The use of smartphones in all sorts of newfangled ways is one of the most important trends in these devices, allowing people from all spheres, industries and disciplines to utilise handheld technology in any manner of way.
We already know the impact that technology can have on education and one of the leading forces in this area is Google, which launched Classroom around half a year ago.
Since then, the learning management software, which the company says “was designed hand-in-hand with Google Apps for Education”, has proved to be a big hit with educators the world over.
While successful – the principle is to save time, allow for better organisation and enhance communication efforts with pupils – the only limitation has been the fact that it has only been web-based.
Well, now teachers can access Classroom via their smartphones, with Google announcing in a blog that six months after debuting the software, an app version of it has been created for both Android and iOS platforms.
“While it’s a new year on the calendar, many teachers and students are just midway through the school year,” Jorge Lugo, software engineer of Classroom, said.
“They’ve clearly been hard at work, turning in more than 30 million assignments with Classroom since it launched six months ago. If those assignments had been on paper instead of Google Docs, they would stretch from New York to Los Angeles when laid end to end.”
With this new app, teachers – and indeed students – can make the learning experience all the more engaging. Some of the exciting features include being able to take a picture and use it directly in a report or essay.
It also allows for students, who may have forgotten their assignment, to get someone at home to take a picture of it, which they can then “hand in”. It is certainly a novel way of ensuring that even forgettable people are not penalised for making a mistake.
Another benefit of the app includes the ability to share images, PDFs and webpages from other apps that may be relevant to the work that they are doing. Offline caching is also a key feature, allowing students to receive information even when they do not have access to the internet.
“For the best experience using the Classroom app, make sure you (or your students) also have the Google Docs, Drive and Slides apps,” Mr Lugo advised in his blog post.
“We’re looking forward to adding new features to the app on both iOS and Android in the coming months, so that students and teachers can get more done from any device they have.”
With many smartphones bigger these days and more powerful than ever before, many educators are keen to incorporate them into teaching, either as an accompaniment to other technology – like tablets and laptops – or as the lead piece of kit.
It is advisable though that proper rules are set up about their use, especially if, for example, schools employ a BYOD (bring your own device scheme). There is a need to keep professional and personal apps and data separate, for all sorts of reasons such as security and privacy.