Google Classroom gains collaboration, class management features

Google Classroom is a free software available to Apps for Educations customers

Google has added features to Google Classroom to make the educational software more collaborative, and to beef up its class management capabilities.

Launched last year, Google Classroom has served largely as a site for teachers to create and collect assignments for their students. The free service is available to anyone with a Google Apps for Education account; it integrates with apps like Google Docs and Google Drive.

Now, Google is adding tools to make the service more collaborative between students and teachers, and provide additional management and organization tools to teachers.

Teachers will now be able to post questions to their class and allow students to have discussions by responding to each others' answers, Google said in a blog post on Monday. Teachers could post a video and ask students to answer questions about it, or post an article and ask students to respond.

Other changes, most of which will be rolling out this week, include the ability to make due dates optional, and the ability to attach a Google Form to a post.

Also, in the next month, the software will automatically create a calendar for each of a teacher's classes in Google Calendar. Teachers will be able to view the calendar from within Classroom or on Google Calendar, where teachers can manually add class events like field trips, Google said.

Finally, the changes will let teachers reuse old assignments previously given using the software. Google describes this tool as a time-saving feature because it will let teachers make changes to the old assignment without having to recreate it from scratch.

Next week, Google will hold an event during which it will announce some other updates to its products for teachers and students.

Google Classroom is accessible on the desktop as well as on mobile apps for Android and iOS.

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