What does it mean for a classroom or a school to “go Google?” Google Classroom is changing the way classrooms function. With Google for Education, it’s easy to add Chromebooks and tablets to a class, a school, or a whole school district. Set up is simple. Google manages security, servers and updates so teachers can teach in new ways, giving them the ability to share and work together with their students. Google Classroom offers the right apps, books and videos for each student, so they can learn their own way.
Google Classroom is designed to be used by everyone involved in a student’s education. Currently over 20 million teachers and students use it to teach and learn together. New Google Classroom updates are making it easier for teachers, students, administrators and developers to be involved in advancing technology for use in the classroom. And it’s no surprise that user adoption is so high, as Google provides their tools for free. In a climate of tighter budgets, this alone makes it an attractive choice for many schools. Google Classroom features include:
Students have different learning styles and needs. Google Classroom is making it easier for teachers to find ways to make learning relevant to individual students. Classroom makes it easier for teachers to assign work based on the individual needs of the student. When they are setting up their lessons and assignments, teachers can now choose whether to share them with their whole classroom or a subset of students.
Google Classroom is one way in which Google is making significant changes in public education. Their goal is to prioritize student learning in the areas of teamwork and problem-solving while placing less emphasis on traditional knowledge, like mathematical formulas.
Some have questioned the motivation of Google for developing educational apps like Google Classroom. There is a concern that Google is collecting information about students and teachers and using that data for marketing purposes. Young people who become Google customers at a young age may become loyal to the technology giant, possibly throughout their lifetime. Since Google makes most of its revenue from advertising, there are concerns that mining data based on student’s online activities could be a major benefit to Google financially in the future, helping them gain market dominance. Google has responded to the accusations, saying Google does not show ads to students nor do they use personal data gleaned from student accounts to target ads.
It seems clear that Google is positioning themselves as a one-stop shop for technology in the educational field. And while millions of students and educators are finding great benefit in using these tools, adopting Google Classroom and other education apps is not without risk. It remains to be seen how effective Google will be in the learning management space, and whether they will become trusted partners in the advancement of education, or if educators will see Google’s self-interest or potential market dominance as too much of a liability.
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