Struggling To Home School? There's An App For That

You don't need to be a teacher or an educator to get access.

With school out, here are online courses and gadgets to keep children – and adults – occupied.

With all of the recent school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of parents have turned into homeschooling educators overnight. And while many schools are providing some kind of distance learning, parents still find themselves scrambling to come up with lesson plans, educational activities, DIY projectsindoor activities, and brain-boosting diversions to keep the kids entertained while everybody is staying home.

Enter Google Classroom.

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 continue their studies thanks to this innovative online solution for face-to-face education.

what is google classroom?

Google Classroom differs from Zoom in the fact it's not 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. 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 child access google classroom?

The app is completely free and can be downloaded from the Google Play app store.

The process for setting up your child's account is pretty simple. Your child's teacher (if you're a teacher, scroll below for how to set up a classroom) 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.

I'm a teacher, how do i set up a classroom?

You need to open a web browser and go to Google Classroom. You will need to sign in with your Google Suite for Education account otherwise you will be unable to use the platform. If you do not have a Google Suite for Education account, you can sign up for free here. The next step is to click the plus sign from your Gmail account and click create your first class. In the 'create a class' dialogue box, you should type the class name and section before clicking create.

After you have set up a class in Google Classroom, you will want to invite your pupils to the class. To invite students using an access code you will need to log into your class and get the class code from the bottom left of the screen. All you need to do is share that code with your students such as by writing it on your classroom board or sending it out via email. Then you should instruct pupils to go to classroom.google.com, click the plus sign at the top and type in the code to join the class.

Google Classroom helps teachers quickly make assignments which include attached materials. You should log in to your class and click the stream tab if it is not already displayed. Then you should click assignment and type the title of the assignment you are creating. You can also add an optional description if you wish which could also include instructions for the assignment. You can change the due date and add a time buy clicking due date and add time respectively.

To mark completed assignments, log on to your class and click the stream tab if not already showing. You will see all the assignments you have made in the centre column. You should be able to see which students have or have not completed the assignment. Click the name of a student to expand their assignment and click the document attached to the assignment to see what the student has turned in. You can then make any comments you wish on the document. You only need to close the document to return to the student work page. Then to grade the assignment, you can click where it says no grade and type in a specific mark between 0 and 100. Check the box next to the student’s assignment and click return to give it back to the student.

I don't have a computer or laptop, can my kid still 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?

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.

Main image by @kourtneykardashian on Instagram

READ: The Foolproof Way To Work From Home With Children

READ MORE: Why You Should Stop Feeling Guilty About Your Kids' Screen-Time

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