Tag Archives: Education

TerraTalk is changing how Japan’s students learn English

With increasing classroom sizes, more paperwork than ever and new mandates from the ministry of education, Japanese teachers face an uphill battle in their mission to teach their students. 

Yoshiyuki Kakihara wanted to use technology to figure out a solution, with an emphasis on English language education. He created TerraTalk, an AI-powered app that allows students to have audio conversations. TerraTalk’s artificial intelligence can hear and process what the students say and give feedback, removing this burden from teachers, and reinvigorating the classroom by creating an atmosphere filled with conversation and English learning games. TerraTalk was recently part of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator, a program that provides mentorship and support to early-stage startups.

With nine acceleration programs and 341 startup alumni, we at Launchpadhave seen firsthand how  entrepreneurs around the world are using technology and startup innovation to solve the world’s biggest problems. In the third installment of our series, “Ideas to Reality,” we talked to Yoshiyuki about why he started TerraTalk, and where he hopes it will be in the next few years. 

TerraTalk app

A look at the TerraTalk English learning app.

When did you realize you wanted to make an impact on the education field? 

I grew up on the outskirts of Tokyo as a science-savvy kid and became super interested in foreign culture. I ended up leaving my high school to study in the United Kingdom. I did well academically back home, so it was quite a shock how my English fell short of being comprehensible at all abroad. It turns out that I wasn’t alone; in Japan, very few people reach conversational level at the end of secondary or university curriculum.

I feel that this is the result of an outdated methodology where too much emphasis is placed on explaining the grammar and little to no attention on putting the language into use. To make matters worse,  80 percent of teachers in Japan are putting 100 hours of overtime per month. They don’t have time to investigate, experiment with and transform the way they teach. When I learned this, I realized that I could help by creating a new technology to ease the burden on teachers, and make learning English more engaging for students.  

Who are your customers? How is your company positively affecting them?  

We do business directly with education institutions and local education councils. With our TerraTalk app, students can engage in role-playing style conversation lessons with their mobile devices. This enables teachers to ensure their students get enough speaking time, which is difficult to achieve with conventional classroom methodologies.

We are seeing students teach each other on how to tackle the exercises, sometimes creating their own competition out of it. In some ways, the technology we are bringing is humanizing classrooms, as it frees teachers from the standard lecture format.

How did you use Google products to make TerraTalk? 

BigQuery has helped us crunch massive user data to discover how people are using our app. Google Analytics is our go-to tool for marketing and search engine analysis. We use the TensorFlow family of machine learning tools and other numerous open source projects maintained by Google. We also use G Suite as a primary business tool, because of its reliability, security and ease of use.

Why did you choose to participate in Google Launchpad?

Google is a leading company in machine learning and cloud technology applications, which we heavily rely on. The prospect of receiving support in these areas was extremely appealing, especially when you are running a startup and saving time is everything.

What was the most memorable moment from Launchpad? 

We attended Launchpad Tokyo, which had seven startups in total. In a session called Founders Circle, founders from the startups got together and shared their biggest failures to date in a fireside-chat style. It was the moment where we became a true community, and many of us are still in touch after the program.

What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs? 

Don’t quit. Find a business or market where you have a natural advantage over other people. Whether your competition is other startups or established companies, it is the people you work with who make the difference.

Google Code-in 2019 Org Applications are Open!

We are now accepting applications for open source organizations interested in participating in the tenth Google Code-in 2019. Google Code-in (GCI) has invited pre-university students ages 13-17 to learn hands-on by contributing to open source software.

Each year we have heard inspiring stories from the participating mentors about their commitment to working with young students. We only select organizations that have participated in Google Summer of Code because they have gained experience in mentorship and know how to provide a support system for these new, young contributors.

Organization applications are now open and all interested open source organizations must apply before Monday, October 28, 2019 at 17:00 UTC.

In 2018, 27 organizations were accepted—9 of which were participating in GCI for the first time! Over the last 9 years, 11,232 students from 108 countries have completed more than 40,000 tasks for participating open source projects. Tasks fall into 5 categories:
  • Code: writing or refactoring.
  • Documentation/Training: creating/editing documents and helping others learn more.
  • Outreach/Research: community management, outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions.
  • Quality Assurance: testing and ensuring code is of high quality.
  • Design: graphic design or user interface design.
Once an organization is selected for Google Code-in 2019 they will define these tasks and recruit mentors from their communities who are interested in providing online support for students during the seven week contest.

You can find a timeline, FAQ and other information about Google Code-in on our website. If you’re an educator interested in sharing Google Code-in with your students, please see the resources here.

By Radha Jhatakia, Google Open Source

ExploreCSR grants get more women into computer science research

Since 2000, women have earned only one in five computer science doctoral degrees, one of the lowest in all science and engineering disciplines. As part of our efforts to get more women involved in computer science research careers and make them more accessible to everyone, we’re giving our latest round of exploreCSR grants to 24 universities. With these grants, universities will design workshops to encourage and support more women to pursue research careers in CS.

Princess Sampson, a sophomore at Spelman College studying CS, went to one of last year’s workshops, made possible by an exploreCSR grant. We recently checked in with her about her experience and how it helped her CS research career path.

What inspired your interest in computer science research?
I have always been relentlessly curious. I was raised in Atlanta's Black tech ecosystem, and as a child, I turned one of the bathrooms in my house into a science lab. CS research directly impacts tech product innovations, and it is important that Black women contribute to this knowledge-making.

What motivated you to participate in an exploreCSR supported workshop?
I met Dr. Ayanna Howard, a pioneer for women of color in computing, at South by Southwest. She inspired me to immerse myself in an environment of ambitious women with goals similar to my own.

What did you learn from the exploreCSR workshop?
Advice on how to enter and navigate STEM-focused academic spaces as a woman of color. We were provided with timelines for applying to graduate schools and advice on selecting research experiences or industry work during the summer. Speakers and mentors constantly reiterated the importance of taking self-care as seriously as our academic work. Additionally, even though I entered the program having already decided to attend graduate school and pursue a doctorate in CS, hearing the stories of women who have had careers in industry in addition to academia made it clear that I don't have to pick one over the other.

What advice do you have for others starting their journeys to becoming computer science researchers?
Discover how CS intersects with other fields that you're passionate about. Every field needs people who understand computer science. Research isn't some far off career; students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels are integral to the day to day functioning of almost every lab or initiative. Find out what's going on at your institution and see how you can become involved.

And what are you looking forward to most about the start of a new school year?
In my sophomore year of college, I will be cross-registered at Georgia Tech in addition to my CS coursework at Spelman, taking electives for my philosophy minor, conducting research, as well as continuing my work with the Spelbots (Spelman's robotics and CS outreach organization). I am excited to continue growing as both a human being and an academic.

We are proud to partner with this year’s exploreCSR universities working to increase awareness and participation of women in CS research careers and look forward to hearing from more students like Princess.

Learn to code with Grasshopper, now on desktop

We created Grasshopper to increase access to coding education and to help prepare people for career opportunities in tech. As part of our Grow with Google initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone, today we’re announcing that Grasshopper is now available on desktop, with additional courses to help you build new coding skills. 

Grasshopper on desktop

Learn in a whole new way

Millions of people have used their phones to access Grasshopper's coding lessons from wherever they're located. To support people who prefer to learn on larger screens, starting today, the same Grasshopper beginner-centered learning environment will be accessible on desktop or laptop computers.

We’ve also introduced two new classes specifically designed for your laptop or desktop: Using a Code Editor and Intro to Webpages.

Our Intro to Webpages course includes a new project-based curriculum focused on building and designing a website from the ground up. We teach beginner coders the Javascript fundamentals necessary to build a website, as well as new HTML and CSS-based coursework. After just four courses, beginner coders will understand how to build a simple webpage.

Follow your own path

Since the launch of our app in April 2018, more than two million people have used Grasshopper to grow their coding skills. Grasshopper students include stay-at-home parents, construction workers and factory machinists–people who don’t necessarily have programming experience, but who are interested in exploring coding as a career option. 

For instance, Sheila Eichenberger was looking for her next move when she found Grasshopper. As a mother who had stepped away from a successful career to raise her kids, she was ready to return to the workplace. But, she wanted to try something new. So Sheila started using Grasshopper to explore coding as a career path. 

Now Sheila’s taking the next steps in her journey towards becoming a developer. “Completing the Grasshopper curriculum gave me the confidence to move forward with the pursuit of a coding career," she says.

As we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day and the achievements of women in science, technology and engineering, we will continue working to help everyone learn to code and to pursue their career dreams. If you’re ready to start learning to code, Grasshopper is available on Android, iOS, and on desktop in English.

How classroom tech brings accessibility with dignity

For Lisa Berghoff, Director of Instructional Technology at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois, one of her big assistive technology “aha” moments came while working with a student with autism. The student, often disruptive in class because she wanted immediate answers to questions, needed a teaching aide at her side—an accommodation that set her apart from her peers. “There’s nothing less cool than having an adult next to you in a high school class,” Berghoff says. 

Berghoff decided to open up a Google Doc on the student’s Chromebook, with the teaching aide accessing the same Doc on her own Chromebook from across the room and responding to the student’s questions in real time. “That document, with all the questions and answers captured by the student, actually became a resource for other students—it was a huge win for everyone,” Berghoff says. “That’s something we couldn't have done years ago.” 

In Berghoff’s 25 years in education, she’s seen the many changes that technology has brought to every student—but particularly those with learning challenges. In honor of Disability Awareness Month, we asked Berghoff about the impact of assistive technology and accessibility up close. Just getting started with G Suite and Chromebooks, and want to learn more about accessibility? Head to edu.google.com/accessibility to learn more. 

How’d you get started in special education?

I did my undergrad degree in psychology with grand plans to be a psychologist, but when I applied to some Ph.D programs they told me to get some experience in the real world. My first job was working at a crisis shelter for teenage girls. Because of my work with the girls who struggled so much to learn, I took some courses in special education—and realized that was where I wanted to be.

How’d you make the switch from special education to instructional technology?

I’d spent the last several years working with high school students with an array of significant disabilities. I would try anything if I thought it could help my kids learn, so the technology office started throwing all the tech my way—everything from Chromebooks to iPads to Promethean boards—because they knew I’d give it all an honest try. 

I saw that when used with integrity, technology could really be a game changer in helping kids learn. I distinctly recall a reading lesson where I recorded myself reading and shared a YouTube link, so students could pause and replay the video at their own pace.

Timing was on my side, and when the instructional technology director position opened up at Highland Park, the thought of having a wider influence appealed to me. At the time, I was fascinated by all kinds of kids with learning challenges—not just the students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). No matter what challenges kids have, many often need some kind of special support and could benefit from the right technology. 

Lisa Berghoff in the classroom

So you’re seeing the value of the “accessibility for all” movement up close.

I do a lot of training in universal design, which is about making everything more accessible. When you design things for people at the edges, everyone benefits—like how ramps help people in wheelchairs, but if you’re pushing a baby stroller, you’ll benefit too. 

What’s changed in special education and EdTech over your time in the field?

It’s the attitude of the kids, and that’s because of the better tools we have. In the past we had to give struggling students big, bulky laptops with accessibility tools—and they hated them, because the laptops made the students look different than everyone else. Now laptops like Chromebooks are so ubiquitous; everyone has one. I love that students with disabilities can access the tools they need in a way that gives them dignity, and that doesn’t separate them from the rest of the class. Having a device in each student's hand has completely changed teaching and learning.

What’s the next new thing in assistive technology?

I think there’s a lot coming with augmented reality and virtual reality, especially for students with physical disabilities who don’t have access to the wider world. There’s also the possibility to use technology for global connections. We see kids who have a rare disease or disorder, and feel like they’re the only ones out there. If they can connect to other students just like them out in the world, it makes a big difference for them psychologically. 

I have a student who doesn’t speak, and hasn’t physically been to school for a long time. Even simply using Gmail helps her make friends at school—and her friends feel like they are her ally. Her lack of speech is no longer a barrier.

How I use Google in my classroom—and other advice for teachers

Editor’s note: Happy World Teachers' Day! Today's post comes from Rachel Dunne, a London-based educator who shares her advice for fellow teachers. Teachers like Rachel inspire our product, programs and philanthropy in support of educators every day.

I felt overwhelmed when I first started teaching. Although I studied Primary Education in university, no amount of preparation could have fully equipped me to teach my Year Six classroom (or 6th grade, for those of you not in the UK).

Six years later, I’ve taught on two continents and developed a passion for technology, bringing new tools to my school community and getting involved with the Google for Education Certified Trainer and Innovator programs. In honor of World Teachers’ Day, I’m sharing lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Get comfortable not knowing all the answers—teachers are lifelong learners, too.

My own Year Two teacher, Mrs. Barling, helped me find my love of learning. Whenever Mrs. Barling got tongue tied, she followed up her fumble with funny noises that sent our classroom into fits of laughter. Mrs. Barling showed me it was okay to make mistakes and be silly sometimes; now I do my best each day to model this for my own students. When my students ask questions, and I don’t know the answer, I’ll say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out.” Then we open our laptops and find the answer together. I want my students to understand they don’t have to know all the answers; what matters most is learning how to find them. 

Big impact happens through small moments of leadership.

When I moved schools, I went from having one device per student to having one device for every twenty students. However, I knew technology like Chromebooksand G Suite for Education could help students and teachers collaborate more effectively in the classroom. Five weeks into my new job, I persuaded school leadership to make technology a bigger part of our classrooms. I invited them to sit in my classroom and watch students collaborate through Google Docs. I found Chromebooks that fit our school budget. Finally, I identified community leaders who could support others throughout the transition. Now our classrooms are more effective and collaborative than ever. I realized while I could spark impact on my own, encouraging others to join me enabled far-reaching change.

Classroom pulse checks can show you where to focus.

I use Chromebook apps to get instant feedback that lets me know how students are feeling in the moment. I can ask students a math question and immediately know who needs some extra help. Sometimes I’ll even ask my students mid-lesson to send me an emoji of how they’re feeling. Then I can easily make adjustments to ensure my students are following along.

Rachel teaching

Encouraging my math students to discover the concept of area

Find a community of teachers you can count on to keep you energized.

When teaching gets tough, I lean on other teachers to keep me going. I found my support system through regular Google Trainer and Innovator meetups. We talk about challenges, but we also share joyful moments and exchange ideas that positively impact our schools. We even have a Google Hangout to stay in touch. It reminds me that I’m not alone, and it’s always a positive reminder that we love our students and the change we’re making. Whether in-person or on social media, I encourage you to find a community of educators who will keep you inspired.

Your well-being is more important than you think.

One night, I stayed late after school constructing a display for an upcoming lesson. I bumped into my Head Teacher on my way out, and she gave me advice I will always remember: “In twenty years, your students aren’t going to remember that display. They are going to remember their relationship with you and your presence in the classroom.” From then on, I realized I needed to take care of myself so I could show up in the way my students needed me to—present and engaged in my classroom. I make time to exercise and spend time with my family. I also prioritize switching off entirely at least one day a week.

A progress report with Google Classroom’s first school

Five years after Google Classroom first showed up in schools, teachers are looking back at the tool that forever changed how they organize their classes and communicate with students. Out went the long hours standing at the copy machine; in came instant feedback, easy quizzes and “do now” assignments and more engaged students. 

To celebrate Google Classroom’s fifth birthday, we asked two faculty members from Fontbonne Hall Academy, a private high school for girls in Brooklyn, New York about their early days as one of Classroom’s beta testers, and what school life is like five years later. (Just getting started with Classroom, or need a refresher? Visit g.co/firstdayofclassroom and g.co/classroom/help to study up.) 

What was teaching like at Fontbonne before Google Classroom?

Jennifer McNiff, social studies teacher:I periodically think about what my life was like before, and I break out into a cold sweat. What I think about is how much prep we had to do, like printing out assignments and getting them to the kids. 

Mark Surdyka, director of technology:I used chalkboards and had kids write everything down in notebooks. I’d give kids assignments and grade them, and then those papers would get thrown in the trash. There was tons of paper wasted, and the prep time was ridiculous. 

Right now, I’m teaching an AP math course, and I think I printed out only one thing—some instructions on how to log in to Classroom. That was it. We do everything else in Google Drive instead of wasting time writing things down. Everything is shared faster. And our photocopiers don’t get so beaten up like they used to. 

I periodically think about what my life was like before, and I break out into a cold sweat. Jennifer McNiff
Social studies teacher

I’m sure you don’t miss all that prep time and paperwork! What does this mean to you as teachers?

Jennifer:It’s nice now because I don’t have to worry about using my prep time for mundane tasks like making photocopies. I can focus on lesson planning and getting right to work with students collaboratively, instead of waiting to give them handouts.

Mark:It’s part of our routine now. If we were without it, I don’t know what we’d do—it would feel like we were going back in time 20 years.

Were people nervous about using Classroom at the beginning?

Mark:There’s always fear of the unknown. People didn’t know what to expect, so they were hesitant to jump in with both feet. We were lucky to have a teacher do an early test of what is now called Classroom. We were able to take a collective deep breath and assure ourselves this would be a good experience. 

Jennifer: I remember that my biggest fear was that if my assignments were all online in Classroom instead of written down, that I’d forget about them. But that didn’t happen—teachers are good at remembering what they’ve assigned.

How have you gotten creative with Classroom?

Jennifer:I use it even for simple things, like my “do now” assignments that I give to kids as soon as they walk into the room. It’s so much easier now to get students starting on something right away, and getting comments from them right after they sit down. 

I also teach AP Psychology, and I structure it like a college class—we work together collaboratively as well as have lectures. I created slide templates in Classroom so that students can take lecture notes in them, and also see graphs and videos that I put there. It really helps move along the lectures so that students understand the material better. I love having all the content in one spot.

Any advice for schools that are just starting to use Classroom?

Mark:In one word, play. You’re not going to learn anything about Classroom unless you sit there and play around with it. The more you start playing with all the features, like making copies for students assigning projects, you won’t fully realize what’s there and how it can help you.

My Path to Google – Caile Collins, Software Engineer

Welcome to the 36th installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

This special edition comes out just in time for the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and features Caile Collins, a software engineer who interviewed for her current job at a previous GHC — and will be returning to #GHC19 this year as a Googler.

Today’s post is all about Software Engineer, Caile Collins. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Buffalo, NY, home to Buffalo wings and Niagara Falls. I entered college as an English major, and I came out with a B.A. in Linguistics with minors in Computer Science and Spanish at Cornell University. When I’m not working, you can find me taking yoga and dance classes, walking dogs, embroidering/weaving/sewing (multi-threaded tasks!), and attending lots of musicals, plays, and comedy shows.

What’s your role at Google?
I am a software engineer working in Google Research on an early-stage project to help language learners achieve their goals. I was really eager to get involved with this project because it ties together my Linguistics background with my role as a product/infrastructure engineer.

I had the chance to join the team from its inception, so it’s been really rewarding to watch it develop, and I’ve been able to be very hands-on and have a lot of impact since it started as such a small team. It’s also been interesting to work together with research engineers, user experience researchers, and product managers to figure out the best path for our project; it’s a very dynamic environment, and everyone contributes different perspectives.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I originally wanted to be a speech pathologist; though I was taking more and more Computer Science classes (reaching beyond the requirements for the minor), it didn’t occur to me that I would ever pursue a career in that area. A friend of mine from my Natural Language Processing class encouraged me to come to an on-campus panel of female Google interns that she was going to be participating in (it became my introduction to Cornell’s Women in Computing Club). As I recall, the discussion centered around breaking down impostor syndrome; it clearly drove home the point well enough, because I went back to my dorm and applied to a dozen internships on a whim.

Caile, her team, and Seattle’s Fremont Troll at a team offsite.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I applied directly for my first internship, and then I interviewed in-person at the end of summer in order to come back for another internship the following year. During that summer, I learned I’d be attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing for the first time in October, and my Google recruiter said that I could do my final full-time interviews there. I was extremely anxious about interviewing so I decided to just jump in headfirst and do as many practice interviews as I could – with full-time engineers before my internship ended, with friends at school, and then with real companies at the career fair at school. It gradually became less scary.

When I finally got to Grace Hopper, I showed up to the interview booth extremely early to make sure I’d know where to find it; I kept circling back there, and the recruiters would give me a friendly wave and chuckle because they knew they’d be seeing a lot of me until my interviews finally happened.

Afterwards, it was really great to be able to relax and join in the celebration of Grace Hopper. I love being in female-driven environments, and having that at such a large scale, especially in my newly selected field of work, was pretty amazing. I particularly remember the keynote speeches were really inspiring; I was excited to hear Susan Wojcicki speak since I had met her that summer while interning on a team at YouTube.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
Other than my very generous friends’ time and support, my most reliable resource was Programming Interviews Exposed. I’ve read it front-to-back more times than I can count, and I’ve lent it out to others since then. In my experience, working through problems alone in your head is very different from solving them out loud in front of someone, so it’s important to practice in a real interview-like setting, even if it’s just with your peers.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I had known that software engineering isn’t all about what specific skills you already know, but largely about how much you’re willing to learn and adapt when tackling new challenges. Moreover, software engineering requires patience and communication to build an end-to-end product that’s meant to last. Those are great skills to have in all aspects of life, and they’ll help you on a microscale - debugging! - and a macroscale - launching!

When not writing code, Caile’s hobbies include other multi-threaded tasks like weaving!

What inspires you to come in every day?
I’ve had a lot of inspiring women in my life, from my mom, sister, and aunts, to my teachers and co-workers. In my career, I’ve been lucky to have met women who have shown me that (1) I can dare to be a software engineer, (2) I can do really well in this field by continuously learning and adapting, and (3) I can find community here.

Once I started at Google full-time, I really want to pass that impact forward. I quickly got involved in intern mentoring. Beyond feeling very lucky to work on a project I’m personally interested in and that contributes positively to the world, I’m grateful for the opportunity to act as a mentor, while continuing to feel supported by those in my own life.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
You don’t need to have been coding since you were twelve in order to be a great programmer. If you’re already studying it or working in it now, just think how much you’ve learned since you first started. I didn’t know Computer Science existed as a field until I heard that a friend was studying it in college.
Occasionally I’ll look back at early project notes and remember how little I initially knew about something that I’m now very knowledgeable about and comfortable with. Everybody has to start from somewhere, so just be patient with yourself and know that getting stuck is okay; you can always try again.

The 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is underway!

5 memories to celebrate Google Classroom’s 5th birthday

Five years ago, the world watched feats of human strength and spirit at the Olympics in Socci and the World Cup in Rio. A robot made the first-ever landing on a comet. Citizens of the internet dumped buckets of ice on their heads to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. And while millions of teachers and students headed back to school in 2014, a team of passionate engineers, former teachers and ed tech experts at Google launched a new program—Google Classroom. 

Since then, the community of educators and students using Classroom has grown to over 40 million worldwide. Thoughtful feedback from teachers has helped us build new features to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s schools.

Animated video showing Google Classroom facts, including: Classroom is now available in 238 countries, 40m educators and students use Classroom globally, 100s of pieces of feedback from educators read, 100s of Classroom features launched.

Here are five stories of how Google Classroom has evolved over the years.

1. Building a mission control center designed to save teachers time 

When talking with educators, we learned that their biggest need was a tool that allowed them to spend less time on administrative tasks and spend more time teaching. The first iteration of Google Classroom helped them create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with students easily.

Google Classroom launch in 2014

Classroom was launched in the fall of 2014.

2. Listening to educators and incorporating their feedback

As Google Classroom spread to more schools, we heard lots of inspiring success stories. We also listened for ways to make improvements and launched hundreds of new features based on educator feedback. And in year four, it was time for a refresh. This led to the Classwork page which organizes assignments and questions by grouping them into customizable modules and units.

Video of Google Classroom, showing a complete tutorial of the product

In 2018, we added the Classwork page to help educators organize assignments, materials and more.

Teachers needed more ways to quickly find resources in Classroom, especially when juggling multiple classes. So we changed the Stream page into a conversation hub and improved the Settings page to allow teachers to turn off notifications. We also built a way for educators to copy and reuse classwork. The result? A more streamlined way to set up and manage classes, coursework and student rosters. 

After hearing that educators were spending too much time giving actionable feedback, we built a comment bank, which gives them a place to easily save, reuse and modify common feedback. Earlier this year, Classroom was refreshed further when it was redesigned with the intuitive look and feel that’s used across Google tools.  

Comment bank in Google Classroom

In 2018, we added a comment bank to save and reuse commonly used feedback when grading.

3. Enhancing Classroom by integrating partner apps

We know there are lots of A+ education apps out there. It’s easy to feel bogged down by all the separate logins and applications to access your favorite tools. By partnering with some of the top EdTech companies—including Classcraft, GoGuardian, Pearson and others—we’ve helped integrate popular education apps with Classroom. Today, these partnerships allow teachers to share information between Classroom and other tools they love, without switching platforms.

4. Better feedback with rubrics, Gradebook, and syncing grades to your SIS

Earlier this year we introduced rubrics, a tool currently in beta that helps students clearly understand how their assignments will be evaluated, while also giving educators a standardized way to grade. This feature works alongside other feedback tools to help teachers personalize instruction and improve learning.

Rubrics in Google Classroom

In 2019, we introduced rubrics.

Other new developments include the ability to sync grades between a Student Information System (SIS) and Classroom, and Gradebook, a tool that keeps assignments and grades organized. Gradebook allows teachers to see a holistic view of their students’ grades across assignments, and offers quick ways to grade and return work. Teachers can also choose how grades are calculated (either by weighted average or total points) and set up grade categories for easier organization. 

Sync grades with your SIS and Google Classroom

Earlier this year, we launched an early access beta program that allows educators to sync grades from Classroom to their school information system (SIS) of record.

5. Help students keep their ideas authentic

Originality reports in Google Docs help students balance outside inspiration with authenticity in their own work. This beta feature is designed to allow both teachers and students to compare coursework against hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books. To use originality reports with Classroom, apply to join the testing program by filling out our form

Analyze student work with originality reports

In 2019, we added a beta for originality reports in Google Classroom.

Bring Google to your Classroom

Ready to try some of the new features mentioned? Syncing grades with your SIS, rubrics, and originality reports are available in beta. Sign up to test these tools today at g.co/classroom/betas.

Don’t have access to Google Classroom, but still want the benefits of collaborative teaching tools? Check out our new tool, Assignments

A new way for job seekers to stand out to IT recruiters

Almost two years ago, Grow with Google introduced the IT Support Professional Certificate, a program that helps people prepare for entry-level roles in IT, with no experience or degree necessary. IT support skills are highly teachable, and a four-year degree isn’t typically required to build a successful career in this field. We knew that if we could train beginners on technical skills, we could create paths to real jobs—both at Google and at other companies across the country. So we created a hands-on curriculum and made it available on Coursera to prepare learners for IT support jobs in under six months.

Google and CompTIA badge

Now, Google is teaming up with CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association, to provide a dual badge of completion. Employers widely recognize the CompTIA A+ certification as a valued credential for high-growth IT support roles. Now, learners who complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and pass the CompTIA A+ certification exams will have access to a new dual credential from CompTIA and Google: a badge that can be posted on LinkedIn to catch the attention of potential employers. 

One recipient of the dual credential is Leo Chui, who was a personal trainer for 12 years when he decided he was ready for a career change. “I have always been passionate about technology and I always wanted to work in that field, but I didn’t have a university degree,” he says. “I simply did not have the means to take on student loans in order to pursue my dreams and also keep a roof over my head.” Leo believes that the IT Support Professional Certificate aligns with the training in CompTIA’s certification exams. He says the training and the badge gave him the confidence to start applying for positions in the field, and he just landed his first IT job. 

With this dual badge, people who complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and receive the CompTIA A+ certification are better set up to share their skills with potential employers.