Google’s Classroom education initiative launched just about half a year ago, but it’s been a web-based affair until now. Today marks the release of Classroom apps for iOS and Android, however, which should help build on the existing 30 million assignments that have been submitted via the platform since its debut. The Classroom mobile app lets students take photos and attach them to their assignments directly, share images, PDFs and more from other apps to Classroom, and provides offline caching so that they can work without a connection.
The native apps are a big step for Classroom, since the use of mobile devices in actual classrooms is on the rise. The web-based version still acts as a great hub for tracking everything at once, especially given the introduction of a new Teacher Assignments Page for the web-based version of Classroom, but mobile clients will help drive greater engagement and make it easier for both students and teachers to interact with the platform on a continuous basis. Classes can now be archived once they’re through to keep them out of the active stream and declutter things overall.
Classroom is designed to help Google capitalize on the existing use of Google Apps in education, as well as drive further adoption of said tools in schools. It’s a natural complement to the company’s success in getting Chromebooks adopted in educational institutions, and a mobile push serves students where they already are, and could potentially feed back to higher Chromebook adoption if users like what they find.
For teachers and students, the Classroom mobile apps may lead to some new unique use cases for Google’s education tool – Google points out, for instance, that the ability to snap a photo could provide a way for students to actually back up claims that they “forgot their homework at home,” since they can have a parent or relative take an actual picture that they can then submit via the app. Photo-, video- and app-based assignments are also options that might a lot of sense given our growing reliance on mobile software and devices.
Google promises more features for both iOS and Android apps to come, but for now it’s probably worth a download for educators just to check out where the search giant is headed in terms of its plans for the education market.