Classroom already integrates with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, but with this update, Classroom will also automatically create a Google Calendar for each class so teachers can schedule field trips, guest speakers and other events.
For students, the most important changes, however, are likely the new features Google is adding to the Q&A and discussions features in Classroom. Teachers can now post questions to their class and (optionally) have students discuss each other’s answers (and teachers can then grade these, too).
“For example, you could post a video and ask students to answer a question about it, or post an article and ask them to write a paragraph in response,” Google engineer Will Phan explains. “Just like assignments, you have the choice to grade their answers.”
And when students see those assignments, they may just turn out to be reused assignments from other years, because Google Classroom now lets teachers more easily reuse assignments, announcements and questions from other classes they have taught. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you teach a class, after all.
Other new features in Classroom include the ability to bump old posts up, the ability to make due dates optional (which likely won’t help students who like to procrastinate), and (soon) integration with Google Forms for creating tests, quizzes and surveys.
Overall, this looks like a set of useful updates for both students and teachers. It’s been a year since Google first announced this platform. When Google launched a number of updates to Classroom in May of this year, the company said students had already turned in more than 70 million assignments.