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Google Education

Google Announces "Classroom" 143

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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  • weasel words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:16AM (#46939385)
    "never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes" isn't exactly reassuring. Let's see. Could be used for research purposes so that someone else can make money off the results. Could be used to recommend mind altering drugs. Could be used to report "violent tendencies" to the government. Could be used to refine profiles for making advertising more effective on kids outside the class setting.
  • by metalmaster ( 1005171 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:22AM (#46939437)
    This has that misfit stank all over it. Google will be all excited to get it out into the world. They'll let you play with it for a semester or 2 and then it'll get the axe or be absorbed as feature bloat into some other project.
  • Re:weasel words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:48AM (#46939719) Homepage Journal

    It's too bad the way Google shot their credibility to hell. A decade ago, there was boundless enthusiasm for everything google did, and now they've made it clear that they're trying to funnel you into their advertising-revenue-maximizing subsystems, regardless of what you actually want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:48AM (#46939733)

    I think their greater advantage would be the lock in effect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:54AM (#46939797)

    Think through very carefully your proposition. Volunteer teachers would be ideologues.

  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:00AM (#46939879)

    This is obviously to get people hooked at a younger age and create a generation of even more dependant people.
    You used to be able to do classwork and homework with just paper, no tech giants involved, no e-mail sent to you by the teacher, no real time data of what everybody has done by the minute.. If you had to write an essay till Thursday, nobody would know before Thursday 2 AM that you've not written anything yet.

    The pupils (I don't think you're a "student" at high school) will be tied to a keyboard or tablet for the most basic of interactions, and in the folowing years will be incapable to live without tech gadgets in direct reach at all time so smart phones and the reduced capability computer that are tablets will be virtually mandatory if you don't want to end up as beggar on the street, just like a car got mandatory in the second half of the 20th century. Google services and Android will profit (and a few competitors and fuckbook). Extreme consumerism will be unescapable. You will need more and more dirtily-made LCD displays and li-ion batteries to not get shunned.

    The privacy is not limited to advertisers.. With such systems the teachers and parents will have too much data already, or even the pupils themselves. Data will leak in various ways (if only by way of copy-paste, screenshots, forwarding and looking at something entering their password)
    Then when you leave high school you have to take a conscious approach into not using Google services and such, else you will get data mined, as Google effectively promises it.

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

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:33AM (#46940257)

    My guess is they are building a currently-latent profile that will be used for targeting ads once the kid leaves school

    Maybe. My guess is that this is an attack on Microsoft. By getting an entire generate of young people used to Google Docs, they can kill Microsoft Office, and deprive Microsoft of their main cash cow. My son is in 4th grade in a California public school, and they already use Google Docs to do much of their school work. The teacher can see their progress, and track their work from outline, to draft, to polished report. It seems to work well, and I am glad to see Google putting more effort into it.

  • by neorush ( 1103917 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:58AM (#46940555) Homepage
    ...well at least for the next 3-5 years until we decide to cancel this project.
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @02:11PM (#46941949) Homepage Journal

    Google is a for-profit publicly traded company with a legal obligation to make as much money as (legally) possible for their shareholders.

    This isn't true for Google, and in fact it's not true for many corporations.

    What corporations are legally obligated to do is to fulfill the promises made in their articles of incorporation and in their statements to prospective shareholders during offerings (public and otherwise). Generally, these documents specify profit as the primary motive, but they often include caveats which allow the company to seek other goals alongside or perhaps even to the detriment of profits.

    Google's documents, in particular, include a lot of such weaseling. The primary document to consider is the founders' letter to prospective shareholders [] during the IPO, in which they set the expectation for the shares people buy. That letter specifically announced the intention of the founders to maintain control of the company so that it does not have to be motivated entirely by profit motive, and particularly not by short-term profit motive.

    (Disclaimer: I work for Google, and hold a small number of Google shares -- most received as part of my hiring bonus -- but I don't speak for Google. This erroneous notion that corporations are legally obligated to generate maximum profits is one that bothered me long before joining Google and indeed I made posts very similar to this one long before going to work for Google.)

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith