Google unveils free Classroom tool for educators

The new "Classroom" tool integrates Google Docs, Drive, and Gmail to make IT use in the classroom easier.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Google has launched Classroom, a tool for teachers which aims to make IT use in the classroom and online communication streamlined and simplified.

The classroom-friendly tool integrates Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail in order to encourage teachers to use the services for assigning and collecting work online, as well as communicate easily with students in and outside of the classroom. In addition to collecting work electronically, Google School allows teachers to see who has and has not completed work, make announcements, and use separate Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students are able to post to a "steam" of content and posts in order to communicate with and assist classmates.

The tech giant's Classroom product manager Zach Yeskel announced the service in a blog post, and insisted that student privacy will be upheld. The free service, in the same manner as Microsoft's recently launched "Bing in the Classroom," will be ad-free and will not use content or student data for marketing purposes. In addition, the service costs nothing for schools to use.

Classroom will be offered within the Google Apps for Education suite, and provides access to standard services including email, calendars, planning and document creation.

Yeskel commented:

As a former high school math teacher, I know all too well that teachers spend a ton of valuable time doing things other than teaching — waking up early to grade quizzes, collecting and returning piles of paper assignments, and battling copy machine paper jams. But with today's technology it doesn’t have to be this way.

Many teachers and professors have found ways to use technology to be better educators and avoid busy work. We spent the past year working closely with many educators to understand the systems they use to simplify their workloads, so they can get back to doing what they love — teaching.

After working with over a dozen pilot schools and universities, Google is now allowing teachers to apply for a preview of Classroom, and will soon invite education professionals to try out the full system. The tech giant expects to release Classroom to the masses by September.

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