Google Announces New Learning Management System

Google ClassroomClassroom is a new, free tool coming to Google Apps for Education that helps teachers easily and quickly create and organize assignments, provide feedback, and communicate with their classes” (Source). “Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease…it lets students organize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers” (Source).

The following video highlights the experiences of some of the teachers and students who provided feedback as Google developed Classroom.

Benefits for Classes

Easy to Set up

Teachers can add students directly or share a code with their class to join. It takes just minutes to set up.

Saves Time

The simple, paperless assignment workflow allows teachers to create, review, and grade assignments quickly, all in one place.

Improves Organization

Students can see all of their assignments on an assignments page, and all class materials are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive.

Enhances Communication

Classroom allows teachers to send announcements and questions instantly. Since students can post to the stream, they can help out their classmates.

Affordable and Secure

Like the rest of our Google Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free for schools.

For more info or to request an invite to Google Classroom, visit http://www.google.com/edu/classroom

While I agree with Joshua Kim that this announcement by Google focused on K-12 education has little direct impact immediately on higher education, providing an increasing number of elementary and secondary students access to LMS-type technologies has the potential to further grow the expectations of students when they arrive at the postsecondary level for faculty to effectively make use of online technologies in their teaching. And, any additional competition in the online educational technology space will only help spur future innovation.

What is your response to this latest announcement by Google? Are you planning on requesting an invite? Will there be interest by teachers at your school to try Google Classroom? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Google launches a microblogging tool: Google Buzz

Google recently announced Google Buzz, a new microblogging tool integrated within Gmail designed for starting conversations about the things you find interesting. Here’s a quick video introduction to Google Buzz:

It will be interesting to see how Google Buzz can be leveraged for learning opportunities. Since Google Buzz is integrated in Gmail, you won’t have to create a new account or password to use it. This should make Buzz easily accessible to students and teachers that are using Gmail but yet at the same time will isolate users who don’t or choose not to have a Gmail account.

What are your thoughts about Google Buzz? Might you consider trying it either Buzz in your classroom?

Google Social Search

Google has unveiled a new experiment called “Social Search” that adds results from members of one’s public “social graph” to search results. This video explains how this new, experimental feature works:

Sound intriguing? Take a look at this demo video:

I’ve created my Google profile and have joined the Google experiment. I’ll no doubt be tweeting my experience in the days ahead. How might Google Social Search impact teaching and learning?

Using Forms in Google Docs

Google Docs includes a very easy-to-use forms tool that can be used for simple online surveys or other basic data collection activities. Here’s a quick introduction to using forms in Google Docs:

How might use of the data collection features of the Forms tool in Google Docs be helpful in an education context? Beyond online surveys, what other applications come to mind? When would you not want to use a Google Form? Leave a comment with your ideas!

Customized maps using Google Maps

Have you ever wanted a customized map for a special trip or event? Give Google’s “My Map” feature a try. Here’s a quick video that explains how to create a customized map in Google Maps.

The next time you need a customized map, give Google’s “My Maps” feature a try!