Back in May, Google announced the limited preview of Classroom, a tool that aims to make it easier for teachers to stay in touch with their students and to give them assignments and feedback. Google says more than 100,000 educators from 45 countries signed up to try it since then. Today, it is throwing the doors wide open, and anyone with a Google Apps for Education account can now use the service.
Classroom, which is now available in 42 languages, gives teachers access to a content management system that allows them to post updates and homework assignments, add and remove students from their classes, and provide them with feedback (including grades). Unsurprisingly, the service is deeply integrated with Google Drive and the productivity applications, such as Google Docs and Slide.
The service is free for schools as part of the Google Apps for Education suite.
Classroom is only one of Google’s many initiatives to get schools to use its services (over using Apple’s or Microsoft’s offerings, for example). The company has found a niche for its Chromebooks in schools, for example. With Google Play for Education, it also offers teachers and schools a way to easily buy Android apps and books and — even more importantly – distribute them to their students.
With Classroom, Google closes the loop. Students can use their Google laptops with Google’s apps, write their papers in Google Docs and then submit them through Classroom. It’s for teachers and parents to decide whether they want to make Google such a central hub in their students’ educations, but it’s clearly more convenient for everybody involved to stay within one ecosystem than to have to juggle two or more.