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EdTech Assessment Toolkit

Google Classroom (Helsingør, Denmark)

Big-tech model

Google Classroom is a web-based platform devised by Google for educational endeavours. It empowers teachers to establish and oversee digital classrooms, distribute assignments, disseminate resources, and liaise with students. Students can access and submit assignments, collaborate on projects, and engage with their peers and teachers within the platform. Google Classroom integrates effortlessly with other Google Workspace tools such as Google Drive and Google Docs, optimising the workflow for educators and students. It has been widely embraced in schools and educational institutions as a practical and efficient means to support remote and blended learning, offering a centralised hub for virtual classrooms (Google-Classroom, 2023).

Digital platforms like Google Classroom have become pivotal to interaction and participation in modern-day schooling. Emerging forms of ‘platformised education’ are swiftly expanding across educational systems, introducing the principles of datafication, automation, surveillance, and interoperability into digitally mediated learning environments (Perrotta, Gulson, Williamson, & Witzenberger, 2021). Thus, the implementation of Google Classroom transforms how education is practiced. Reservations regarding the use of Google Classroom revolve around privacy concerns. Highlighting Google’s extensive data gathering practices, as well as the firm’s tendency to transfer the personal data of Danish citizens overseas to US servers, the Danish municipality of Helsingør has prohibited the use of Google Classroom and Gmail in schools (Bernardone, 2022).

Snapshot (July 2023)

System task/function: Allow students to access learning content online (via LMS)
Model: Big Tech Model
Deployment: Learning Management System/Platform (Google Classroom)
Location of application: Worldwide (for ban see Helsingør, Denmark)
Rationale for introduction: Free and accessible learning management system
Vendor: Google
Pricing: Between 0$ to 5$ US. In addition, the system needs to be managed and maintained
Data and computation: Student data, school data, learning data
Inequalities/harms: Privacy risks and security concerns, use of student data and third party application plug-ins not clear (Bernardone, 2022; Perrotta et al., 2021)
Status: Banned in Helsingør, Denmark (Active in most other locations)
Authority/regulation: School / district level
Unintended consequences: The programming options of the platform inform pedagogical decisions, thus Google’s notion of what schooling is has an imprint on what schooling can afford
Sanction/redress: Denmark’s data protection authority determined that local schools lacked clarity on Google’s handling of student data, leading to approximately 8,000 students being restricted from using the Chromebooks, which had become integral to their daily learning.

References/further reading

Bernardone, L. (2022). Denmark bans Gmail and Google Workspace in schools. Retrieved from

Compagnucci, M. C. (2022). Danish DPA Banned the Use of Google Chromebooks and Google Workspace in Schools in Helsingor Municipality. Eur. Data Prot. L. Rev., 8, 405.

Google-Classroom. (2023). Where teaching and learning come together. Retrieved from

Perrotta, C., Gulson, K. N., Williamson, B., & Witzenberger, K. (2021). Automation, APIs and the distributed labour of platform pedagogies in Google Classroom. Critical Studies in Education, 62(1), 97-113.