The Essential Tool for Every School

Hāpara: The Essential Tool for Every Google Classroom School

I've seen one tool improve student engagement in Google Classroom significantly — Hāpara. While Google Classroom is can be taught, there are some problems with Google Classroom regarding engagement and simplicity. Google Classroom isn't always simple to use for students who struggle. Now, it is.

In this post, I’ll talk about typical problems with Google Classroom and how I've seen Hāpara help my students know what needs to be done.

This blog post is sponsored by Hāpara. All opinions are my own.

What are the problems with Google Classroom?

Due Date Problems. First, if an assignment has no due date in Google Classroom, students don’t realize they need to work on it. This is because, in Google Classroom, items without a due date don’t show up on the home page. Furthermore, if an assignment’s due date is too far in the future, students may not start work on it.

Marking “done” with no work. Another common problem happens when a student turns in the wrong work. Even worse, some students mark “done” without doing the work at all. When the teacher hands an assignment back with a zero, students don’t know the work is missing. It confuses students (and parents) why work with a zero doesn’t show as missing. They don’t know they have to click on View my Classwork in each class to see what is a zero. Additionally, Google takes all of these examples off the “To Do” list.

Parents can't see incomplete work. To further complicate things, parents checking behind their students can’t see incomplete work. This is because once a student marks an assignment as “done,” it is removed from the student’s list. (Even when work isn’t done.)

Google Classroom should be easier. In the end, students (and their parents) want Google Classroom to be simple. They also want one page to go to to be able to see everything. This is what Hāpara does!

How does Hāpara Student Dashboard help?

In the last two weeks, we have just implemented Hāpara Student Dashboard at my school. After surveying my students, all of them except one said they loved it. That one student already understood Google Classroom, and it was simple to him. He is an excellent student and didn't have any problems with Google Classroom.

However, most of my students do have problems with Google Classroom and often miss the work they need to do. I want to focus on the work not on the back and forth about what is missing! 

In fact, one student who hasn't been able to understand he has to mark things “done” claimed he had turned something in, and “Hāpara was wrong.” I was able to show him how he actually needed to start marking work as done. Hāpara's “overdue work” clearly showed what needed to be done.

Currently, there are many parents right now that want something simple; they're busy, they come back from work, and I think it's just they're overwhelmed. Hāpara can help them too!

In the end, I have found seven reasons the Hāpara Student Dashboard improves student engagement in Google Classroom.

7 Reasons the Hāpara Student Dashboard Improves Student Engagement 7 Reasons Hapara Student Dashboard Improves Engagement

1 – Assignments Are On One Page

Hāpara simplifies assignments for students for when and what needs to be done. All classes are shown on one page. Additionally, a student can filter by individual classes or see all of the classes together.

Also, overdue items are at the top so that students can see them clearly. Then, items without due dates are there as well. (Yes!)

So this Hāpara student dashboard is much improved over the to-do list that Google Classroom already has because things without due dates show up, and it's just on one page. So, Hāpara's great at simplifying things. 

2 – Private Messages and Graded Work

When students click the bell on the right, they can see things that have been handed back and all private messages.

With one click, they can see all graded work and private messages from teachers. 

3 – A Direct Link to Google Classroom

If students click on any assignments in the dashboard, it takes them directly to Google Classroom to get to that assignment. Whether it's a grade they received back, a private message, or an announcement, every link takes them to the place they need to go to Google Classroom.

It's all right there, and they don't miss anything if they click on the bell. 

4 – Direct Access to Gmail

If you use Gmail as your email client, they've also got direct access to Gmail. Students can see their Gmails that they've gotten from their teachers. Students can click and respond. So, literally, everything they need is on one simple page.

(If you don’t use Gmail, it is ok – we use Office 365, which works just fine; it just doesn’t show on the dashboard as Gmail does.)

5 – The Hāpara Student Dashboard is Customizable

You may laugh at this, but what my students liked most is they liked to change the color. They said they could personalize it, and the Google Classroom was kind of stale by itself.

So they loved being able to change the color and customize, and they all bookmarked it. They absolutely loved it.

6 – Due Dates or Not; Done or Not – Everything Shows Up

The items that don't have due dates also show so students can't really miss them. 

Another benefit happens when students complete the work for the day. The work still shows on the list, but it's marked through.

PARENT BENEFIT: So a parent could look at the work from today, see that there are four items done, that there's a line through it like one would on a to-do list.  The parents can know that those things were done, and they can even click on the assignment and make sure that their students had just “marked done” without turning in work. This is a game-changer and simplifier!

This points to another complaint with the To-Do list on Google Classroom, that once a student marked it done, even if a child hadn't done it, it disappears, and the parents don't know it's done. So a parent can see everything on the list that's marked through, double-check it, and have the kid unsubmit, and do the work. It just makes that so much simpler. 

7 – Google Classroom is Still There Unchanged

Hāpara doesn't mess up Google Classroom at all. You can still use Google Classroom the way you always have if you like. Everything is still there; Hāpara is just a simple add on. 

To go to the Hāpara dashboard, students go to, sign in with their school Google account, and it works. 

Hāpara Improves the Google Classroom Experience

Just remember, your school will need to purchase Hāpara, and it should be configured.

In conclusion, this tool is doing more to improve engagement than any other tool I've seen. It's very, very simple. It's so simple that you will be shocked and wonder why Google hasn't done it this way, but Hāpara has.

It's excellent, and I highly recommend the Hāpara Student Dashboard

Most importantly, my students recommend Hāpara too. Check it out!

(Hāpara has other analytic features and monitoring features you can check out as well.) 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere