With the pilot phase completed, Google Classroom is now live for all Google Apps for Education users. Designed to be a free learning management system, Classroom laces together the functionality found within Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail in an effort to help teachers “save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.”
Behaving as a support system, tools like Classroom aim to minimize the administrative effort required by teachers so they can focus more on educating their students instead of pushing paper. Designed to offer a paperless assignment workflow, teachers are able to create, review, and grade assignments quickly and easily. If students are struggling to complete activities, or need additional help, educators are able to collaborate and communicate with individuals directly –offering assistance as it is required.
Students are also supported by Classroom, with an Assignments page that lets them keep track of assignments and their due dates. Parents will also appreciate this centralized hub approach as it provides a realistic overview of what their child should be working on, as well as the specifications for each item.
Other features of the system include: student and teacher participation in class discussions, sharing resources among classmates, and access to class materials (which can be automatically filed into folders in Google Drive). Security is also a critical part of Classroom; there are no ads, and the content (including student data) is never used for advertising purposes.
Classroom brings Google’s educational offering full circle: Google laptops run Google apps that allow students to complete assignments through Google Classroom. This strategy is not a foreign concept, you may recall just how many Apple personal computers were in schools during the early 1980’s –this was no coincidence. Increasing adoption of Google products and services is almost certainly going to increase brand loyalty: when these students mature into smartphones and tablets, they will be familiar with Google and there will be a feeling of compatibility… and the rest of the family is likely to follow suit.
During the pilot phase, more than 100,000 educators located in more than 45 countries signed up and provided feedback and suggestions.