Author Archives: Akshat Sharma

Classroom adapts for the future of learning and teaching

Over the last year, the use of education technology skyrocketed as schools hustled to keep students learning. As some students return to their classrooms and others continue learning from home, we’re optimistic about the role education technology can play to help teachers and school leaders as they make up for lost time. 

We saw Classroom become a center for teaching and learning for millions of teachers and students this year, with many schools now using Classroom as their learning management system (LMS). This was only possible thanks to the support and feedback of teachers around the world. We were amazed by how quickly they learned the tools and put them into practice. 

Change in education is inevitable. As the needs of institutions evolve, Classroom will keep pace. Today, we’re sharing some important updates to features we previously shared on our roadmap as well as some new ones we developed with input from teachers and education leaders: 

Roster import:Starting this summer, U.S. districts with Google Workspace for Education Plus will be able to automatically set up classes and keep rosters in sync with their Student Information System, powered by Clever. IT admins will be able to create and populate classes via Clever, saving teachers valuable prep time. 

Classroom add-ons:Coming to beta later this year for districts with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus, Classroom add-ons allow you to bring your favorite content and activities from top edtech tools right inside Classroom. Admins will be able to pre-install add-ons for multiple teachers or groups at once.

We’re starting with nine partners including Adobe Spark for Education, BookWidgets, CK-12 Foundation, Edpuzzle, IXL, Kahoot!, Nearpod, Newsela and SAFARI Montage, with plans to expand to many more. Here's an example of how Bookwidgets is using add-ons to make it  easier for teachers to assign an activity and students to complete it, without ever leaving Classroom.

Animated gif showing the Bookwidget add-on right inside Classroom.

Scheduling assignments across multiple classes:Coming later this year, this top-requested feature will help teachers and co-teachers easily schedule assignments to multiple classes. 

Animated gif showing scheduling assignments to multiple classes

Offline capabilities: Coming to the Classroom Android app in a few months, offline mode will allow students to start their work offline, review their assignments and attachments as well as  write assignments in Google Docs — all without an internet connection. 

Student engagement activity: Later this year, teachers will easily be able to see when a student was last active, including when they last submitted work or participated in the class through comments with a student engagement activity dashboard.

Animated gif showing the student engagement activity in a class dashboard.

Google Meet in Classroom: In the coming months you’ll see updates to how teachers can use Google Meet in Classroom, making it easier, safer and more secure. First, all co-teachers in a class will also automatically be co-hosts in the meeting, and only students listed in the Classroom roster will be able to join the Meet. Next, students will have to sit in a “waiting room” until a teacher has joined the meeting link. And finally, guests outside the class roster will have to “ask to join” so no unwanted participants get into meetings. 

Educators' feedback makes Classroom better every year. With your feedback and insights, we’ll keep working together to make sure teaching and learning are possible for every teacher and student from every device anywhere in the world.

What’s new for admins in Google for Education this fall

Editor’s note: On August 11, 2020 Google for Education kicked off a global back-to-school event, The Anywhere School. Check out the full recap of product launches and our collection of announcements.

Educators, students and families have quickly adjusted to distance learning, and administrators have played a critical role in this success. Over the past few months, they’ve equipped teachers and learners with the tools they need. We’ve listened to what admins need to save time and meet new demands, and have made improvements so they are better equipped to keep supporting educators and students this school year.

Powerful insights in Classroom

Coming soon, admins who want to troubleshoot Classroom issues will be able to access Classroom audit logs directly from the Admin console. With audit logs, they’ll be able to pinpoint events such as who removed a student from a class or who archived a specific class on a specific date. 

Especially now, we’ve heard that admins want dashboards that give them detailed visibility into usage and adoption of Classroom so they can provide targeted training to teachers, or help intervene with students who aren’t engaged. At schools with G Suite Enterprise for Education, admins will soon be able to automatically import Classroom logs into BigQuery, where they can get much deeper insights into who is using Classroom and how they’re using it. With just a few clicks, they can also create a customizable dashboard on Data Studio, giving them a slate of engagement metrics, including metrics like how many assignments were created, submitted, or graded, and will be able to pivot by date, organizational unit, specific instructors, or specific students. 

Moderation tools for Meet

Meet has become a common tool for teachers and students to connect with each other. As more people rely on Meet, the need for improved moderation tools has grown.

Admins can already get insights into how students and teachers interact with Google Meet using the Meet Quality Tool within the Admin console. Admins can see an overview of meeting metrics, find and debug meetings, view network statistics (like jitter, packet loss and congestion), or view system (CPU) statistics. They can now delegate access to the tool to other people in their organization using a custom privilege in the Admin roles section. Plus, just like in Classroom, admins can access Meet audit logs in the Admin console.

Admins also have the ability to enable or disable Meet independently of Chat. And now, Meet blocks anonymous attendees by default for Edu domains; admins have the option to change this setting as needed.

Better workflows for G Suite

As schools increasingly use G Suite to support distance learning, they’re looking for easier ways to communicate and share knowledge. To improve school-wide or small group communication, admins can use the improved Google Groups experience to create and manage groups. Also, a new beta will allow teams to sharespecific folders within a Shared Drive to help admins make sure that the right information can be shared with the right people. 

SmartCompose, which automatically suggests words and phrases, and Auto Correct, which corrects misspellings or grammar issues, are both now available in Docs for education customers. By the end of this month, admins will be able to disable both SmartCompose and Auto Correct if they choose. 

A simpler way to trial G Suite Enterprise for Education

Lastly, admins who are interested in starting a trial with G Suite Enterprise for Education will soon be able to do so directly without support from a reseller. In order to activate the one-time 30-day trial, admins can enroll from the Billing section of the G Suite Admin console and provision up to 10 team members.

Admins make Google for Education tools work smoothly behind the scenes, so educators and students can get down to work. We hope the new features smooth out the rough spots in the admin workday. If you’d like to learn more about all the new products and features, watch our keynote session from The Anywhere School event.

6 ways Quizzes in Google Forms are getting smarter

Editor's note: For Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re highlighting how Google supports teachers—and today, we’re announcing six improvements to Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers save time. Stay tuned here and follow along on Twitter throughout the week to see how we’re celebrating.

In the two years since we launched Quizzes in Google Forms, educators have expanded the possibilities of the tool both inside and outside the classroom. Today, we’re announcing six new features based on valuable feedback from teachers and designed to help educators continue using Quizzes in Google Forms in creative ways:

1. Quiz answer suggestions: Using Google’s machine learning, Forms can now predict the correct answer as a teacher types the question, as well as provide options for wrong answers. If you give a pop quiz on U.S. capitals, this new feature will predict all the right capitals for every single state—and even throw in some curveballs, like Charlotte Amalie and San Juan.


2. Autocomplete answers:Machine learning is also helping educators save time with more predictive analysis. After you type one answer, Forms will now propose related answers. For example, if a question requires the days of the week as answer options, Google Forms will autocomplete the remaining answers. Additionally, this feature is now available in 14 languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, German and Arabic. “I love this feature, it saves so much time. The ability to start typing something and have Forms start suggesting things before you’re even done typing is pretty cool,” says Chris Webb, a math teacher at John Rennie High School in Montreal.

Autocomplete answers

3. Automatically grade checkbox and multiple choice grid questions:Grading quizzes can be time consuming, which is why we built a new way to automate the process. Now, in checkbox grid and multiple choice grid-style questions, you can denote correct answers in the answer key, and completed quizzes are automatically assigned points based on answers. “Previously, there was a lot of repetition for teachers trying to ask these types of questions. But this [feature] saves time, collects all the data in a sheet in a way that's really smart, and gives teachers full control over grading,” says Webb.
Automatically grade checkbox and multiple choice grid questions
4. Give decimal grades:You can give partial credit on a paper quiz, and now you have the same flexibility in Google Forms. If an answer is partially correct, you can give a half or quarter point, making grades more precise. Like all grades in Google Forms, these are automatically added up and can be synced with Google Classroom.

5. Improve understanding with YouTube video feedback:You can now give highly customized feedback to students by attaching a video from YouTube. If a student doesn’t understand a concept or could use extra practice, link them to any YouTube video so they can review material on their own.


6. See the total number of points in a quiz:Teachers told us they would like a way to quickly reference the total number of points in a quiz as they’re editing. Now, there’s a tally of points at the top of the quiz that updates as you create or edit questions.

These updates are rolling out over the next couple weeks. With Google’s machine learning within Forms, creating quizzes and grading is now faster, easier, and more automated and customizable than ever before. We hope these new features give even more time back to hard-working educators!