I’m starting to sense a bit of a mancrush between Google Classroom and myself. It just seems really easy to use and I’m loving how it can start to change how we communicate with kids, assign work, start conversation, share resources. It can keep all of your kids and all of their stuff in one place while giving you the ability to quickly get and send things between yourself and your students.

Google Classroom is available to schools and districts with a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) domain so if you’re in a school that hasn’t jumped on that bandwagon yet, well . . . you’re gonna have to in order to use Classroom.

You can obviously use Classroom for lots of things such as creating a lesson with multiple documents, multimedia, and links. You can use it as a quick and easy way for students to turn in their work. But the more I think about Classroom, the more cool things I think you can do with it. So off the top of my head, here are seven:

Share easy to create YouTube Playlists
Classroom gives you the ability to add as many YouTube videos as you want to to an announcement or assignment. So attach three commentaries on the Ebola crisis from different perspectives in a government class. Attach videos that describe the battles of Ft. Sumter, Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Atlanta, and Appomattox to provide a quick overview of the Civil War. Maybe create a list of travelogues to highlight geographic differences.

Make general announcements
One click of a button and all of your kids see the same thing. Allow comments for student feedback.

Part of the plan for our state assessment is something called Co-Construction of Knowledge – working with kids during the gathering of information stage to help them see the bigger picture and to mentor the process. Classroom supports this type of coaching by allowing you to quickly go into a student folder to leave comments and suggestions. You can also leave a note on the assignment and the student can respond back. This gives you the chance to encourage and support before the final product is complete.

Whole class collaboration
One of my new favorite tools is Padlet. The biggest reason? Online collaboration – students and teacher can see and comment in a variety of ways to everyone else. Classroom gives you this same ability. Share a document and allow students editing access to the document. And I know this has always been possible but having everything in one place on Classroom just seems to make this more accessible.

Sharing resources and documents
Classroom is a super-easy way to push out content to all of your kids at once. And since an email goes out at the same time, it’s hard for kids to say that they didn’t know about it.

Email broadcasts
Speaking of emails, this works the same way as announcements. One easy click and everyone gets the email. Pretty slick. And since you’re in a Google Apps for Education world, all of your kids already have Gmail.

Student support
Since you can easily see who has their work done and who doesn’t, Classroom can act like the warning on a temperature gauge. Someone not getting their stuff done? Send a quick email providing encouragement and maybe even some remediation resources.

Need even more Google Classroom goodness? We’re offering a day long Chromebook / Google Apps mini-conference on October 17th in Hutchinson. Kansas. There’ll be Classroom sessions. Chromebooks sessions. Docs sessions. You get the idea. Lots of cool sessions. Including one by Google tech guru Richard Byrne of Free Tech for Teachers fame.

Plus, wait for it . . . sweet door prizes including a free Chromebook. Exactly. You do not want to miss this. There is a registration limit and we’re getting close so head over here for all the signing up details.