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Google Classroom a first look

Update: Classroom has now been launched and should be available to all gafe domains now. Google documentation can be found here. Key differences from the pre-release shown below:

  • Teachers can now see and comment on work in progress.
  • Teachers can create a 'class information' page that sets out resources for the class. 

I've just been playing with Google Classroom. This is a tool that allows you to setup classes, share content and set assignments. The interface can be found at At the moment, you need an invite to have a go with it, but its due for general release in a month or two.

Video of Student and Teacher View:

The interface has been beautified from the demo I saw the other week and feels very slick to use.

I found adding students to a group rather tricky. I have all my students in Google Groups (we use Teacher Dashboard which sets these up). While I could select a group to add, I got an error message when trying to add them. This would be the quick way to setup a class.

This meant I had to add students one at a time. You can browse your entire Google Apps directory to add students or search for them.  Browsing the directory with 1000's of users is rather impractical, so I used the search option and found them that way. Now I only had 3 students in the class - so this was OK. However, a teacher who has 10 classes of 25-30 students won't do this.

The way round this could be to give the students the class join code - each class has one of these. However, this relies on all students doing something.

I made a video of me figuring out how to use it - from the teacher and the students point of view. I might make something slicker in due course - but it will give you a idea of what its all about.

I think, as long as adding students gets a bit slicker, it looks like a great tool. If you already use Teacher Dashboard, its certainly not a replacement and I believe they will be adding the 'submit assignment' functionality. However, as a free add on to Google Apps for Education it looks great.

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