Google is taking aim at the classroom, hoping to provide new tools for teachers and move education into the cloud.
NPR reports the Google Classroom tools will help teachers use technology to make classrooms more efficient – without a ton of tech know how.
Teachers can create a news feed for the class, upload assignments and other materials.
Teachers see instantly who has turned in their homework. They can start a class discussion and provide feedback and grades; students can see what's due and what's late. The whole package integrates with the rest of Google's apps, like Google Docs.
Zach Yeskel, product manager for Google Apps for Education, says Google "worked with innovative teachers to build their best practices and workarounds into the product. We really see Classroom as a tool that should be usable in any class setting to streamline universal workflows."
Google Classroom will also allow teachers to head off plagiarism by students.
But, it's not all good. Critics argue not every student will have access to internet or wi-fi, further highlighting the digital divide between the haves and have-nots. Others worry that, despite an altruistic veneer, it's a blatant attempt to introduce students to the Google brand at an early age.