With Google Classroom, Google aims to capitalize on the traction gained by GoogleApps for Education and Chromebooks.In order to take advantage of the growing success of Chromebooks and Google Appsfor Education, Google has launched Google Classroom, a new tool to improveorganization and collaboration for teachers and students working with GoogleApps.Chromebooks made a rocky debut into the PC market when the first went on sale inthe summer of 2011. While they have achieved moderate success in the consumerspace and the enterprise, they really taken off in education. Earlier this year,Chromebooks were 20% of the educational market and they are now in nearly 10,000new schools.google classroom“Today, many teachers and professors have found ways to use technology to bebetter educators and avoid busy work. We have more than 30 millionstudents,teachers and administrators using Google Apps for Education to communicate,collaborate and work with students more efficiently and with Classroom our goal isto make these products even better for them,” said Zach Yeskel, product manager ofClassroom.According to Google’s website, “Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive andGmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedbackefficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. And it lets studentsorganize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with theirteachers and peers.”Previously, educators and school administrators relied on third-party tools like theHapara dashboard. Now that Google has a proprietary tool to assist withcommunication in the classroom, it is positioning itself as a one-stop shop foreducational technology; addressing the major issues that popped up when teachers
first began using Google Apps for Education.Classroom creates Drive folders for classes and assignments and gives teachersreal-time feedback on which students have completed the work. Teachers can makeannouncements and pose questions to the class, and students can post questions tothe stream to assist their fellow classmates. The website also mentions, “Classroomcontains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes,and is free for schools.” This follows their blog post last week announcing theGoogle would discontinue the option for ads and not pull student data for ads.One issue that could prove detrimental to the adoption of Google Classroom is therisk-averse nature of education institutions. Learning management systems (LMS),which Classroom is roughly equivalent to, are scrutinized in education like an ERPor CRM would be scrutinized in the enterprise. Schools are looking for a system thatthey can adopt for the long-term, and Google’s history throwing tools out into themarket and quickly pulling them back could end up causing them problems ineducation.“To commit and to move your entire learning environment over to Classroom wouldbe a risk, unless you thought that Google really was intent to keep this applicationgoing, enhancing it and improving it,” said Marti Harris, who covers educationallearning systems for Gartner. Adding, “Google’s going to have to prove themselvesthat they’re willing to stay in this game.”Harris also noted that it makes sense that Google would provide a platform for alearning experience if they wish to continue marketing Chromebooks to theenterprise. But, at the same time, Google has to prove that this tool isn’t goinganywhere if it wants to grow its adoption rate. Most educational institutions thatuse an LMS view it as a critical application and they aren’t agile enough toconstantly shift direction.There is a trend to move LMS to the cloud, and a trusted name like Google couldgarner some attention from proponents of a cloud-based system. Getting itsproducts into the hands of students and teachers is a win-win for Google. Not onlydo they capture more market share for Chromebooks and Google Apps, but theyalso have the opportunity to make a lasting impression on these users as well.“If nothing else, the reason that they’re doing the non-fee based arrangement witheducation is to build brand loyalty and application loyalty, so that when [students]leave education and go into the workplace they’ll want to stay with what they knowas productivity tools,” Harris said.Regardless, the interesting question is whether Google is hoping to compete in theLMS space, or use its foray into education primarily as a way to promote itsproducts?Educators who are interested in previewing Classroom can sign up here. Developers
and partners who are interested in integrating classroom can sign up here.Classroom will be available to the public by September.
Source: Education News