Google Classroom

3 person icons on a green backgroundGoogle Classroom is a learning management system (LMS) that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments and engaging students in learning online or remotely. Google Classroom is a free application designed to help students and teachers communicate, collaborate, organize and manage assignments, go paperless, and much more! It was introduced as a feature of Google Apps for Education following its public release on August 12, 2014. 

Check out this amazing overview of Google Classroom by Amy Flynn and Brandon Lutz.

Tool Snapshot

Price Free
Learning Behaviorism, Social Constructivism
Ease of Use ★★★★☆
Privacy ★★★★☆
Accessibility ★★★★
Class Size Unlimited
ISTE*S Empowered Learner
Yes with Google Apps for Education accounts

This is the only application that Google has developed specifically for students and teachers, and they want it to be your go-to assignment manager for Google Drive and beyond. Assignment creation and distribution is accomplished through Google Drive while Gmail is used to provide classroom communication. Students can be invited to classrooms through the institution’s database through a private code that can then be added in the student interface or automatically imported from a School Information Management System.

Front page of Google classroom

Google Classroom integrates with students’ and teachers’ Google Calendars. Each class created with Google Classroom creates a separate folder in the respective Google service where the student can submit work to be graded by a teacher. Communication through Gmail allows teachers to make announcements and ask questions to their students in each of their classes. Teachers can add students directly from the Google Apps directory or can provide a code that can be entered for access to the class by students.

In contrast to Google’s regular services, Google Classroom does not show any ads in its interface for students, faculty, and teachers, and user data is not scanned or used for advertising purposes.

Type of Learning: Allows for streamlined feedback and online collaboration. Boosts the social learning aspect of online education, enabling learners to benefit from the experience and skills of their peers. Allows teacher to design digital team based learning activities.

Ease of Use: Quick and convenient set up, easy to log in, easy to receive and turn in assignments.

Accessibility: Allows for the use of screen readers for low vision users. Google classroom Mobile app works with VoiceOver on iOS and TalkBack on Android.

Access: Tool is accessible from all computers, mobile phones, and tablets.

Google Classroom Overview Video

*View Transcript for Google classroom video here *

Google Classroom & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool.

Since Google Classroom is an LMS that integrates Google Apps for Education, It will tie in Google Docs, Google Slides and other Google apps along with other Grading tools (exclusive to Google classroom only). Here are some examples of how using multiple Google Apps that might fit within the SAMR model:

  • Substitution: 
    • Use Google Docs to write a report (instead of writing with pencil and paper).
    • Google sheets to prove the concept of shared workspace and live updating.
    • Use Google Calendar for due dates, events outside the classroom, and other important “chronological data.”
  • Augmentation: 
    • Track when students turn-in work.
    • Highlight student exemplars: An announcement in Google Classroom can attach student exemplars from the assignment folder in Google Drive.
  • Modification: 
    • Create your self grading assessment using Google Forms. Students could use the results to create new learning goals.
    • Create classroom groups based on readiness, interest, reading level, or other factors for teaching and learning.
    • Google Docs to share documents and work collaboratively on writing projects.
    • Google Draw  to draw collaboratively.
  • Redefinition: 
    • Invite a Googler into your class to do a guest lecture through Video Chat on the importance science. Or invite a grandparent who lives in a another state to read to the class during story time.

Far too often, technology is used as a direct substitute for other low-tech tools (e.g., pencil and paper). While substitution has some benefits (e.g., students develop their technology skills and knowledge), we encourage you to think about how you might use Google Classroom to modify or redefine learning.

Learning Activities

For Teachers

Work on the same lesson plan at the same time with a colleague using Google Docs.  Store your lesson plans in your school’s shared Google Drive so that anyone at your school can find and access them.  Create a folder for your grade level to share resources.

For Students


  • Model mathematics with Google Drawing: Collaboratively create virtual manipulatives, such as Algebra Tiles, in a Google Drawing. Distribute Google Drawings for students to build on. 
  • Collaborative reasoning: Prior to providing students the algorithm for solving a problem, students can use a collaborative Google Document or Slides presentation to reason out possible solutions to a problem. Attach a document in Google Classroom as “Students can edit file.”
  • Provide peer tutoring: Students in upper grades can tutor and support students in lower grades through the creation of a Google Classroom class for this purpose.


  • Create a Discussion on Specific Topic: In Google Classroom, you have a stream that appears by default when you login to your class. This stream can be utilized to collect student opinions by creating  discussion topics and new posts.
  • Weather/environment lab. Science classes can connect with one or more classes in another city, state, province or country and gather data about the weather or environment around them. Log it in a Google Spreadsheet with a page for each location. Compare and contrast the world around you.


  • Weekly reading record: The students in the school usually have a reading diary that they use to record information about times that they read during the week. They take it home as well as using it at school. A form can be created (See example: Google Form) by the children as a place to enter data about their reading. We hear “I haven’t got my reading diary,” so many times during the year, this way they have no excuses and can access it from any computer. Alternatively a class form could also be setup to gather together everyone’s record.


  • Student collaboration on writing projects: Google Classroom doesn’t only support using e-portfolios, but with the power of Google Docs, the students can also work together in new ways on Google Docs.
  • Spelling Tests: For your weekly spelling test use simple 1-10 or 1-20 numbered Google Form (See example:  numbered form) with a name question and ask the children to type in their answers as you read out the list of words. Once these are submitted apply formula to judge if they are correct or not and it becomes self marking.


  • E-Portfolio: As the platform is based on Google Drive for uploading documents and assignments, it can also serve as a digital portfolio for students. Both teachers and students can create folders and documents that can be shared between each other. If the students work in groups, they can create their own shared folder. This way the group’s’ work will be available to all the members of the group, even if one or more are absent. As everything happens in the cloud, everything can be done asynchronous.
  • Response to Intervention: Different Google Classrooms can be created for students to join based on student needs. Students needing additional support or students needing additional challenges can join a Google Classroom class around intervention of a particular topic.


How to Create a Class With Google Classroom

Creating classes is the first step for teachers who want to set up an online space with Google Classroom. Thankfully, this is easy to do. Here’s how.

  1. Navigate to
  2. Choose the “I am a Teacher” option
  3. Click the “+” sign in the top right-hand corner next to your Google account
  4. Select “Create Class”, then give it a name and a section, and click “Create”.

Customize the appearance of your class:

When you create your class for the first time, you are given a default header image. This is the image that students will see when they click on your class to access assignments and announcements. You can customize this image with a few quick steps.

  1. Hover your mouse over the banner image
  2. Look for the Select Theme link in the bottom right-hand corner
  3. Click Select Theme to open a gallery of photos you can choose for your class.
  4. Choose a photo from the gallery, then click Select Class Theme to change your header image.


Izenstark, A., & Leahy, K. L. (2015). Google classroom for librarians: features and opportunities. Library Hi Tech News, 32(9), 1-3.

Adjunct, Brown, M.E., Hocutt, D.L., & Manager, W.. (2015). Learning to Use, Useful for Learning: A Usability Study of Google Apps for Education.