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That Might be in the App!

Google Classroom is a very popular solution to interacting remotely with students, in a variety of formats. In the IU 8 area, nearly all of our districts are operating virtually this week. Several are relying on Google Classroom.

As with any system, there are boxes into which teachers package content and learning experiences. The robust Learning Management Systems like Canvas and Schoology are packages with fancy wrapping paper, a bow, and name tag handwritten in calligraphy.

Google Classroom’s package more closely resembles the cardboard shirt box from Hills that has taken a beating and lives in Grandma’s attic 11 months a year. (Who’s with me on that reference?)

The point - they are all capable of doing the trick, with a little consideration to how the magic is prepared. Here are two Google Classroom tips to help you and your students.

#1 Turn on Notifications

One situation we encounter in Google Classroom is that it can be difficult to know if a student has received the teacher’s feedback. When interacting with adults, we request that they turn on Classroom Notifications, which generates an email.

For younger learners, they may not be as email-reliant as adult learners typically are. My own eighth-grader essentially ignores her email. (Unless she’s awaiting a shipment notification from an online shopping trip. 🛒) In that case, the mobile app may help.

#2 Consider investigating the Google Classroom mobile app.

It has value for you as a teacher, for your students with personal smartphones, or any students who have the ability to use a caregiver’s phone. The app has a push notification (if turned on) that alerts the user of interactions within Google Classroom.

To install the Google Classroom mobile app, visit the appropriate app store for your device:

If you still find yourself wondering if students are seeing your private comments, continuous reminders to frequently review “View Your Work” in Classroom might be wise. As in a physical classroom, you will quickly learn who needs a little extra attention.

Download the app - consider it a sparkly bow just right to jazz up the distorted Hills box!


Brenda Calhoun is an Educational Technology Specialist with Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 and is also a Google for Education Certified Trainer. Brenda works very closely with teachers and technology leaders to inspire and support the innovative use of technology in learning.

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