Google announced a number of new features across its range of education products yesterday at a virtual event. Google has studied how teachers, students, and administrators have been utilizing the suite of education software and how it could be better improved. In all, Google announced over 50 new features on products such as Classroom, Meet, Chromebooks, and Accessibility features. Here are some of the highlights:
Google will be introducing a marketplace which will allow teachers to seamlessly use their EdTech tools and content as Add-ons. For example, there will be closer integration of web apps like Kahoot inside of Classroom.
Coming later this year, Google will allow Classrooms to be set up in advance using SIS roster syncing. Administrators will be able to create, sync, and populate Classrooms using their Student Information Systems.
Also coming later this year is student engagement tracking. This feature allows teachers and administrators to get a better handle on how students are interacting with their Classroom.
Google is updating the Classroom Android app to allow for offline access. Students will be able to start work offline, view attachments, create docs, and review content without an internet connection.
The Classroom Android app will also be updated to make it easier for students to submit pictures of their work and for teachers to review that work on their mobile devices.
Other improvements for Classroom include RTF (rich text formatting) so that teachers may use bold, underlining, italics, and bullets in announcements and assignment postings. Google is also looking to improves the grading experience on mobile devices. Originality reports will be introduced later in the year to check for plagiarism against the web or from a repository of work from a district’s student population. Finally, there will be CS First integration with Classroom.
Forms and Docs
Forms will soon support saving of progress so if a student needs extra time to complete a form, they may save their progress and pick up where they left off later. Docs has a number of new features but one of the more useful features is the ability to easily create a citation within docs.
One of the most helpful features coming to Meet is the ability to have multiple hosts; co-teachers can both maintain controls over the Meet such as setting-up breakout rooms and starting Meets. Meet and Classroom will now work closer together in that only students belonging to a certain class will be able to join that class’s Meet.
Teachers will have the option to end the Meet for everyone involved in the Meet, including students in breakout rooms, removing the possibility for students to remain in the Meet without a teacher. Teachers will also be given the option to mute all participants at once. Google will be updating mobile apps to give teachers more control over their class using their mobile devices.
Another useful tool is the ability to create and sort breakout rooms in advance so a teacher can set-up before a class begins on Meet. Google is also introducing emoji reactions in Meet (which can be controlled and regulated by teachers and admins).
Finally, Google is looking to improve Meet when one’s bandwith is low. There were a number of other announcements regarding improvements made to t=software on Chromebooks as well as Accessibility features that will be rolling out to users soon. Click here to see the full list from Google. Comment below with your thoughts on the announcements!