Author Archives: Maryam Sanglaji

New Workspace for Education tools to enhance learning

Editor’s Note: Join us for Google for Education’s product launch event, The Anywhere School 2022, to find out about the latest features to help students pursue their personal potential.

Whether learning takes place in the classroom, or virtually on Google Meet, control remains paramount. It’s also important to enhance educational tools that help take teaching and learning further for every educator and student. Today we’re announcing several new Google Workspace for Education tools rooted in enhancing learning for the individual and classroom, giving educators more control and increasing support for diverse learners.

Enrich teaching and learning experiences for all types of learners

No one student experience is the same, so it’s a key priority for us to ensure the entire learning environment is enhanced. Earlier this year, we announced many features in Docs, like Assistive Writing features and the ability to use Meet directly in Docs, Sheets and Slides. For our Google Workspace for Education Plus and Teaching and Learning Upgrade customers, we announced live-translated captions in Meet, which allows hosts to add live-translated captions to support video meetings for language classes, multilingual audiences and even parent/guardian teacher conferences.

Today, we’re adding even more features to make Meet useful in the classroom. which are all available in Google Workspace for Education Plus and the Teaching & Learning Upgrade:

  • Host Q&As and Polls in live stream: Users in a livestream later this year can participate in Q&As and polls, matching the experience Meet attendees enjoy today.
  • Auto-transcribe Meet calls directly into a Google Doc: Keep a record of meetings with less storage than a recording and provide an easier way to edit, review, search and share lessons with students.
  • Live stream public events directly to YouTube: Live stream Meet video calls to the public via YouTube for events like school board meetings, school assemblies and much more.

We’ve also made significant updates to Originality Reports in both Classroom and Assignments. Schools using Education Plus or the Teaching and Learning Upgrade can soon analyze Microsoft Word documents and backfill their private, school-owned repository with previous student classwork so teachers can compare student-to-student matches, in addition to hundreds of billions of web pages and over 40 million books. Also, starting today, originality reports can run reports in more languages including Dutch, Thai and Tagalog.

Increased controls and safety

We’re adding new Meet features to make sure you have control and can manage your class:

  • Additional Meet controls: Admins can now control whether users in their organization can share their screen and use polls, Q&As, and whiteboarding to reduce student distractions and allow only teachers to use these settings.
  • Picture-in-Picture: To be able to see and manage your class while presenting, we added Picture-in-Picture in Google Meet. Hosts can now see up to four meeting participants while presenting and navigating different tabs and windows, when running Meet on Chrome browsers.
Animated image of a Google Meet call and how to turn on the Picture-in-Picture feature to navigate to another tab while also seeing participants in Meet.

Building more inclusive learning environments

We believe in building with and for people with disabilities, and one of the ways we do that is by building accessibility features directly into our products.

  • Individualized accessibility preferences: Previously, these preferences were shared across all Workspace tools, meaning users needed to continuously turn them on and off. Now, accessibility features, like high contrast mode, will automatically work in Docs, Sheets and Slides, without needing to turn on an Editor-specific preference.
  • Alt-text in Gmail: You can now add alt-text to your images in Gmail. This allows people to add context for an image, making it accessible for people using screen readers and helping them better understand exactly what is being shared.

With these improvements, we aim to change the way the classroom is connected, with the ability to teach across various learners’ needs. We look forward to another upcoming school year that is more connected and more personalized, regardless of where learning is taking place.

Google Meet is more secure, easy to use and engaging

Over the past year, video conferencing became essential for teaching, learning and staying connected. Whether you’re still teaching remotely, in a hybrid setting or have returned to in-person instruction, Meet provides an easy, reliable and secure way for your school community to connect. Today, we're announcing new features to Meet to continue supporting the evolving needs of school communities. 

Secure by design

Meetings initiated from Google Classroom will soon be safer and more secure by design, with these updates coming in the next few months: 

  • Every teacher and co-teacher in a Classroom class will be meeting hosts in Meet by default, so multiple teachers can share the load of managing a class.
  • Once a teacher is present, students who are on the Classroom roster will be automatically admitted to the meeting. Students will be placed into a “waiting room” and won't be able to see or communicate with other participants until a teacher is present.
  • Anyone who’s not on the Classroom roster will have to “ask to join” and only the teacher(s) can allow them into the meeting.

All meetings, including those started from Meet or Calendar, will get the following additional security updates in the coming months: 

  • When a host ends breakout rooms, participants will get a warning and then will be forced back into the main meeting.
  • Hosts can match the breakout room safety settings with the safety settings from the main meeting.
  • To quickly prevent distractions, hosts will be able to turn off everyone’s video at once with “video lock.” 
  • For hosts using tablets and mobile phones, we’re adding important meeting safety controls, like the ability to end meetings for everyone on the call and mute everyone at once. 
Google Meet and Google Classroom integration

Improved integration makes meetings started from Classroom safer and more secure by default  

In Meet, participants are forced back into the main meeting when breakout rooms end

When hosts end breakout rooms, participants will be forced back into the main meeting

To give admins more control, starting this month we’re adding settings to the Admin console so school leaders can set policies for who can join their school’s video calls and whether people from their school can join video calls from other schools. This helps admins create the right boundaries for different aged students, facilitate external speakers and more. Note that this update doesn't change your default experience — your experience will only change if your admin changes the current setting. Admins will also soon have a new setting to control whether Quick access is enabled by default, and another setting to control whether people can use the chat in meetings. 

And in the coming weeks, admins with Education Standard and Education Plus can end any meeting in their organization directly from the investigation tool, and Quick access will be automatically turned off so nobody can rejoin the meeting without the host present.

An admin ending meetings in their organization directly from the investigation tool

Admins can end any meeting in their organization directly from the investigation tool

Easier to use

To make it easier for you to connect with your students while presenting, we recently rolled out a refreshed Meet experience that allows you to see your presentation content and students at the same time. You can unpin your presentation or minimize your self feed to see more of your students on the call, and names are always visible so you can see who’s who. You can also use different layout options to customize what you want to focus on.

New Google Meet user experience showing how to unpin your presentation

The refreshed user interface makes it easier to engage with your students while presenting

We also recently announced that meetings not initiated from Classroom will soon start supporting multiple hosts, making it easier for you to partner with other people helping manage a class. You’ll be able to choose co-hosts in meetings, and all meeting hosts will have access to safety controls. Multiple hosts will be rolling out in the coming months.

Adding a co-teacher as a co-host in Google Meet

Add co-hosts to share the load of managing class 

More engaging and inclusive for all types of learners

We recently launched an improved hand-raise icon and sound so students can participate with even more confidence, and teachers can more easily see and hear who raised their hands. People who raise their hands show up in the grid and there is a persistent notification so you can see how many people raised their hands and in what order. And once a student with a raised hand is done talking, their hand automatically lowers.

Improved hand-raising experience with a new icon and sound

An improved hand-raising experience makes it easier for students to engage with confidence

Meet now supports closed captions in five languages so people can more easily follow along and stay engaged. And in the coming months, you’ll be able to pin multiple tiles to customize what you want to focus on. For example, students can easily pin a sign language interpreter and the teacher so they can see both at the same time.

Pinning multiple participants in Google Meet

Pin multiple tiles to customize what you want to focus on

For educators with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus, we’re introducing features that take engagement and inclusivity to the next level. Later this year, Meet will offer live translated captions. With live translations enabled, you can listen to someone speaking one language and see real-time captions in another language. We expect this will be especially helpful in multilingual classrooms or when meeting with parents who speak a different language.

Live translated captions from English to Spanish

Make classes and conversations more accessible with live translated captions 

In the coming months, you’ll be able to use closed captions during livestreams. You’ll also soon be able to host public livestreams streamed right to YouTube so anyone outside of your institution can attend, ideal for school board meetings, school events and more. Public live streaming will be rolling out in beta later this year and will be widely available for customers with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus in early 2022. 

Creating a public livestream in Google Meet

Host school board meetings, events and more with public livestreams on YouTube

Using Meet beyond distance learning

We’ve been inspired to see how educators are using Meet to improve the student learning experience, professional development and engage their whole school community. As the needs of school communities change, Meet will keep adapting to help people teach, learn and stay connected — whether they’re remote or in person.