Classroom will be built into the Google Apps for Education suite and promises to help teachers both create and organize assignments, communicate with their classes, and provide feedback to students individuals. The launch comes just a week after the company announced that it would no longer scan the emails of educators and insert ads accordingly. This change in policy gave the company the opportunity to state, “Like the rest of our Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free for schools.”
While Classroom remains in “preview” the company has explained that “educational tools should be simple and easy to use” and that Classroom was designed “to give teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn.” While Classroom does provide a lot of features, the Khan Academy offers more real-time tracking of students. That said, Classroom is considerably easier for teachers to get started when it is made available.
Google Classroom features
Some of the features that the company is offering with Classroom:
- A platform that combines Google Docs, Drive, and Gmail to facilitate teachers in the creation and collection of assignments without the use of paper. Teachers are shown in a glance who has finished the work and allows teachers to directly address individual students with feedback on their work.
- Improved communication by allowing teachers to ask questions, make announcements and talk with students in real time.
- Classroom weaves other apps together in a way that a Drive folder is automatically created for each assignment for each child making it easier for students to see what is coming due.
Signup for teachers and developers
Starting today, teachers and professors can fill out an application for a preview of Classroom by clinking this link classroom.google.com/signup. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) doesn’t know how many will take advantage of the offer but will begin inviting selected educators to test-drive Classroom “in about a month.”
It’s Google’s hope that Classroom will be available to all schools using Google Apps for Education in September. Developers were also given a link today to learn how they might integrate their offerings into Classroom.
While it’s taken quite a while for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to change its advertising policy for students, the change is welcome and it’s difficult to pan the company for taking education seriously and offering free applications to teachers and students.