Google Apps for Education – GAFE for short – is a superb, free digital platform for anyone working in education and Classroom is the latest and greatest entry into the GAFE kingdom. Classroom empowers the teachers and students to use Google Drive to its full potential in tackling the assignments workflow and perhaps the best part is that there is no need for anyone to know all the details about Drive use. Drive still does all the heavy lifting behind the scenes but the extremely easy-to-use Classroom interface makes it a breeze to get the assignments just right.
The Classroom team has been updating the service at a ferocious pace according to the feedback from thousands of educators worldwide but, of course, there are still things that might get just a little bit better. In fact, I’d guess Classroom will never be ‘fully baked’; simply because there are always students and teachers asking for additional features and the team keeps listening – and iterating!
So, the ‘missing features’ I’m referring to here just might be the latest new features rolled out a couple of days (or hours) ago when you are reading this post – but hey, that would be just fine with me! These features I’d like to see implemented soon are connected to the notion of control; yes, I know there are those who think I’m a control freak.. Hello Tiina, my friend! Anyway, here goes.
Missing feature #1: Real Life Deadlines
Why are deadlines called deadlines? Probably because if you miss them, you might find yourself in a very tough situation. So, I think there should be an option for the teacher to enforce ‘hard’ deadlines, Doctopus style (shoot, Classroom owes so much to Doctopus and gClassFolders so why not go all the way while you’re at it?). Most often it’s fine with me that the students can turn in their assignments even after the deadline but there are occasions when I sure would like the deadline to be – kinda deadly!
Missing feature #2: Restricted Unsubmit
The way it’s now, the students can unsubmit their assignments any time – and I mean any time, even while the teacher is working with the assignments way after the (so called) deadline. Just imagine the situation: you have this one evening to get the job done, the huge coffee mug is filled to the brim and conveniently within reach, you fire up Classroom and notice that those very assignments you needed to go through have been snatched back by the students! I don’t know about you but I sure would be very unhappy.
Missing feature #3? Nope but interesting anyway
Using Classroom, the students do fully own their documents which is, of course, logical and possibly something that just couldn’t be in any other way especially in higher education. However, this means also that there are countless ownership changes of Docs / Sheets /Whatever when the assignments are assigned, submitted, returned and submitted again. Things can get slightly complicated and – here I go again! – this setup doesn’t seem to allow for the kind of control the teacher has when using the Doctopus add-on I mentioned earlier. Luckily, there is nothing that stops you from using Doctopus together with Classroom!
No additional missing features, then? Well, honestly, no major ones I can come to think of right now. In case that will happen later on, I sure will file a feature request – and I count on you doing the same thing. That’s the way we make things happen in the Classroom!