Author Archives: Avni Shah

The Anywhere School: 50+ Google for Education updates

In the midst of all the change and uncertainty in the world over the past several months, the education community has never wavered in its commitment to learning and supporting students. At Google, we’re honored to work on tools that lighten the load for teachers, school leaders, families, and especially the students who have navigated learning from home with grace and resilience. 

As educators worldwide have reinvented their practice online, we’re also adapting our tools to meet the evolving needs of their new educational landscape. This year, we’re taking a virtual approach to “back to school” with The Anywhere School, bringing Google for Education announcements to hundreds of thousands of viewers in more than 250 countries around the world. 

Inspired by your feedback, we’re sharing over 50 new features across Meet, Classroom, G Suite and other products. Check out our other posts for deeper dives into the features, and continue to watch the keynote sessions, which are running live for the next 24 hours and will be available on demand if you need to catch up later. Here’s a birds-eye view of what’s coming. 

A safer, more engaging Meet experience

Earlier this year, we announced new features coming to Google Meet to improve moderation and engagement. Today, we’re sharing more details about these upcoming launches and when they’ll be available. Here are a few highlights:

  • In September, we’ll kick off with a larger tiled view of up to 49 people and an integrated Jamboard whiteboard for collaboration. We’ll also release new controls so moderators can choose to always join first, end meetings for all participants, disable in-meeting chat, and much more.

  • In October, we’ll launch custom and blurred backgrounds to provide some extra privacy. Breakout rooms and attendance tracking will also be launching for all Google Enterprise for Education customers, allowing for more engaged classes and insights on participation.

  • Later this year, we’re rolling out hand raising for all customers and Q&A and polling for G Suite Enterprise for Education customers. Plus, we’ll launch a new temporary recordings feature which will be available to all Education customers for free (premium recordings will still be part of G Suite Enterprise for Education). 

Better support for students, educators and admins in Classroom

With more teachers around the world using Classroom more than ever before, we’re working to make Classroom simpler and more efficient with new features.  

  • A new to-do widget on the Classes page will help students see what’s coming up, what’s missing, and what’s been graded. 
  • Teachers can now share a link to invite students to their class, which makes joining a class much easier. 
  • Classroom will soon be available in 10 additional languages, for 54 languages total.

Classroom also gives you access to originality reports, which are now better than ever. For example, educators can soon run originality reports five times per course (up from three previously). And with G Suite Enterprise for Education, educators will be able to see matches for potential plagiarism not only against webpages, but between student submissions at their school.

We’re giving admins more powerful tools to manage G Suite and Classroom. For example, school leaders with Enterprise licenses will have greater visibility into Classroom usage via new Data Studio dashboards, which allow admins to see active classes, measure feature adoption, and monitor teacher and student engagement. To support teachers and admins, we’re making it easier to sync Classroom grades with a push to your Student Information System (SIS), starting with Infinite Campus customers (and more SIS to come). Keep reading for more details on what’s new in Classroom.

Enhance your learning management system with Assignments

Our newest product for non-Classroom users is Assignments, an application for your learning management system (LMS) that gives educators a faster, simpler way to distribute, analyze and grade student work. This time-saving application helps educators automatically create and distribute personalized copies of classwork to each student's Google Drive folder, quickly provide feedback, and keep grading consistent and transparent with originality reports. Assignments is compatible with any LMS that supports LTI 1.1 and higher such as Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard and more. 

Help students turn in their best work with Docs

We recently launched SmartCompose and Auto Correct in Docs for educators and students. This will help them compose high-quality content faster by cutting back on repetitive writing, while reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors (by the end of this month, admins will be able to disable both SmartCompose and Auto Correct if they choose). Soon we’re also launching citations so students can format and manage their sources directly in Docs. With the citations tool, after adding the relevant attributes for a source, students can insert formatted in-text citations or a bibliography.

New resources and tools that continue to support families

As many parents and guardians supported their childrens’ learning from home this year, we heard about a big need for more resources and training for families on Google’s tools. To help, we’ve created the Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians, which helps parents better understand the technology that their kids use in the classroom. Plus, we’ve added school accounts to Chrome OS so students can access Classroom and their school files while having the safety net of Family Link. We’re sharing many more product updates for families here.

Finally, educators can find free training, resources, and professional development programs like the new Certified Coach program to support them as they use these tools and features in their classroom in the new Teacher Center

Moving forward together

There’s so much more to share with you about what’s coming to Google for Education, and we encourage you to take some time to watch the keynote sessions from The Anywhere School event for all the updates. 

Most importantly, thank you for your partnership. We’re grateful for the insights you’ve shared with us, and we’ll continue to evolve our products to meet the unique needs of this moment. By working together, we can provide students with the education they deserve, no matter where it’s taking place.

Helping educators and students stay connected

As many educational institutions around the globe are undergoing, extending or planning closures due to COVID-19, half of the world’s student population is unable to attend school. Educators face the challenge of teaching remotely at an unprecedented scale, and in some cases, for the first time.

In the last week we’ve created new distance learning resources including a collection of training materials, a list of useful apps, a new [email protected] YouTube resource designed for families, as well as a series of blog posts and webinars. We’ve also made our premium Meet features free for schools through July 1, 2020. This includes the ability to have 250 people in a call together, record lessons and livestream. And thanks to feedback from educators, we’re also constantly making product improvements, like these new educator controls for Hangouts Meet. 

We’ve continued to listen to the challenges teachers are facing during these uncertain times and today we’re announcing two new resources to help teachers and students stay connected.

Teach from Home

Teach From Home is a central hub of information, tips, training and tools from across Google for Education to help teachers keep teaching, even when they aren’t in the classroom. 

To start, we’re providing an overview of how to get started with distance learning—for example how to teach online, make lessons accessible to students, and collaborate with other educators.

The resource will continue to evolve. We've built the hub with the support and cooperation of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, who is also working with other education partners to respond to this emergency. As we continue receiving feedback from teachers and partners on what’s most helpful, we’ll continue to build and improve this. Teach From Home is currently available in English, with downloadable toolkits available in Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and Polish, with additional languages coming soon.

Supporting organizations who are helping to reduce barriers to distance learning

When facing these challenges, we’re at our best when we respond as a community. As part of our $50 million COVID-19 response, we’re announcing a $10 million Distance Learning Fund to support organizations around the globe that help educators access the resources they need to provide high quality learning opportunities to children, particularly those from underserved communities.

The Distance Learning Fund’s first grant will be $1 million to help Khan Academy provide remote learning opportunities to students affected by COVID-19 related school closures. Along with the grant, Google volunteers are planning to help Khan Academy provide educator resources in more than 15 languages, and through their platform, they'll reach over 18 million learners a month from communities around the globe. We hope to announce additional organizations soon.

We’re inspired by the ideas and resources educational leaders are sharing with each other during this time. To continue the conversation, join a Google Educator Group, share your distance learning tips and tricks, and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook. We hope you’ll keep passing along your ideas and feedback so we can continue to evolve and build this together.
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