Apple Classroom vs. Google Classroom

Apple Classroom was released in March 2016, but from things I read online, or hear when talking to other educators, I feel that it still gets mistakenly compared to Google Classroom. I can absolutely see why that happens. Both products have very similar names, and both were created to help solve technology problems in the classroom. However, the truth is, these two products could not be more different. So, in this post, I wanted to take some time to run through everything that Apple Classroom can do, and compare that to Google Classroom, in order to give you some ideas on how you can use these useful tech tools at your school.

What is Apple Classroom?

Apple Classroom is a free app for iPads that gives teachers the ability to manage multiple iPads in their classroom. The teacher installs the app on their device and invites (or adds) student iPads so that they become part of their class. When they join the class, the teacher iPad inherits a collection of pseudo-superpowers that allow it to monitor and manage the student learning experience.

What Does Apple Classroom Do?

The short answer is, probably more than you think! Here’s a list from the app’s product description on the App Store.

Assign Shared iPads to students
– Once configured, Classroom connects to nearby student devices
– Classroom intelligently assigns students to the Shared iPad they most recently used
– Log students out of Shared iPad at the end of a session to prepare for the next class

Start, focus, or pause student work
– Launch any app, website, or book on student devices with a tap
– Lock devices into a single app to help students focus
– Lock screens to pause work or refocus your class
– Mute audio on student devices
– Review student activity summary and sharing inbox at the end of each class session

See what your students see with Screen View
– See an overview of all student screens at once
– Focus on a single student screen
– Students are informed when their screens are being viewed

Share documents and links with your class using AirDrop
– Share to your entire class with just one tap
– Share URLs, Documents, images and more to individual students or groups using drag and drop in iOS 11
– Students can also share with you

Share student work on the classroom Apple TV
– Showcase the great work your students are doing to the class
– Use AirPlay to wirelessly present a student’s screen
– Students are informed when their screens are being presented

Reset forgotten passwords right in the classroom
– Reset a Managed Apple ID password without calling IT

Organize student devices using groups
– Classroom automatically creates groups of students based on the apps they are using
– Teachers can create groups to break students into project teams
– Perform actions on entire groups or on individual students within groups

What is Google Classroom?

Google Classroom is a tool that was created to help teachers create, collect and grade assignments. It is a cross platform tool that can be used on almost any internet connected device. There are mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as a website, and everything syncs across devices to help you manage your class wherever you may be.

What Does Google Classroom Do?

Google Classroom is continually being updated with new features and functionality, but as of today, here is a short list of features that are taken from the app’s product description on the App Store:

  • Classroom is designed to help teachers create, collect, and grade assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student.
  • It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.
  • The simple assignment workflow allows teachers to create, review, and grade assignments quickly, all in one place.
  • Students can see all of their assignments on an assignments page, and all class materials (e.g., documents, photos, and videos) are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive.
  • Classroom allows teachers to send announcements and start class discussions instantly. Students can share resources with each other or provide answers to questions on the stream.
  • With the mobile app for iOS, students and teachers can view their classes and communicate with their classmates in real time.
  • Students can open their assignments and work on them right from their phone.
  • Teachers can keep track of who has turned in work and grade the assignment – at school or on the go.
  • Students and teachers receive notifications when they have new content in Classroom, so they are always up to date.
  • Like the rest of G Suite for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free.

Apple Classroom vs. Google Classroom

By now, you are probably starting to realize some of the main differences between Apple Classroom and Google Classroom. Apple Classroom was created to help you manage the devices in your classroom, whereas Google Classroom was created to help manage the workflow of creating, grading and submitting assignments. They are two very different tools. Both are great at what they do, but comparing these two apps is like comparing apples and oranges. They serve different needs.

However, you shouldn’t feel like you have to decide between Apple and Google Classroom, because there is really no reason why you can’t use them both side by side. Yes, they do different things, but they do actually complement each other quite well when you need them to, especially when Google’s apps are so robust on iOS.

How to Set Up Classroom

Both of these tools can be set up and made available for use in very little time. To help you do that, I created a couple of how-to guides that will walk you through the steps required for each platform. You can see these guides below:

  1. How to Use Apple Classroom: Setup Guide & Support
  2. Google Classroom Guide for Educators

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any further questions.

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