Google EDU provides a set of features that seek to extend the LMS arena. And when it comes to helping with the creation and development of online courses, the Google Apps ecosystem is a valuable support, while not yet providing a full LMS. The real competitor, Google Clasroom, is still restricted for Google Apps for Education accounts.

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Google EDU is bundling some new things with existing ones. Regarding in-class technologies, new services include Cast, Bloks and Expeditions.

Cast is an app that allows any device in the classroom to connect to the classroom projector. It’s currently available on selected devices running Chrome (browser or OS) with a Google Apps for Education account.

Bloks is a physical or tangible programming initiative, Google’s take on the idea to join the likes of Tuft’s Tern, Lego’s Mindstorms, or Sifteo Cubes. There are not plans on commercialization as of yet.

And Expeditions is a Virtual Reality hardware and software companion that places a learning layer on Google Dashboard. Think field trips without the risk of missing children. Fill out this form to submit your school for early access consideration.

On the software department, a Quiz feature in Forms adds checkmarks to multiple choice questions. Nothing of which to be jealous, you dependable Moodle Quiz.

The whole offering underscores Google’s aspirations, as depictions of classrooms full of Chromebooks show. Has Google low-cost device offering found in school districts across the nation a niche market to settle at last?

It recognizes the value of teachers as technology promoters towards students. The formative years seem to be an important period for capturing the digital consumer. Few users jump platforms despite clear benefits once they weave into their habits. Is Moodle versus Google the Linux versus Windows of e-learning? Time will tell.

What do you think? How do teachers’ classroom tech decisions affect students? Join the debate in the comments!

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