Google Classroom App Adds Customization, Efficiency Tools

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The Google Classroom app now allows students and teachers to customize a classroom’s theme with one’s own image as well as share videos, images, and text with one another easily, Google announced.

Google rolled out the new mobile version of the Google Classroom, with Vance Vagell, User Experience Prototyper at Google, saying of the new release that:

“In every classroom around the world, teachers spend time decorating their rooms by tacking up fun decorations and outstanding student work. Starting today, teachers can bring those same personal touches to Classroom by uploading their own images to use as themes. That’s just one of the little surprises we’ve sprinkled throughout Classroom to brighten your winter (or sweeten your summer, for our Southern Hemisphere friends).”

The updated Classroom app lets teachers and students choose their own theme for a class as well as attach to assignments any type of content to enrich it such as images and videos while viewing all of their material and resources on the About page. Teachers get a real-time assignment turn-in count so they know who’s completing work on time.

Google Classroom is a learning management system available for free to schools designed to help teachers save time, stay organized and make communication with their students easier.

Teachers can create virtual classrooms for each class they teach and then assign projects to students and send them virtual handouts, all the while keeping track assignment completion and grading work more efficiently.

Andover Central High School has implemented the free Google Classroom system and according to Soli Salgado of the Berkshire Eagle, both students and teachers had a short learning curve. An English teacher at Andover, Genesis Ackerman, said of her experience using the Google Classroom app:

“They can no longer lose assignments or not have their papers, because the drive is always with them and always available.”

Ackerman added, “if they’re absent, they can go online and see what they missed and what they should make up,” highlighting that the paperless classroom made possible with Google Classroom is optimizing learning for students and makes teachers’ life easier with improved organization.

Students can at a glance know which assignments are due and start working on them right away. Everything is taking place online, so there are fewer excuses as to missing a deadline, losing an assignment, or forgetting about a group project.

Phil Hill, ed-tech analyst at MindWires Consulting in California, says that it’s still early to tell whether Google Classroom can be a threat to the widely implemented learning management system Blackboard. As Phill Hill told Biz Journals staff writer Kasra Kangarloo, Google Classroom requires manual input from the teacher as opposed to more intuitive and automated learning management systems like Blackboard.

Up to this moment, Google’s Classroom expects that the teacher does everything manually, from creating a class to enrolling students. “They [Google] don’t get that deep into those types of messy problems,” he told Biz Journals.

The Google Classroom app is available for free to schools with a Google Apps for Education account.