In 2006, The Goog introduced Google Apps for Education (GAFE). GAFE is a suite of free, secure apps that includes both the standard Google products (gMail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Hangouts) as well as the not-as-popular production tools (Slides, Sheets and Sites). Students are automatically given 25GB of storage in Google Services and school administration is given access to
big brother Vault; a Google Business e-discovery and archiving app that manages and retains (and makes searchable) all emails and on-the-record chats which while evasive, seems like a good idea in this overly litigious society we now live in. Since it’s induction in 2006, GAFE now has over 20 million users (both domestic and international) and on August 13th Google announced the official release of it’s newest addition: Classroom.
According to Zach Yeskel, Product Manager for Google Classroom who announced the preview via Google’s official blog on May 6th 2014 (bka Teacher Appreciation Day) , this free GAFE integration tool will “give teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn.” Apart from assigning projects, instructors can dispense info, collect exercises and initiate real time discussions. Once an assignment is created in Classroom, Google Drive immediately sets up new folders for each assignment for each individual student. Students can keep track of which assignments are due, begin working and submit assignments all with one click. They can also consort and discuss anything via a Google+ style Assignment page. Classroom also has an impressive real-time collaborative aspect within their productivity suite for both students and teachers alike.
Google promises that by September, Classroom should be up, running and available to all institutions using GAFE. Google is not only revolutionizing the way teachers oversee their daily classroom activity, it is offering school districts a more convenient way for all parties involved to stay updated by making itself the central ecosystem while maximizing the way Google products (read: Chromebooks) are used. Both the GAFE suites and Classroom are free for schools and contain no ads. Google promises that it never uses the content nor the student data it
collects receives for advertising purposes.
So far Classroom is an invite-only type of party so if you have any teachers in your life who would like to take part in this, they can sign up here or inquire about additional information on how their local school can enroll. There is also this handy article that lists some great bullet points for presenting GAFE to your school administrators.
I must say I’m impressed. Being more than 10 years removed from the public school system (post and secondary), this looks awesome. We had nothing like this when I was in school. Google is clearly constructing a Jetson-style ‘classroom of the future’ by taking a process that some schools may have already been using and streamlining it. Bully tactics you say? Quite possibly but all’s fair in business and young minds evidently. Should my wee one’s school adopt this, I’d like to see how it works and if it’s as flawless and Google makes it out to be. Does anyone personally know a district already using this or is your school district using this? If so have it out in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading.Source: Google Classroom
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