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Sir, sir, my cloud ate my homework: Google touts grading tool to teachers

Storing kids' work in a huge advertising giant? What could possibly go wrong?

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Just in time for the back-to-school season, Google has made a schoolwork grading tool for teachers.

The ad giant said it will move its Classroom tool from a closed trial into an open app available as part of the Google Apps for Education platform. The app will be made available in 42 different languages worldwide.

First posted as a closed preview in May, the Classroom tool is designed to help teachers manage homework assignments. Rather than handing out paper assignments to be completed and turned in, the Classroom app will allow teachers to assign work from a page and then accept the completed assignments through Google Drive and Docs. Students then return the work to the teacher through the app and grades and feedback are posted.

The aim of the software, said Google product manager Zach Yeskel, was to create a platform to better help teachers manage homework assignments and provide feedback to students on their coursework. In addition to opening Classroom for general public use, the internet goliath has also added new features to the app.

"Teachers and students have been instrumental in helping us build Classroom. For example, we heard during the preview that educators don’t want to wait until an assignment is turned in to collaborate with students," Yeskel said of the new version.

"Now, with Classroom, teachers can view and comment on students’ work to help them along the way. We’ve also heard that educators want a simple place to post information and materials about their classes, so we added an 'About' page for each course, as well."

While the new tool will be welcome relief for teachers (and photocopiers) the thought of an even easier way to give out homework will no doubt put a damper on students trying to eke out the last bit of holiday fun before school starts back up. ®

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