What’s in your classroom: Is Google Classroom ready to take over?

Google Classroom, Google’s tool for managing, sharing and collaboration in your classroom, has had an important update in the last month. A teacher can now assign a task to specific students, something we can all do ‘in real life’ but teachers who have found Google Classroom to be a time-saving effective tool for sharing content and accessing work have been calling for this feature for some time. To see the other updates, including usage statistics in admin panel click here.

When I presented a Google Classroom session for the first time at an Appsevents summit it solved many problems for teachers who already used Google Drive with their classes but those using Edmodo, Hapara Teacher Dashboard, Moodle liked the interface and usability but when they asked if it:

  • Can share information with parents like show my homework
  • Sync with markbooks like…
  • Work on iOS and Android
  • Annotate student work like…

It didn’t, but it does now! What we have learnt is that the feedback button was worth pressing. Google’s team of project managers and developers read every piece of feedback and have aggregated the main requests to regularly improve the product based on user’s requests. If you appreciate being able to sort by first and last name, you’re welcome.

All the items I listed in my training slides that Classroom couldn’t do have consistently been crossed off. Third party tools have made Classroom even more effective, more and more of your favourite web tools and apps work seamlessly with Classroom. Here are a few of my own favourites:

  • Geogebra
  • Share to Classroom
  • Desmos (sort of)
  • Peardeck
  • Smartamp
  • Texthelp

More and more providers of educational tools are taking advantage of the API access to integrate their tools with Classroom so your favourite may be linked soon if it is not already. Check out the ones that do here.

For admins, some who eagerly await more integration with the tools teachers want to use, others who have used a lack of integration as a reason to deny teachers use of it, there are now ways to sync users, create classrooms for the whole school and monitor usage. Parents can get updates on assignments and a calendar is created for every class.

Chromebooks are getting android apps and a stylus to make it even easier for teachers to annotate work submitted, which for me leave one last request…

Google, please can you develop Google drawings to work seamlessly with touchscreen, stylus and interactive whiteboards?

Ben Rouse, 2017

For schools looking to harness technology for learning, can they really look much further than GSuite and Chromebooks?




#giesummit New Hampshire

I have been fortunate to have been invited to present at a few Google in Education summits run my Appsevents across Europe, delivering sessions on Google Classroom, Flubaroo for Google Forms, Super Quiz for Google Forms and e-portfolios. I am delighted to say I have been invited to New Hampshire to deliver sessions and a keynote presentation on the second day.

Find out more https://goo.gl/0LDysj

I wouldn’t profess to be any expert but simply an enthusiast for the possibilities technology can bring to the classroom and student learning. Sharing my insight is enjoyable and rewarding but I have always taken away ideas from fellow presenters and delegates alike, who are always amazing me with their initiative for ways in which they are using simple free tools to enhance learning in their classes.

I am particularly excited to have the chance to share with Holly Doe in New Hampshire as I was fortunate enough to attend the same Google Teacher Academy as Holly in London in December 2013. During our two day event she shared an inspiring use of Google’s tour builder with us. Her students had created an immersive account of a journey and developed some amazing story-telling skills along the way. I reflected on how delighted I would be as a father if my son had that learning opportunity.

So, of I go to New Hampshire confident of coming back to UK with some new gems to try in my own classroom or share with the schools I am going to be supporting from September. If you haven’t considered such an event yet I hope you might consider one near you. Check our the appsevents website for details of summits near you.


Ben Rouse

Qatar #giesummit 2015

As part of the Appsevents core team I am currently in Doha for a Google in Education Summit. Qatar Academy is hosting the event, which is two days of sessions lead by teachers who are utilising Google Apps for Education (GAfE) with their classes or organisations. There are a range of great sessions going on, click here to have a look for yourself.

I am leading sessions on Google Classroom, Flubaroo for grading and feedback and using Google Sites as E-portfolios

The slides shared with delegates can be viewed via the links below

  • Google Classroom for beginners – click here
  • Google Classroom with Doctopus for Formative Assessment – click here
  • Flubaroo for Grading and Feedback via Google Forms – click here
  • Google Sites for E-portfolios – click here

The slides are the take-away but the session is aimed at being hands-0n with delegates getting the chance to use the tools and get ready to use them with their classes the following week.

If you want to know more about

  • the event
  • hosting one at your school
  • becoming a trainer
  • or anything else related to the post drop me a comment or email

Appsevents also offer online courses in a number of key GAfE skills and the courses are being added to regularly, take a look to see if any of the courses suit you or your school, keep an eye on the Google in Education Summits community to get discount codes for some of the courses. The community is also the place to find info about upcoming events in your part of the world.


Ben Rouse

Going Google at my School: Y2 – Autumn 2014 Review

Having implemented Google Apps for Education (GAfE) over a year ago it was time to get some feedback. The new academic year has seen a boost in the number of people logging into their school Google account so now the majority are logging in I want to know what they think about the experience.

Staff and Student Feedback

I sent out two Google forms, one to students and one to staff that were similar but some of the questions were adjusted. You can see a copy of the questions via the links below. The survey links were sent out by email twice each.

Student Survey (188 responses out of 1800 students)

Staff Survey (40 responses out of 140 staff)

Both the students and staff were asked to assess the impact they felt GAfE had had on learning. Here is their response:


1 - very negative 5 - very positive
1 – very negative
5 – very positive


1 - very negative 5 - very positive
1 – very negative
5 – very positive

The written feedback provides the most interesting data and there are a few themes that come through in everyone’s comments. These are:

  • Lack of clarity on technology’s role in education
  • A need for consistent use with clear vision from leadership
  • Training for students and staff (i.e. time)
  • Infrastructure issues have limited access
  • Lack of single sign on

Here is my favourite item of staff feedback

“I am still in the Google mis’Ap(p)s stage of conscious incompetency… I’m afraid to say I’m tempted to assume a partial Canutian stance, such that despite realising that the tide has turned (irrevocably) I find myself, nonetheless, wondering whether death by drowning might be preferable.”

And favourite student contribution

“Chromebooks look like they have potential to be a everyday learning tool.”

We had better find a way to get some!

Best Practice


Google Drive/Classroom

  • MfL – Marking and feedback on coursework
    • Presented to MfL faculty
  • PE Faculty – Written work in theory lessons and adoption of Google Classroom. The faculty have also included the use of Google Apps in their quality of standards review.
  • A-level Chemistry – Feedback sheet
  • Y12 Maths use of Google Classroom to enhance peer support and independence.
  • Admin are using forms for a vast amount of communication and data collection with parents and for options/applications.
  • Assistant Head lead successful training session on Child protection with other LMT members using a collaborative document
  • Drama are using Google Drive to share and collaborate
  • Computing use Google Classroom in every lesson to share course material, assign homework and resources. One teacher has reported an increase in homework being submitted on time for her Y11 group.
  • Law have implemented PLCs with Y12 and 13 students having seen a similar approach from Business Studies.
  • SEND are transferring information about students to Folders and sharing so they all have access to up to date information.

Google Sites

  • Data site is in progress.
  • Sites have now been created for every house based on one head of house’s site as a template.
  • ICT BTEC are using Google Sites to create their portfolios.

If you are an avid reader you may notice that Learning Portfolio sites for Y7are not listed. Currently they have not had the impact and exposure I would have liked so they are proving less effective but I continue to try and worm with Heads of Faculty and Teachers to see if they can be useful.

Professional Development

Next Steps

Going forward I have created a timeline, shared with key stakeholders in the school. These include…

  • ICT Director
  • Head of School
  • Line Manager

The timeline provides some next steps under a number of areas of technology for learning and I am recording progress against each one monthly. The key areas for development still revolve around

  1. Culture
  2. Training
  3. Leadership

I have also purchased a copy of Stratosphere by Michael Fullan as people I trust say it is a must read in my position.

Maybe a review on this blog will be necessary.



Google Educator Group UK 2014-15

What will this academic year hold for teachers using Google tools and how can the Google Educator Group help?

GEG UK Banner 2560 x 1440

Google Educator Groups have sprung up around the world since they were launched and I have been involved with the UK one. We have had some hangouts and there is a Google plus community of around 350, however some other groups such as GEG Melbourne and many across the US have had events and meetups. The GEGs in countries like India and Philippines have huge numbers and they appear to be thriving.

Some regional GEG groups have started in the UK.

GEG UK London

GEG UK North East

GEG UK South East

The UK has pockets of educators using Google Apps for Education (GAfE) very effectively but the number of schools with GAfE accounts suggests there are possibly thousands of teachers with access to use the tools.

  • Do those teachers know how to use the tools and what they can do?
  • Do they want to more about how they can be used?
  • Would they attend training on a weekend?
  • Would they be interested in meeting teachers who are using the tools for learning?
  • Can the current members of GEG UK provide any guidance for school leaders in schools with GAfE?
  • Do any UK schools give a budget to their teachers to choose their PD for the year?

If you read this I would imagine you are not the target for the GEG UK but the people you work with are. Can you ask them if they are interested in learning more about the potential for Google Apps for Education and if so what support, resources and events can GEG UK provide.



Ben Rouse

Going Google – Google Classroom Review

I started to write this post a few weeks ago…

  • You can’t share a class between two teachers
  • There is no gradebook created for each class
  • Formative assessment is a bit of a work around
  • We can’t use our class groups to add a whole class to a classroom
  • It doesn’t link assignments to calendar

Since I started it some things have changed with Google Classroom. The feedback button worked!

  • You can’t share a class between two teachers
  • You can now download all assignment grades (not a ‘gradebook’ but something you can use in that way)
  • Formative assessment is a bit of a work around (doctopus and goobric can be used for formative feedback and grading)
  • You can now
  • It doesn’t link assignments to calendar
I was sitting in a Swedish airport when I took this screenshot.
I was sitting in a Swedish airport when I took this screenshot.

I have enjoyed using Google Classroom with my classes because:

I can share with my class in one place and they have started to have conversations about the work and students from my class are answering each other’s questions.

I get a copy of a template document created for every student with the same naming convention.

I set homework that doesn’t need to be handed in during a lesson. I can set a deadline for a day before our lesson and plan for that lesson based on their actual strengths and weaknesses.

It is easy to learn so other teachers can get started quickly. Here are the slides from my training session on Google Classroom. When I run the session it is a hands-on hour where delegates join my classroom as students before developing their own. You will not be able to do this via the link but I would happily discuss providing training for a group of teachers.

Note: Google Classroom is only available to educational organisations that have Google Apps for Education (GAfE) accounts. If you don’t they are free to set up. You can read about my own school’s journey transitioning to Google Apps here.

If you are looking to “Go Google” then you can get training from Google Education Trainers, who can train staff and students and help guide you on a strategy for effective implementation.