As we continue down the Google Classroom Expressawy, we approach our second point of interest: The Stream. We are going to be looking at the Stream in Google Classroom and how you as the teacher can utilize it!
One of the ways you can interact withy our students on the Stream is by posting an announcement. To do this, simply head over to your Google Classroom. Once there, you will see a box that says “Share something with your class…” Once you click in that box, you are immediately greeted with a new dialogue box. Starting at the top, you will see the title For with two drop-down boxes under it. Here, you can choose who is announcement is for. By default it is set to the current Google Classroom and all of the students enrolled. Clicking on the first drop down lets you select which Google Classroom(s) you would like this announcement to be posted in. Moving over to students, you can choose what student(s) you would like the announcement to go to. (Just know that if you choose multiple Google Classrooms, it will go to all of the students in those classrooms. If you would like to send it to specific students, you will have to do so in each Google Classroom).
After you have configured who you would like to receive the message, you will see a big box that says “Share with your class”. Here is where you are going to type out your announcement. As far as I am aware, there is no character limit but know these are called announcements so you probably want to keep them short and sweet.
Under the box you typed out your announcement you will see a button with a paper clip labeled Add. Clicking on this allows you to add resources to your announcement. You will see the following options when you click on Add:
Choosing Google Drives will allow you add a document from either your drive or a shared drive. Adding a file to an announcement will give your students viewing access to the file. If it is a file that you want them to type on, they will need to make a copy of the document.
If you choose the link option, this will allow you to enter an URL to share with your students. This could be the link to a website, a file, or video.
Selecting the file option allows you to upload a file from your computer. You would want to use this option if you wanted to share a file with your students that is not located in your Drive.
Finally, the YouTube option allows you to search for a video on YouTube and share that video with your students directly in Google Classroom.
Once you have added any materials/links to your announcement, now we are ready to post it. You have a few options when it comes to posting your announcement. You can simply click the blue Post button in the bottom right-hand corner and it will post immediately. Clicking on the down arrow next to post gives you a few options. You can choose schedule which allows you to schedule your announcement to post at a particular day and time. You can also choose Save Draft. This will save your announcement as a draft and you can come back to it later to continue editing it. Finally, you can choose Post which will post it immediately.
Having your classwork post to the stream is an option you have in Google Classroom. This is nice if you want your students to see both announcements and items that have been posted in the Classwork section on the stream. A downside to this is that they post in chronological order with the newest post at the top. Your stream can get cluttered quickly by enabling this. If you want to have your stream a little more streamline (see what I did there 😁), you can turn off posting classwork to the stream and only have announcements on the stream. To do this, simply head to the settings section of Google Classroom. The settings section can be found in the top right-hand corner under the gear icon (⚙️). After clicking on the gear icon, scroll down to the General section. There you will find an option for Classwork on the stream. You have three options when it comes to classwork on the stream:
If you have it set to show attachments and details, the announcement post will show the title of your assignment along with anything that you have linked in that announcement. Setting it to just show condensed notifications will just show the name of the assignment. Turning off notifications means anything you post in the Classwork section will not post to the stream. Some teachers enable this because they want their stream to just be announcements.
Once you have your stream settings configured the way you like and you are posting to it, you also have the option of choosing how your students can interact with items on the stream. You have three options for interactions on the stream:
Choosing students can post and comment means just what it says: students can post and comment on the stream. You would want to enable this if you want to have students begin classroom discussion on the stream. They can start their own post and comment on each other’s. Enabling students can only comment means that you the teacher creates the announcement/post but then students can comment on that post/announcement. Finally, setting the stream interaction to only teacher can post and comment means that you as the teacher are the only person who can post and comment on the stream. To your students, the stream basically becomes View Only.
As you can see, there is a lot that can be done with the stream in Google Classroom. The stream is important because it is the first thing your students see once they enter your Google Classroom so take the time to set it up exactly how you want that is going to be the most beneficial to both you and your students.