Since its launch in August 2014, Google Classroom as completely revolutionized the education world. Kids today think of Google Docs as more useful than a notepad and paper and are completely used to working in a range of situations that are different to the old desks-in-a-row classroom.
The search engine giant pushed the envelope even further with their Chromebooks – a pared-down laptop that works with their own operating system. The entire Google ecosystem is geared towards working in the cloud and collaborating through technology. It’s incredibly forward-thinking and has got a lot of schools jumping firmly onboard.
The Educator Program
One of the ways that Google managed to solidify its position as the top provider for EdTech is through their Educator initiative. The company actually reached out to teachers across the USA, UK and EU to show them exactly what is possible with their technology. This was particularly effective in the USA because contacting teachers directly meant they got to bypass the slower, more process driven district levels.
Google offered teachers the opportunity to trial the devices and apps in the classroom for free. Microsoft and Apple, on the other hand, were pushing schools to invest in something that they hadn’t had a chance to try out and didn’t know how it was going to work.
At the start of the EdTech revolution in the 2010s, very few people were using devices effectively in the classroom and so much of it was unchartered waters. When Google gave teachers the devices to trial and came to the schools to show them how to get the most out G Suite for Education, they opened the world’s eyes to the possibilities.
The Low Cost Option
Another big factor that Google got right was the cost-effectiveness of their solution. Most of the Google Classroom apps are all available online for free. People can use any device (smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, etc.) to connect to their Google account and gain access to those apps. School students could all have a secure email address, a shareable calendar, the full use of the file storage and sharing app Drive and the likes of Docs, Sheets and Slides (Google’s answer to Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
Google Classroom also includes a number of other features such as a way for students to receive assignment instructions and submit the finished project. Teachers can also create knowledge hubs where students can go to explore a particular topic for a project, extra credit or just for the sake of learning. All lessons can also be stored digitally so that students have access to them at any time.
All of this power is available to teachers and students in the free apps, much like you’d find online roulette and other games too. Then, there are some apps that you can pay for that give you even more control and options. The online classroom will begin to blend seamlessly with the offline world. Google also provides a safe environment that schools can contain and monitor while students explore technology and the internet.