Google Classroom Review for Out of School Educators in India

Meera Venkatesan

Google Classroom is a free online Learning Management System (LMS) that allows teachers to connect with their students online. It is a part of Google Apps Suite for Education and is accessible to all google account holders.  It is essentially a collaboration platform where the teachers can create online programs, lessons and students can access the lessons and interact with the teachers at their own pace.

Any organization in the space of education in school, or out of school will have tasks that involve disbursing the lessons to the students and tracking their work.  The learners could be their students or the facilitators executing the learning program. With the digitisation of the lessons and the student records taken for granted, Learning management systems provide a solution of the nightmares of lesson management in a paperless classroom. 

There are umpteen number of Learning Management System which cater to different needs. These include both open source platforms like Moodle, subscription-based options and installed systems. The features needed from the LMS will vary across different organizations, based on their size and level of digitisation needed.  

Where Google Classroom Scores

The biggest USP of Google Classroom as an LMS is its ease of use and clearly organised features.  It allows you to concentrate on the tasks of creating better lessons, without investing too much time on the learning curve of mastering the software. This is a huge benefit, especially for smaller educators, personal educators and out of school organizations in the field of education. All you need to get started off- is a Google account!

Let’s look at some of the features that make Google classroom a breeze to use!

Teachers can:
Students can:
Administrators can 
– Create multiple courses, each with their own set of lessons
– Create a lesson plan for each course with lessons, references and assignments
– Upload study material
– Grade assignments, track student progress and share feedback
– Reuse lessons across other courses
– Access and use learning material
– Interact with the teachers and other learners
– Submit their assignments and receive feedback and grades
– Integrate media and links in the submissions
– Create multiple classes in their domain
– Assign teachers and students to these classes 
– Keep track of the work in the classes their domain
– Manage notifications and messages

Google classroom can be accessed through the app on the mobile phone and tablet too.  It is supported on Android and Mac OS. It offers customisable notifications and seamless integration with Google Drive and docs. 

A glimpse of a Theater Module for Teacher Facilitators on Google Classroom

Usage Scenario for Out of School Educators

One interesting application of Google classroom is for teacher training. Out of school educators will usually work with remote resources for lesson creation as well as executing. Their reach may be spread across several locations and their content itself can be quite dynamic. Training of their teachers becomes very important for them to maintain the standards in their programs.  Google classroom can be used to reach out to the teachers regarding the program. It can be updated centrally, and the classroom resources can be shared with them easily.

As with any product, a careful study is required before launching on the implementation. Google classroom lacks some important features of LMS such as SCORM compliance, real time classrooms, enhanced administration and security features, high levels of customization and so on.

Author Profile:
Meera Venkatesan is an Instructional Designer and facilitator. She has directed the lesson digitization and Google classroom adoption at Cilre Learning Spaces.

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