Google today launched a new free tool called Classroom as part of its Google Apps for Education suite. In short, Classroom helps teachers create and organize assignments, provide feedback to their students, and communicate with their classes.

Google says Classroom, which is still in preview, is based on the principle that “educational tools should be simple and easy to use” and is designed “to give teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn.” Here is what the company is promising the tool will offer:

  • Create and collect assignments: Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. They can quickly see who has or hasn’t completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students.
  • Improve class communications: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.
  • Stay organized: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what’s due on their Assignments page.

Teachers and professors can apply for a preview of Classroom over at classroom.google.com/signup. Google says that based on the requests it receives, the company will invite a limited number of educators to try Classroom “in about a month.”

01 Student Class Cards 1 Google debuts Classroom, a free Apps for Education tool to help teachers create and collect assignments

By September, Google plans to have Classroom available to all schools using Google Apps for Education. Developers can also sign up here to learn about integrating with Classroom.

Today’s launch comes less than a week after Google stopped scanning emails for Education users and serving them ads. This allows Google to make the following statement: “Like the rest of our Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free for schools.”

While we can’t commend Google for taking so long to change its stance on student privacy, the company is clearly pushing its education efforts once again. That’s definitely an initiative we can get behind.

Top Image Credit: Kimhiro Hoshino/Getty Images