignment to see the template. This is shown in the example below. (For more on the differences between teacher view in Google Classroom and student view, visit my Guide to Google Classroom.)
This semester I decided to run an online professional development course called "Google Classroom Try It Do It." The idea behind the course is that teachers will get to experience various Google Classroom assignments as a student and then replicate something similar in their own Google Classrooms for their students. Every Thursday morning, I schedule a practice assignment for teachers to complete. Then each Sunday I schedule an assignment for them to have their students complete. Teachers create a similar assignment for their students and either take screenshots of the assignment and student work or create a screencast showing the assignment in their Google Classroom. In addition to the screenshots, teachers need to leave a private comment in Classroom reflecting on how that assignment worked with their students. If teachers choose the screencast option, they record their reflection on the assignment while they are showing student work.
We are about half way through the course and in my opinion it has gone very well. I have heard from more than one participant that they weren't aware that they could do that in Google Classroom. And that was my goal, to show teachers the power of this tool. I think most teachers are just scratching the surface of what Classroom can do for them.
I plan to offer the online course again next semester so that more teachers can participate. Google Classroom makes this easy to do with the reuse post option. I can reuse all of the posts from this Classroom and modify them as needed.
If you are interested in learning more about Google Classroom, check out these resources: