Google first unveiled Classroom in May as a preview and now it’s issuing the first updates to the product. The touched up product allows teachers to more easily integrate their digital assignments with in-class instruction.

This new iteration adds five basic features: the ability to use Google Groups to invite students to Classroom, sort students by first or last name, mark assignments not submitted online as done, and export grades. The update also adds additional control over discussion threads.

Classroom is Google’s bid to push Microsoft Office out of the way in education. Microsoft offers its own suite of digital products, including classroom apps and its prominently featured Surface tablet. But Google’s Classroom is free and can run on any connected device. Google’s best use-cases exemplify its ability to connect students to things outside the school, like a group of Australian elementary school students who are connecting with astronauts at the International Space Station using Google Classroom. This was part of a larger series of experiments called NanoLabs.

No doubt, Google still has its work cut out for it. But it will be interesting to see how it fares against Microsoft’s legacy technology.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K26iyyQMp_g&w=560&h=315]

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