We’re a bit late to the story, but late last week Google’s school tool Classroom got a big update to help teachers assign and manage students’ work, as well as analytics, notifications and an overhauled API for integration with other apps.

In case you weren’t aware, Classroom is an extension to the normal Google suite of apps like Google Docs, Sheets and so on, with extra tools for teachers.

At its most basic, Classroom allows teachers to assign and see students’ work written in Google Docs and monitor their progress towards goals. It’s one of a number of classroom management tools available, but has the advantage that it’s developed by Google, so the online apps are very good, and can work with other applications such as digital textbooks and learner management systems.

The new update refines the way teachers can assign work, with the ability to send any kind of test or coursework to a whole class, individuals or a group of students based on any predefined criteria – for example by ability or just because the class has been split into groups.

There’s also a new set of notifications which include due dates and resubmissions.  Most important, however, are likely to be the new analytics tools which bring all the data gathered with Classroom into one control panel, to help teachers’ assess and monitor progress for groups and individuals in a lot more detail.

We’ve not heard of any schools locally which are using Google’s Classroom system, but we’d love teachers to get in touch if you are. With the ever increasing focus on technology in our public schools it’ll be interesting to see if the big G has a place either as a rival to or working alongside some of the excellent locally developed classroom software such as IT Schools Innovation, MIB Software and the increasingly well-funded Snapplify. Especially given it’s slick mobile interface that may be very useful for local learners.

Another thing that local schools will like is that it’s free to use in monetary terms. The cost, of course, is that all students will need a Google account and will therefore be sharing all school data with Google, of course.


Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.