ClassConnect is a lesson planning and sharing app which helps educators create and share content with their students. The app streamlines the process and puts everything in one place so that users do not have to upload material over and over again. The app also allows users to share content with one another and copy it to their own lesson plan folders so they do not have to reinvent the wheel. Users can match lessons to state standards or the common core with a simple tagging application. The app supports multiple types of content, including documents, videos, PDFs, and PowerPoints. There is even a Live Lecture feature that allows students to review lectures that teachers gave earlier in the day.
ClassConnect was founded in March of 2012. Eric Simons, the founder, describes himself as a formerly bored student. ClassConnect was born when an educator asked him how he could make the content interesting to him. Eric told his teacher that he would be interested if everyone could work together on computers, and that he’d program the app. After graduating from high school Simons went on to found his company, dedicating himself to working on ClassConnect full time.
37 Signals, a Basecamp app for educators, is somewhat like Class Connect, though it doesn’t seem to share the sense of vision or community that Class Connect offers, nor does it seem to offer the same variety of content. Brain Honey is another similar application that has many similar features but doesn’t offer a way to collaborate with colleagues. It seems there is a hungry market for this sort of app, but ClassConnect has a sense of energy and an unbeatable multimedia strategy that makes it stand out.
The app is very straightforward. There are search functions that will help users find openly shared content from other teachers around the world. The navigation menu makes uploading lesson plans and creating new files a breeze. Users only start with 1.0 GB of file space, but they won’t have to pay to get more. Users get more storage when they invite colleagues, encouraging users to participate and collaborate.
Registration is simple and straightforward: name, title, e-mail address, and password. It’s all entered into a fast-loading pop up web form. There are no extra hoops to jump through and the system doesn’t ask for an inordinate amount of extra information.
ClassConnect is free to use and appears to be permanently free. There are no advertisements on the site to distract from the site’s overall mission.
Obviously, teachers will greatly benefit from incorporating ClassConnect. Parents and students will benefit from getting involved in the teacher’s lesson plans as well, and since ClassConnect would theoretically allow a student to go dig up a video on the topic to share with the rest of the class, the collaboration extends far past the professional world and creates a sense of excitement about learning. Homeschooling families could also use ClassConnect, especially if they are creating lessons for multiple children. Not only will they be able to save it all in one place, but they could benefit from the planning skills of trained educators around the world while continuing to educate students in a home environment.