The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of students around the world to attend classes online and continue their schooling remotely from home. Depending on the country and schools, some schools use Google classroom while others use Zoom. Google is generous in making Google Classroom available for free for schools, non-profits, and anyone with a personal Google account.
Google Classroom makes it easy for learners and instructors to connect—inside and outside of schools. Google Classroom saves time and paper and makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized. However, the Classroom isn’t perfect. The same can be said of Zoom, which was never created to be a consumer product or video conferencing tool for students.
Now, with nine months into the pandemic, Zoom’s earliest investors think it’s time to create a better Zoom experience for students and teachers. Michael Chasen is a co-founder and former CEO of Blackboard Inc., a position he held from 1999 to 2012. In April 2013, Chasen co-founded SocialRadar, a technology startup company developing a location-based social app. Blackboard is a pioneering edtech company with software used by over 20,000 institutions in more than 70 countries by 20 million teachers and learners worldwide.
Chasen later joined forces with prominent Zoom board members and investors to launch a new tech startup called ClassEDU, of which the first of their product is called Class for Zoom. As the name implies, it is a new platform built on Zoom but feels like a real classroom. Class for Zoom comes with features that are missing from the standard Zoom software. Currently, the regular Zoom is missing 60% of functionalities needed by teachers in a typical physical classroom. Class for Zoom fills this void by providing teachers with everything they need in a physical classroom.
Class for Zoom other features include: A user interface designed for the classroom, Teaching and Learning Tools, Assessments, Quizzes, Tests, Class Management Tools, One-on-One Discussions, Seating Chart, and many more. The user interface designed for the classroom is designed so teachers don’t get lost in the grid view and have a dedicated Podium space. Class for Zoom also makes it easier so TA’s and presenters can be moved to the front of the class. Teachers can easily see all students and class data at one time.
With One-on-One Discussions feature, teachers and teacher assistants can talk with students privately without leaving the Zoom environment.
Founded just a few months ago, Class for Zoom founders include Jim Scheinman, Santi Subotovsky, Bill Tai, other education leaders including Deborah Quazzo, Lev Gonick, and Steve Case, the co-founder of America Online (AOL), and Chairman and CEO of Revolution. Jim Scheinman is the Founding Managing Partner at Maven Ventures, and an early investor in Zoom and the person who is credited with naming Zoom.