Google Classroom goes live

When Google first got involved with EdX in September last year, I guessed that a Google-based educational management service couldn’t be far off. Earlier this year, Classroom was announced and the public previews started in July to selected Beta users. Today, Google Classroom is live for all Google Apps for Education domains. Earlier in the week saw a staggered roll-out to selected domains.

Classroom is linked very closely with Google Drive which is used to manage the back-end of the assignment process. For those that have played with “Doctopus” – a plugin for Google Sheets that manages document distribution and privileges within Drive – will appreciate the improved simplicity of this task in Classroom.

Classroom is nowhere near as fully featured as Moodle, and probably intentionally so. I guess that Classroom will see a much quicker uptake in schools, not because it is more useful than Moodle, but because of its tight integration with the rest of the Google services – specifically Drive.

As with any Google service, the goal is to release early, and update frequently. This is also true of Classroom.

During the preview, one of the notable weaknesses of Classroom was the fact that there was no “static” content page. Instead, everything in Classroom had to form part of this timeline of activity and announcements which meant that course materials would drift away and out of the timeline, however, that feature was rolled out earlier this week.

Another frequently requested feature was the ability for teachers to review assignments in progress but which had not yet been submitted – in the aims of monitoring progress and providing formative comments to perhaps guide the pupil in their work.

I’m looking forward to showing our staff what can be done in Classroom and seeing how they make use of it.