After releasing a preview in May, Google is making its free Classroom tool available for anyone with a Google Apps for Education account.

Classroom offers a single dashboard and unified system for Google’s other services, such as Docs, Drive and Gmail, so that teachers can easily deliver classroom materials and assignments with their students.

Lecturers can create new classes and manually add students, or share a unique code so that relevant learners can add quickly add themselves. Likewise, assignments can be set up at any time from the Google Apps dashboard, with all the necessary information (assignment name and synopsis, deadline) and optional work materials linked from Drive, a webpage or YouTube video.

Furthermore, teachers can set the privileges for Docs/Drive files between: Students can view file, Students can edit file, and Make a copy for each student. The latter is particularly important, as it quickly duplicates worksheets, tests and so forth so that students aren’t overwriting each other’s work.

Students have access to a similar dashboard and can then work on their assignments in Google Docs. As learners turn in their projects, teachers are able to monitor exactly who has missed (or is likely to miss) the deadline, review work, provide grades and individual feedback.

Since the preview was released, Google says over 100,000 teachers from more than 45 countries have signed up. That initial period has also shaped the product; a number of users said they wanted to be able to collaborate with students while an assignment is ongoing, and Google has responded with updates that allow them to view and comment on work before a deadline.

“We’ve also heard that educators want a simple place to post information and materials about their classes, so we added an ‘About’ page for each course as well,” the company said in a blog post.

You can try out Classroom right now. The service is available in 42 different languages, including Hebrew, Arabic and Persian.

Google Classroom

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