Google Classroom And G Suite Guide
As teachers and students alike move toward integrating virtual learning platforms into their regular educational experience, it’s important to choose the right tools that will improve this experience rather than complicate or detract from it. Google Classroom and G Suite for Education are two such tools that have become increasingly popular.
Google Classroom is a free web platform or service for schools that simplifies the learning experience for educators, students, administrators, and parents. It is included in G Suite for Education, which is a set of cloud computing, productivity, and collaboration products and tools. Both are either free or offer free versions and are popular tools for integrated and virtual learning.
Though linked as part of the same platform, there are some key differences in the features and functions each product includes.
Understanding Google Classroom and G Suite
Both Google Classroom and G Suite have the following characteristics:
- Easy to sign up for an account, learn the platform, and use the features
- Accessible from any device and linked across all Google tools
- User-friendly and intuitive for people of all backgrounds and abilities
- Streamlines all aspects of learning, including sharing files and grading
- Provides a superior educational experience for all users
- Let’s learn a little more about each one.
As the name implies, Google Classroom is an online classroom that can be used for virtual learning. Teachers and students can gather together online to learn new subjects, discuss upcoming tests, and more. Parents can even join for conferences and special events.
Besides offering an online gathering space, Google Classroom also features a variety of functions that simplifies creating lessons, grading assignments, sharing files, and more.
Users and Accounts
Google Classroom is available for users who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Schools – must be using G Suite for Education.
- Individuals – must be over 13 years of age and have a personal Google Account*.
- Organizations – must be using G Suite for Nonprofits
*Children under the age of 13 should only use Classroom with a G Suite for Education or Nonprofits account.
Users with school accounts, personal Google accounts, and G Suite accounts can all access Google Classroom. Depending on the learning setting needed, each type of account has its own benefits and drawbacks. But generally, it’s recommended that students and teachers have G Suite accounts so that they can access Classroom features. The types of user accounts are outlined below:
School Account – These accounts are for individuals at accredited schools using G Suite for Education. An institution’s IT administrator creates and manages these types of accounts and provides individuals with emails and passwords. Parents and guardians can’t access Google Classroom or student assignments, but can receive email summaries with teacher permission. Best for: individuals like teachers and students within a school, organization, or company.
Personal Account – These accounts are for individuals using Google Suite products. Each individual creates and manages their own account. Students can access Google Classroom, but don’t have access to certain features: students can’t email classmates, and teachers can’t invite guardians to sign up for email summaries. Best for: pairing with Classroom outside of a school setting, such as a tutoring center, homeschooling, etc.
G Suite Account – These accounts are for large organizations running G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise, or G Suite for Nonprofits. An organization’s admin creates and manages these types of accounts and provides individuals with emails and passwords. Best for: large organizations and companies, such as the school itself.
Users can join classes creates by other account types, but it depends on what account types and G Suite versions are being used by the student and primary teacher. Reference this FAQ chart to see which accounts can join classes under what circumstances.
Google Classroom can be accessed online or as an app on iOS, Android, and Chrome devices.
Features and Functions
Once Google Classroom is set up, teachers, students, guardians, and administrators will all have access to a variety of actions. The chart below, courtesy of Google Classroom’s About page, outlines these features and functions.
Google Classroom Actions
Parents / Guardians
G Suite For Education
G Suite for Education is a collection of products and services like Google Classroom that expands beyond the teaching sphere and provides an online suite for all aspects of educational instruction and communication. Whereas Google Classroom is mainly for teacher and student interaction, G Suite connects all employees and staff.
Versions and Accounts
G Suite for Education comes in two versions: a free version that includes Google Classroom and an upgraded Enterprise version that costs a yearly user fee. A pricing breakdown is available here.
The free version offers a comprehensive suite of tools that makes it easy for students and educators to connect and learn, while G Suite Enterprise includes all of the features from the free version and includes added security, data features, and digital learning tools. The differences are outlined in the chart below:
G Suite for Education
G Suite Enterprise for Education
Institution-Wide Email with Gmail
Shared Calendars with Calendar
Collaboration and Learning Tools
Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Assignments, Sites, and Groups
Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Assignments, Sites, and Groups
Video and Voice Conferencing
Originality Reports Capabilities
eDiscovery for Emails, Chats, and Files
Security and Admin
Data and Insights
- Co-edit documents, spreadsheet, and presentations in real time
- Connect classrooms with email, chat, and video
- Create classes, make assignments, give quizzes, and save time grading
- Build to-do lists, create task reminders, and schedule meetings
- Manage students, devices, and security
- Some of the most commonly-used G Suite tools include:
G Suite Actions
Find assignments, communicate with teachers, and receive feedback and grades.
Create quizzes, surveys, and interactive in-class activities
Mark upcoming events and assignments and create appointment slots to meet with students and/ or guardians
Store, organize, and access assignments, documents, and class curricula
Use voice typing or a screen-reader, connect a Braille display, or turn on closed captions