Google's Classroom suite of educational tools is getting a major refresh that affects just about every aspect of its usability. The Stream area is getting a revamp, there's an entirely remade grading tool, and collaboration in the Classwork area will become easier, just to name a few changes. The massive redesign is made with ease of use at the forefront, and will simplify existing features while adding new ones. There will even be a number of new tutorials to help both instructors and students make the most of these updates. The new Classroom toolkit will begin rolling out today, and should reach all users by the end of the week.
Students and teachers alike will now find that the Stream can be divided up into modules and units, making things much more organized and putting a smaller subset of content on screen at any given time. This change also makes in-class collaboration easier, and gives each individual student a better chance to be heard and actively participate. The grading area, meanwhile, is getting a few new tools and a more visually pleasing and easy to navigate redesign. Teachers will now have a comment bank for commonly used feedback, and can easily view a student's work and their grading panel side by side to make adjustments to grade and feedback as needed. Teachers can also copy and reuse classwork, and turn off notifications for classes if they're not currently active in them. There is also a new Settings page for teachers that applies across all classrooms that they're active in, and ways for teachers to manage student content on Streams on a wider basis to prevent abuse. Finally, the long list of changes is rounded out by improvements to the People page that allow teachers to manage and change student, guardian, and teachers in their contact collection.
Looking to the future, Google is promising the ability to put materials directly on the Classwork page for a given assignment, and also automatically generate a Classwork page for new assignments. On top of that, teachers will soon be able to issue quizzes in the locked mode using Google Forms, so that students taking a quiz can't exit or minimize the quiz until it's finished, minimizing the chance for cheating or distraction. This refresh focused on ease of use, and now it seems that Google is ready to begin pushing new features to Classroom.