Classroom

Learning management tool by Google

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#2 Product of the DayAugust 13, 2014
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Kayvon Beykpour
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
Having started and run Mobile at Blackboard for 4 years (from when they acquired my company, Terriblyclever, until about a year ago), I've got some thoughts on this. I think Classroom could be disruptive for a few reasons: - The implementation time and training time involved for schools to "turn on" Classroom will be dramatically less than other alternatives. This is a major consideration for most schools when choosing to migrate e-learning providers. For schools that are already using Google Apps, the transition to Classroom should be relatively easy (User accounts, teacher and student familiarity with UI, etc). - Classroom will play very nicely with other tools that teachers/students depend on (Google Apps/Drive). While Blackboard/Canvas are starting to execute these integrations.. they obviously won't be able to do this as seamlessly as Google. - COST. Perhaps the most disruptive attribute of Classroom is that it's free as part of Google Apps for Education. I think this will challenge the prevailing business model of LMS systems, especially as Classroom's feature-set becomes more and more viable for Higher-Ed - Teacher/Student acceptance. LMS purchasing decisions are often times influenced significantly by Faculty/Student committees (especially in Higher-Ed at large Unis). Unsurprisingly, these groups are often times vocal about the drawbacks of classic LMS providers. As much as Blackboard and Canvas have made big improvements in the past few years, the fact remains that their paradigms, UI/UX and (in some cases) technology stack were designed in another era. Google has taken a fresh, modern approach-- and the architecture and scale will allow for more rapid iteration/improvement compared to existing e-learning providers. This will manifest for users in the form of a good, clean UX that improves over time (relatively faster than improvements they may have noticed with other LMSs). Other random thoughts: - IMO, one of the reasons that most LMS systems evolved into clunky POS is that for too many years, product development was driven by feature-building-wars and RFP's to win new clients over. This resulted in a mishmash of whatever clients wanted to get deals done. That and, in the case of Blackboard, aggressive growth by acquisition rather than organic dev. Anyway, Google Classroom is starting with a relatively sparse feature-set compared to the plethora of features that other LMS providers will have. I think this is fantastic (and the approach I would take if creating a new learning system from scratch).. but I nevertheless do wonder how receptive schools will be to the relative spareness in feature-set. Then again, that's when the FREE price point helps! - I haven't seen anything about Mobile. A beautiful, simple, native mobile experience is crucial to a good learning system. The Mobile team at Bb spent years creating this. It was a fun and challenging charter that was made more difficult by the fact that we were integrating with a product/architecture that was over 10 years old (creating at a time when mobile and web-services were nonexistent). Having started fresh, Google's got an opportunity to nail this experience. Looks like Classroom (from what I can tell at least) doesn't yet have native apps.. but I'd bet this is around the corner. - I wonder what @Dropbox thinks about this. In a world where Classroom / Google Drive are seamlessly connected, this might just be one more reason for a student to consider Drive > Dropbox. I'd say Dropbox is handily winning this battle right now, but I'd imagine part of the Classroom strategy is compelling students to use Drive for all their files.
David Spinks
David Spinks@davidspinks · CEO, CMX Media
Really cool. My girlfriend is a teacher and has been using drive and other google tools in her class for a while now. Great to see google create more features specifically for that use case. She's pretty pumped.
Erik Torenberg
Erik TorenbergHiring@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
just read this yesterday which is related: http://www.theatlantic.com/techn...
Joe Mahavuthivanij
Joe Mahavuthivanij@epicsaurus · Product Generalist
Most existing LMS tools are totally dated, expensive, and inadequate. While I'm excited that Google is helping to provide a base for learning, I hope they're able to continue to develop the platform as education continues to evolve.
Jack Smith
Jack SmithPro@_jacksmith · Serial Entrepreneur & Startup Adviser
@epicsaurus it would be good if they expanded it to a corporate setting also
Joe Mahavuthivanij
Joe Mahavuthivanij@epicsaurus · Product Generalist
@_jacksmith Yup, most definitely. I used to work at an edtech company trying to build something like Classroom a year ago but because of the specifics of their pedagogy, it was difficult to build anything less than a custom product for their use case. I hope Classroom catches on in both the classroom and the personal development/continuing education space.
Some Guy
Some Guy@ghobs91 · Head Of Winging It, Denarri
This is almost exactly how I imagined the ideal online classroom management system would work. Add to that the fact that it's made by a well known name like Google, and I could see the historically luddite-oriented education system adopting this.