A New Year, a New Google Classroom

Laura Lee, Staff Writer

The new year typically brings in a spirit of reinvention, as people across the world make resolutions in hopes of self improvement. Google appears to have joined in on this trend, adding updates to its site during the first week of January. The updates have changed the appearance of the site greatly, creating mixed reactions among users.

Below are Google’s descriptions of the new update:

While the updates don’t appear to be significant, the difference in Google Classroom is clear at first glance. The site’s new design has given it a very minimal look with the addition of bright white backgrounds, a new font, and rounded corners on every post. In addition, Google Classroom has added 78 sleek new class themes for teachers to choose from, giving teachers the option to further customize their pages to a certain subject.

There are also new functional changes that teachers can utilize. They have the option to move posts and topics on their classwork page with a new drag and drop feature. This function has existed on the mobile app, and it is now being added to the website. Teachers can also access the classroom code more easily now, as they are presented at the top of a classroom stream.

The opposing opinions of the updates are mostly centered around the site’s most obvious change, its appearance. People’s feelings on Google Classroom’s new look seems to be pretty split: in a poll posted on The Echo, 67% of voters said that they did not like the new Google Classroom update, while 33% said that they did.

Some students prefer the old site, expressing a dislike for the changes. “I do like the new font, but I’m not a fan of the new background because it’s hard to see the text. It’s harder for me to distinguish assignment and announcements,” said Danielle Sung (’20). Matt Yang (’20) seemed to agree, saying, “I don’t like the change. Why fix what’s not broken?”

On the other hand, some students love the update. Emma Kim (’20) said, “I definitely prefer the new look. Classroom looks way more organized and clean now, and I find it so much easier to manage all my classes and look at my assignments. I know it was a big change in appearance, but I love how bright it is.”

Teachers have definitely noticed the updates as well, seeming to have mixed opinions on the new changes. “Visually, I’m not a big fan of the change,” said Mademoiselle Williams. “It’s just a little shocking on the eyes. In terms of improvements in functionality for teachers, I like the drag and drop function. Originally, if you added things to classwork, it just went to the bottom, but now the assignments are easier to move.” 

“I miss the old layout, even the one from a year ago,” said Ms. Hampson. “It’s hard to find some of the units without the navigation on the left side. The newest update just doesn’t look good aesthetically: it’s too bright, and it changed the cover photo that I put in. I loved being able to put in pictures for my theme, and with the update now, the cover photos don’t look as good. I only really like the new drag and drop function.”

Despite any opinions on the new changes, students and faculty will have to get used to Google new look. Classroom is constantly adding new features to its site, and this is another update that users must adapt to. With this large transformation in the site’s appearance, it will be interesting to see what features the site may add next.