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Google Education

Google Announces "Classroom" 143

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the anything-is-better-than-blackboard dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Meet your new 'Room Mom', kids! On Tuesday, Google announced a preview of Classroom, a new, free tool in the Google Apps for Education suite. From the announcement: 'With Classroom, you'll be able to: [1] Create and collect assignments: Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. They can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students. [2] Improve class communications: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class. [3] Stay organized: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what's due on their Assignments page.'

Addressing privacy concerns, Google reassures teachers, 'We know that protecting your students' privacy is critical. 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.' After the recent torpedoing of Bill Gates' $100M inBloom initiative, Google might want to have a privacy pitch ready for parents, too!"
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Google Announces "Classroom"

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  • by Galaga88 (148206) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:24AM (#46939469)

    As somebody whose job is to work with Blackboard on a daily basis, I really really hope this puts the fear of God into Blackboard.

    I don't even necessarily want to switch to this, just introduce some competition that Blackboard can't buy out, and has to step up their game to match.

  • Re:weasel words (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:51AM (#46939769)

    right - no sensible or aware person would willingly choose to get involved in yet another google boondoggle product.

    privacy is NOT what they exist for; in fact, they exist for 100% the opposite! to collect, sort, analyse and market your info to their real customers.

    businesses that choose to get in bed with google 'data' are either ignorant or on the take, one way or another. no one with any respect for users will ever voluntarily choose to do business with google ever again.

  • by i.r.id10t (595143) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:54AM (#46939793)

    I am the LMS Admin at the college I work for... when BB bought WebCT support dropped. We moved to Angel, things weren't much better and then BB bought Angel. When we started looking at new LMSes (LMSii ?) 2 years ago, it was decided that BB is a company we didn't want to do business with. Our short list got down to Canvas and D2L. We went with Canvas. It is Open Source (AGPLv3), it works much better than Angel did, and they actually fix bugs and implement features that teachers and admins want.

  • Re:weasel words (Score:3, Informative)

    by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:10AM (#46939987)
    TANSTAAFL
  • Why do we need this? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:41AM (#46940355)

    [1] Create and collect assignments: Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly.

    To "create assignments", I make a pdf in my favorite pdf-maker, then post it on the course website (a plain HTML page with links), then tell the students about it.
    To "collect assignments", I tell the students to email them to the course submission email -- shared between the lead instructor and the grader, if there is one.

    They can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students.

    I don't have the time to play policeman ("I see little Susie hasn't even started coding yet and the homework's due tomorrow"); if Susie wants my help she has my email.

    [2] Improve class communications: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.

    I can best "improve class communications" by talking to the damn students. If they want to talk to me and I'm around, there's email or coming by my office; if I don't respond to either, then chances are I won't be reachable by google widget, either.

    [3] Stay organized: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what's due on their Assignments page.'

    They can easily see what's due by visiting the course website and seeing "Homework 4 (link) -- due Monday, April 14".
    Sorting things by assignment and by student is as simple as asking them to include their name and the assignment number in their submission, and running a perl script. For less technically inclined teachers, use whatever file-sifting features your OS of choice has.

    I've seen highly-technologized courses run way off the rails, because there's a delusion that fancy computerization can take the place of talking to the students. It can't. The only instructional technology I really have a need for is:

    1) The computers that we actually use (I teach computational physics)
    2) A projector, so I can show them examples
    3) A website, where they can download shit (pdf's of assignments and notes) and see what's due
    4) Email

  • by i.r.id10t (595143) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:47AM (#46940433)

    The work flow of creating classes, and the overall initial impression of the look and feel. We had a committee of almost 60 people - an instructor or two from every academic department/discipline, our IT department, my department (academic technology)

    The big thing that convinced me to vote for Canvas was that in Canvas the HTML editor that is present basically everywhere you can input text has a widget that allows you to record voice/video direct from your computer (mic for audio only, webcam for audio and video), gets saved directly to Canvas, gets converted on the back end by Kaltura, and is served up in an appropriate format for whatever device is being used to view it. This is a big game changer for foriegn language, public speaking, any course that requires a student to make a presentation. Even changes math instruction - instructors can point a webcam at a piece of paper on the desk and work thru a problem, giving a voice over while showing the work being done.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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