Grockit is a well-respected social learning platform that combines large libraries of content from curriculum experts, YouTube, local teachers, and instructors around the world with a competitive scoring system that allows students to post progress on Facebook and Twitter. The service has now come to Google Apps, making it the first fully educational app to hit the Marketplace.
Here's a quick video explaining more about Grockit, as well as its Google Apps integration:
As the Google Enterprise blog described, Grockit "provides students with collaborative, real-time study rooms and relevant coursework to achieve various educational goals...[that now leverages Google Apps]...Single sign-on, Google Calendar sync, Google Docs
Although the service will be $99/student in the future, schools have the opportunity to try it free for a year if they sign up before the end of 2010. Although $100/year sounds a bit steep, the service includes substantial value adds and could easily be used just with a subset of students or schools as appropriate for their needs. The volume of content, including pre-screened YouTube lectures and full RTI algorithms make it hard to ignore:
Students with Google Apps can sign on to Grockit through their Google account to instantly join live online study groups with Grockit’s global community of students and expert instructors. Students’ Google Calendars will be synced with their Grockit study session schedule to make sure they never miss a session or stray from their study plan. Additionally, important documents such as the Grockit “Getting Started Guide” will be automatically downloaded into their Google Docs.
The idea of social learning, however, has received considerable pushback from many parents, teachers, and administrators, concerned about any hooks into Facebook and other social media or about the very interactions that make these sorts of platforms engaging for students. Grockit, though, is one of the best, and provides powerful, pedagogically sound methods for students to learn with and through others. Hopefully, a partnership with Google through the Apps Marketplace will lend legitimacy and ease some of these fears, lowering barriers to entry into the social learning realm.