Google Classroom looks kind of bare at first glance. A stream. Assignments. Grades. It might make you want to say, "Where's the flash? Doesn't this thing have an app store like my iPhone does?"
But Google Classroom isn't made to be an all-encompassing one-stop shop for the classroom.
The tools in Google's G Suite are powerful -- Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings, Forms, and more. Google Classroom is made to take advantage of what Google already offers.
But that's only the beginning.
You can take it to another level when you start using other apps that work beautifully with Google Classroom.
You just have to know where to look and how to use them.
Google Classroom is like an airport
In my book, Do More with Google Classroom, I describe Google Classroom as an airport. (Go with me on this one.)
When you think of a trip you want to take, a vacation you want to go on, what do you envision? White sandy beaches? Jagged, craggy mountains? A glassy, serene lake?
I'll bet the airport isn't part of the dream. You don't go on vacation so you can go to the airport. You go on vacation to go to the destination of your dreams!
The airport is a means to an end. It gets you where you want to go. Dallas. Paris. Aruba. Nairobi. Jamaica. All are within reach from the airport.
Google Classroom can link students to lots of different apps and sites so they can do their work. Students show up to Google Classroom International Airport and get a ticket (their assignment).
Some flights are domestic flights. They use tools inside G Suite, like Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more. These assignments are domestic flights because they don't have to leave the country of Google.
Some flights are international flights. They use tools outside G Suite. There are LOTS of them. These assignments are international flights because they link out of Google.
Students do their work in any of these apps and then turn the work in to you. (That's kind of like the return flight back home. Am I taking this airport analogy too far?)
Apps to use with Google Classroom
So ... if Google Classroom is meant to be a jumping-off point to other apps, what are the apps we can use?
Truth be told, it's possible to use any app or website across the internet to do an assignment in Google Classroom. But some are blocked by our school's internet filter. Some have privacy issues. Some just aren't great for the student learning experience.
We want our students to fly with the airlines that provide a great experience. (I just can't leave the airport analogy alone!)
Let's take a look at some apps you can use to create Google Classroom assignments. Some are domestic flights (apps within G Suite). Some are international flights (apps outside G Suite). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the tools we've found that teachers have great success with.
Apps within G Suite
Google Drawings is like a digital poster board. Add text, images, shapes and lines. It's great for creating single images or pages, and it's easy to use.
💡 Ideas for use: The Google Drawings Manifesto for Teachers
Create and share a survey, a quiz, or a poll with Google Forms. The responses go to a spreadsheet, where you can analyze and work with the data.
💡 Ideas for use: 25 practical ways to use Google Forms in class, school
Jamboard is a collaborative online whiteboard. Students can use this creative work space to brainstorm, organize, and share ideas.
💡 Ideas for use: How to use Jamboard in the classroom: Tips and ideas
Google Sheets a spreadsheet app. It allows you to work with and organize data with functions and calculations. Share and collaborate.
💡 Ideas for use: 10 Google Sheets tricks you (probably) don't know about
Google Docs is a word processing tool. You can write, edit and collaborate on documents. Share with others and add comments.
💡 Ideas for use: 20+ HyperDocs tips, ideas and templates to use right away
Google Sites is a website builder. Create a site with multiple pages. Embed G Suite files seamlessly. Share it with anyone.
💡 Ideas for use: 20 Google Sites tips and tricks to use in the classroom
Google Keep is a note-taking app. Create notes with text, drawings, checklists, and more. Share them with others. Access them anywhere.
💡 Ideas for use: 10 ways Google Keep can help streamline life at school
Google Meet is a video conferencing platform. Host video calls. Interact with students in the chat. Share your screen with participants.
💡 Ideas for use: How to use Google Meet for elearning, online learning
Google Maps allows you to experience Street View (little yellow pegman), 3D Mapping, step-by-step directions and more on any device.
💡 Ideas for use: Google Maps walking tours with Street View and Screencastify
Arts and Culture
Discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Explore cultural treasures and places in extraordinary detail from all over the world.
💡 Ideas for use: Google Teacher Podcast 124: Google Arts & Culture
Google Earth makes it possible for you you to zoom in to anywhere in the world. Click on locations to see more details and even create your own projects.
💡 Ideas for use: Creating with Google Earth: 10 activities to try
Do More with Google Classroom
Teach better. Save time. Make a difference.
The short how-to tutorials on Google Classroom are EVERYWHERE. But how do we teach well with it? In this book, you'll find practical ideas to do great teaching with Google Classroom and thrive.
Apps outside G Suite
Kahoot! is a game show-style quiz game. Students respond to questions quickly on their devices. They earn points and move up the leaderboard.
💡 Ideas for use: How to use Kahoot! with Google Classroom and Google Meet
Quizlet is a flashcard app to give students repetitions on terms. Quizlet Live is a collaborative learning game where students practice in teams.
💡 Ideas for use: How to start a Quizlet Live game in 60 seconds + tips and tricks
Quizizz is a game show-style review app. It displays questions and possible answers on students' individual devices, where they respond at their own pace.
💡 Ideas for use: Game show classroom: Comparing Kahoot!, Quizizz and others
Flipgrid is a video response tool. Teachers pose a question or prompt in a topic. Students respond by recording short videos and replying to others.
💡 Ideas for use: Flipgrid for ALL! 50+ ways to use Flipgrid in your class
Adobe Spark is an online and mobile design app. Create amazing videos, beautiful pages or engaging images to show what you've learned.
💡 Ideas for use: 15 ways to create unforgettable multimedia with Adobe Spark
Screencastify is a screen recording tool. Easily record your screen and/or your webcam and share your recordings with others.
💡 Ideas for use: 24 ways to create great classroom video with Screencastify
Edpuzzle lets teachers insert questions into videos for students to answer. It gathers data on students interactions to gauge learning.
💡 Ideas for use: How to flip your classroom with Edpuzzle
Socrative is used for assessment and data collection. Teachers can create quizzes, exit tickets, quick questions, or space races to assess students.
💡 Ideas for use: Sticky learning: Digital brain dumps with Flipgrid and Socrative
Wakelet lets you create a collection with text, links, images, PDF files, tweets and more. You can add as many of any type of item as you’d like and can have unlimited collections.
💡 Ideas for use: 12 curation ideas for students and teachers with Wakelet
Create questions to deliver to students, add other content to the questions andWatch as students answer from the teacher side of the site.
💡 Ideas for use: 20 ways to use Formative for awesome assessment
Soundtrap is an online and collaborative audio tool. Make music, edit audio, loops, autotune, or make beats. It's a full recording studio for your class.
💡 Ideas for use: Lesson ideas from Soundtrap
A touch-friendly online whiteboard app that lets you use your computer, tablet or smartphone to easily draw sketches, collaborate with others and share them with the world.
💡 Ideas for use: 10 ways to collaborate digitally + visually in class
PBS Learning Media
PBS Learning Media is an incredibly robust collection of free learning resources searchable by subject area, grade level, learning standard, or even by collection.
💡 Ideas for use: How to Use Google Classroom | PBS LearningMedia Tutorials
Khan Academy's mission is to provide free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere and that is exactly what they do! Tutorial videos allow students to learn at their own pace.
💡 Ideas for use: Using Khan Academy for remote learning
Tynker uses a block based coding language, to teach kids the concepts of programming. Through video tutorials kids learn the concepts and apply their skills in their programs.
💡 Ideas for use: Quick start guide for Tynker teachers