Tag Archives: classroom

In person, virtual or hybrid: helpful tools for back to school

As a former director at the largest school district in the United States, I’ve witnessed the challenges of preparing for the back-to-school season. It can be daunting to equip your districts, educators, students and families with the educational resources they need to go back to school with confidence. 

We recently sat down with a group of school administrators from around the world to get a sense of what they’re thinking about when using digital tools to overcome challenges for back to school in 2021. Although the term “going back to school” looks different across different schools, states and countries, here are a few of the top things administrators are thinking about to help guide you when going back to the classroom, regardless of whether you’ll be in-person, virtual or a hybrid of the two. To find more tips for how to use Google tools this upcoming school year, check out our Back to School Guide for school leaders.

Tools to enhance teaching and learning

Ruth Yeh, a teacher and technology advisor at Taipei First Girls High School, said she’s thinking a lot about how different it continues to be “to conduct classes the way we used to, and making sure all students are given the attention they need to learn and grow.” Ruth said that using Google tools, educators have been able to connect with students in real time using Google Meet, or do daily check-ins on mood with Google Forms or Google Classroom. Nothing can replace being in person – but tech tools can help bridge the gap in the meantime.

We’ve seen educators using Jamboard to have class brainstorms and discussions (all within a Google Meet!), where students can share ideas by writing and adding images in real time on a digital whiteboard. And for checking for understanding, Google Forms make conducting and grading quizzes easier – and can also be used for student check-ins. Educators are using Forms now to reach out to students with an emotional-health questionnaire and ask simple questions about how they are feeling… and then can set up time to talk to them afterwards.

Supporting students and families beyond the classroom 

“Parents and guardians are trying to help their kids with their schoolwork, but sometimes don’t understand the tools and devices,” says Femi Aina, Executive Director of IT at Atlanta Public Schools. The biggest issue: They had trouble finding Meet links for their children’s virtual classes. Atlanta Public School teachers and principals resolved this problem by providing the support and resources guardians needed to understand how to use Google Classroom and other Google for Education tools, including the Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians video series.

Providing students and families with supplemental resources beyond the classroom curriculum can help them understand how they can use Google for Education tools to support their education. Guardians can learn how to support their children’s education through Google resources like Google Families, Guardian’s Guides to Google for Education Tools and this information on setting up Classroom email summaries for guardians. For more support resources, check out our Help Center.

Google’s commitment to data privacy and security

Chin Song, Director of Technology at Milpitas Unified, told us that he’s planning on updating policies in Google Admin Console to ensure a safe learning environment, like the new age-based access setting, and making sure all of the district’s Chromebooks are updated to the latest operating system. And Ron Caroll, Manager of Instructional Technology at Chicago Public Schools, said in addition to customizing policies to protect students’ online learning experiences, it’s equally important to bring parents and guardians along during the process. 

To inform guardians about their children’s use of Google Workspace for Education tools and how these tools protect their security online, Chicago Public Schools is planning on sharing information to help them learn more about Google’s privacy and security policies, like these frequently asked questions.

By customizing settings and updating policies, schools can support safer learning experiences for students through Google Admin console. Leverage resources to help inform families about security and privacy like the Safer Learning with Google for Education Guide, Google’s security commitments, our Be Internet Awesome Family Guide and our Guardian’s Guide to Privacy and Security

Stay up-to-date with your Google for Education products 

Mark Garrison, Chief Academic & Innovation Officer at Breck School, said his previous team typically spent summers focused on Chromebook deployment, helping schools set up and manage their devices. And Chin Song said his district has a secretary that logs every single Chromebook in a consolidated spreadsheet when deploying devices, to keep inventory management efficient. This year, they’re focusing on not only getting devices ready for in school learning, but also preparing them to go home, too.

Setting up and deploying Chromebooks ahead of the back-to-school season can help the return to the classroom be more seamless. For tips on how to set up new user accounts or pre-installing apps and extensions, check out the Chrome Device deployment guide for step-by-step instructions and this guide for sending Chromebooks home

Regardless of how your school setup will look this year, our team is working to make digital tools easier and more helpful for everyone. For more best practices on heading back to school with Google for Education tools, check out Teaching Resources and our Google for Education Back-to-School Guide.

Helping schools prepare for what’s next in education

Today at The Anywhere School, we shared great new ways to use Google Classroom, Google Workspace for Education, Google Meet, and Chrome OS - all focused on helping teachers and school leaders continue to do the amazing work they do.

Classroom is adapting for the future of learning and teaching

Classroom strives to be the simplest, easiest to use learning platform, but we’re continuously making improvements to make it even better. Roster Import will enable admins to set up classes at scale (and save a significant amount of time!) while Classroom add-ons will give educators a simple way to integrate their favorite content and activities. And the new student activity dashboard, the ability to schedule assignments across multiple classes and improvements to the Meet and Classroom integration will make it far easier to engage with students. Learn more in the Classroom blog.

Google Workspace for Education improves collaboration and security

Smart canvas makes Docs, Sheets and Slides more interactive and intelligent. With features like smart chips, checklists, table templates and assisted analysis, smart canvas enables stronger collaboration with anyone, from anywhere. We’re also strengthening the security of all Google Workspace for Education editions with Drive security improvements and additional advanced security for Education Plus and Education Standard customers. Learn more in the Workspace blog.

Google Meet is getting more secure, easy to use and engaging

Google Meet is adding features to continue supporting the evolving needs of school communities. Moderators and admins will have new controls, like the ability to force breakout room participants back into the main meeting and end any meeting from the investigation tool. Meet will also be easier to use now that it supports multiple moderators and the ability to pin multiple presenters at the same time. Video calls will be more engaging and inclusive with public live streaming to YouTube, hand-raising improvements and live translated captions. Learn more in the Meet blog.

Chromebooks get more personalized

As schools transition from shared Chromebook carts to assigned devices, they are also getting much easier to use and manage. Signing in securely is now a breeze with PIN logins. Admins can now easily see when Automatic Update Expiration dates are reached across their fleet with Chrome Insights Reports. And with new built-in accessibility features like Point Scanning mode with Switch Access, and the new panning method for the full-screen magnifier, teachers and students alike can present and access information in a way that works for them. Learn more in the Chromebook blog.

We are constantly humbled by the amazing ways educators use our tools to better collaborate, manage classes, and create safe learning environments. Whether you’re about to wrap up your school year or still have a few months left, we hope that by sharing these updates now, we can help you be better prepared to use these tools in your institution. To get regular product updates, please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter.

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.

Introducing over 50 helpful new product features for students and educators

Every day, more than a billion people come to Google to find answers or discover something new. Our Learning & Education team works to fuel that curiosity and help people build knowledge by connecting them to great learning experiences through our products — whether it's Search or YouTube, Google Classroom or Chromebooks.

During the pandemic, people turned to technology more than ever to help them learn and teach from anywhere, and this accelerated our desire to do even more with our technology to help. Just this past year, COVID-19 led school closures disrupted the continuity of education for over 320 million students across India. This past year, the education community has inspired us with their creativity and resilience -- this ability to learn, and teach, from anywhere is more important now than ever, and won’t end when the pandemic does. During these months, we have been honored to launch several initiatives to help educators and students to better make this transition, and are glad to recap a few key milestones.

After launching our Teach from Anywhere hub in April last year, we have since extended it to eight Indian languages (including English,) and it has helped more than 9 Lakh people to get started with remote teaching. Apart from these web-based training resources, we also believed it important to help impart hands-on training. So when CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalaya and the education ministries of Maharashtra and Delhi State Governments embarked on large-scale digital capacity building efforts, we worked with them to provide knowledge and access to Google for Education tools like Google Classroom, Google Meet and more. Till date, over 5 lakh teachers have attended these webinars that teach the use of digital tools for pedagogy and skills development.

But nothing has been more heartening than seeing teachers from rural areas reporting higher levels of satisfaction, peer recognition, and comfort with technology after these training sessions. One such example is Azmat, an English teacher from Shirdi Urdu High School in Maharashtra, among the many schools that had to shut down in-person teaching last year. Watch the inspiring story of how he and his students continued to keep the education momentum going, even in these challenging times.

The next era of our education products

Today, during our Learning with Google event, we shared our commitment to this community and provided a glimpse into some of the 50+ new, upcoming features across our education products that we hope will support even more learning. We want to enable every leader to bring innovation to their schools and universities, and give them the peace of mind that they’re investing in products that are secure and flexible to their needs.

We are glad to announce the next era of G Suite for Education — Google Workspace for Education – which offers educators and teachers even more choice and control. Google Workspace for Education includes all the products you already use, like Classroom, Meet, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and many more. Our free edition G Suite for Education will be renamed to Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. If you’re currently using this edition, you won't see any changes besides a new name and new features. 

For institutions that require more powerful security tools or want to expand the teaching and learning tools available to their instructors, we are introducing three new paid editions: Google Workspace for Education Standard, The Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Google Workspace for Education Plus (formerly G Suite Enterprise for Education).

More than 170 million students and educators worldwide rely on our suite of tools, and we are bringing many new helpful features to Google Classroom and Google Meet. Let’s take a look at some of these:

Google Classroom

  • Offline mode: We’re making the Classroom Android app work offline, or with intermittent connections. Students will be able to start their work offline, review their assignments, open Drive attachments, and write assignments in Google Docs — all without an internet connection.

  • Improved mobile grading: We're improving how educators can grade in the Classroom Android app. We’ve seen more and more teachers around the world using mobile devices for giving feedback on the go, and these improvements will make it much easier for instructors to switch between student submissions, grade work while viewing an assignment, and share feedback.

  • Classroom add-ons: Having tools that work well together is so important. Coming later this year to teachers using Education Plus or Teaching and Learning Upgrade, Classroom add-ons let teachers integrate their favourite third-party EdTech tools and content directly into the Classroom interface, all without any extra log-ins.

Google Meet

  • Multiple moderators: Later this year, meetings will support multiple hosts, making it easier to partner with others helping facilitate the class. All hosts will have access to moderation controls, so they can share the load of managing who can join, controlling who can use the chat or present their screen, and more.

  • End meeting for all: Teachers will have the option to "End meeting for all", so they have complete control, and can prevent students from staying on a call after the teacher has left — including in breakout rooms.

  • Mute all: To make it easier to teach without interruption, educators will be able to easily mute all participants at once, and decide whether students can unmute themselves or not.

These and many other features will be rolling out in the coming months and over the course of this year. To get the full scoop on these announcements, check out Learning with Google, our global event that streamed in 15 languages, where you can hear a lot more directly from our team. For more details also see the new tools coming to Classroom and the new features coming to Meet.

Despite unforeseen obstacles, teaching and learning continued over the past year, all thanks to the heroic dedication of teachers like Azmat, of education leaders, as well as students and their families. We look forward to working together to reimagine learning and push the boundaries of what is possible, so that everyone has access to the quality learning experiences they deserve.

Posted by Bani Dhawan, Head of Education - South Asia

A peek at what’s next for Google Classroom

Over the last year, the education community had to quickly adapt to challenges, and Google Classroom evolved with them. Today, Google Classroom helps more than 150 million students, educators and school leaders around the world teach and learn — up from 40 million last year. 

We first built Classroom to simplify and improve teaching and learning. We wanted to help teachers build stronger connections with students and give them back time to focus on the things that made them want to teach in the first place. As more teachers use Classroom as their “hub” of learning during the pandemic, many schools are treating it as their learning management system (LMS).

While we didn’t set out to create an LMS, Classroom is committed to meeting the evolving needs of schools. We'll continue to put the people who use our products first and listen to your feedback to address your top priorities. And we’ll always make sure Classroom retains the simplicity and ease-of-use that’s made it so helpful to teachers, students, and school leaders around the world.

Here’s a sneak peek into new features coming to Classroom over the next year — from the ability to use Classroom with other tools and more controls to features that help students learn from anywhere, as well as a simplified workflow for teachers. 

Better together: Use Classroom with other tools

Use your favorite EdTech tools and content with Classroom (coming later this year)

School leaders, teachers and students often use multiple educational tools each day and need them to work together. Soon, for teachers using Google Workspace for Education Plus or Teaching and Learning Upgrade, Classroom add-ons will let them choose their favorite EdTech tools and content from a marketplace and assign it to students directly inside Classroom — all without extra log-ins. Admins will also be able to install add-ons for teachers in their domains.

Integrate your favorite edtech tools and content with Classroom add-ons.

Integrate your favorite edtech tools and content with Classroom add-ons.

Set up classes in advance with SIS roster syncing (coming later this year)

Provisioning classes for an entire school system can be time consuming. Later this year, admins using Education Plus will be able to create classes and populate and sync rosters directly to Classroom from their Student Information System (SIS).

Streamline grade entry (coming later this year)

Grade Export, which is available to eligible Skyward and Infinite Campus customers, is coming to Aspen SIS. This will allow teachers to track grades and push them from Classroom’s Gradebook to their SIS, eliminating the need to put grades in two places.

This is for you, admins

Get deeper insights with Classroom audit logs (coming soon)

With audit logs, admins can get to the root of Classroom-related issues and pinpoint instigating events, such as who removed a student from a class or archived a class on a specific date. Classroom audit information will soon be available directly in the Admin Console.

Analyze Classroom activity logs (coming soon)

Admins using Education Standard or Education Plus can soon get deeper insights about Classroom adoption and engagement. Admins will be able to easily schedule exports of Classroom audit logs to BigQuery, where they can get adoption and engagement insights. We're also building a customizable Data Studio template to help admins visualize Classroom data.

A better hybrid learning environment for teachers and students

Track student engagement (coming later this year)

To give teachers visibility into which students are engaged and which are falling behind, we’re launching student engagement tracking. Educators will be able to see relevant stats about  how students interact with Classroom, such as which students submitted an assignment or commented on a post on a particular day.

Keep learning happening while offline (coming later this year)

We’re updating the Classroom Android app to work offline or with intermittent connections. Students will be able to start their work offline, review assignments, open Drive attachments, and write assignments in Google Docs — all without an internet connection.

Submit better pictures of homework (coming later this year)

We’ve seen an increase in the number of images uploaded to Classroom — especially from students taking photos of paper assignments. We’re making it easier to attach and submit photos in the Classroom Android app and for teachers to review. Students will be able to combine photos into a single document, crop or rotate images, and adjust lighting.

Seamlessly scan, edit and attach images of paper assignments with the Classroom Android app.

Seamlessly scan, edit and attach images of paper assignments with the Classroom Android app.

A simple workflow for educators 

Improved grading on mobile (coming later this year)

More teachers are using mobile devices to give feedback on the go. We’re improving how you use Classroom to grade on Android, including the ability to switch between student submissions, grade while viewing an assignment, and share feedback.

Rich text formatting (coming soon)

Teachers and students (on web, iOS and Android) will soon be able to customize Classroom assignments and posts using rich text formatting — including bold, italics, underline and bullets.

Use rich text formatting in Classroom posts or assignments.

Use rich text formatting in Classroom posts or assignments. 

Originality reports in new languages (coming soon)

Originality reports help students turn in their best work, while making it easy for instructors to detect potential plagiarism. Soon they'll be available in 15 languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese,  Finnish, German, Korean and Danish, Malay and Hindi.

CS First integration (now available)

CS First is our free, introductory computer science curriculum. You can now import student rosters from Classroom into a new CS First class and students can sign in using a Google account.

Many of these features were based on your feedback — so keep it coming! We hope these features improve your experience as they become available. If you want to know about upcoming updates, subscribe to our Workspace Updates blog.

Technology can help facilitate courageous conversations

In my classroom, making connections with students was at the center of my teaching practice and became vital for student success.  Educators are not monolithic. We are counselors, caregivers, social workers and student advocates. As the lines between school and home have blurred, guardians also play those roles in supporting their child with hybrid or distance learning. Teachers in school and families at home are looking for resources to communicate with their students and children about the world around them. Through the use of Google tools and apps and content from our partners, educators and families can begin to have these courageous conversations. 

Google tools can help you connect with students

Use Google Forms for daily mood check-ins, Google Meetto connect one-on-one with students, or younger students can use Google Drawings or Jamboard to illustrate how they’re feeling. For lesson plans and resources, check out Be Internet Awesome for online safety, and G Suite for Education additional services like Applied Digital Skills for lessons for educators on well-being, and Blogger as a journaling tool for students to channel their emotions and communicate how they are feeling. The Google Teacher Center offers a free training module with tips to foster creative community building whether teaching in-person or remotely. Families can also head to Google's digital wellbeing page for guides and resources for managing screen time and talking about digital wellbeing, as well as social-emotional learning (SEL). 

These apps can help, too

Chromebook apps like Classcraft, ClassDojo, Peppy Pals, Wisdom - Kingdom of Anger, and Headspace help students learn how to express their emotions, and apply what they’ve learned in school to their lives outside the classroom. You can find all of these apps on the Chromebook App Hub, along with great ideas on how to use apps like Adobe Spark for social-emotional learning. Additionally, Sanford Harmony has a curriculum designed to support social emotional learning to develop students into compassionate and caring adults.

Creating space to have courageous conversations

Many educators are finding it challenging to have conversations about social justice or racial inequity with students, especially while remote learning. There are many great resources out there from Google partners, including NEA EdJustice’s guide on creating space to talk about race or Tolerance.org’s empathy through critical discussion and listening are great places to start.  These resources can foster understanding and support as students process complex societal issues. There are also many book recommendations and conversation guides from The Conscious Kid to help facilitate hard conversations and talks about identity.


Advice and resources from educators around the world

It’s also important for educators to lean on their community right now, as they’re impacted by these changes and are responsible for talking to their students about them. You can join a Google Educator Group, a global group of educators who share best practices and ideas. We’re also hosting Twitter chats to bring educators around the world together, including one today at 3pm PST on social-emotional learning with Dwayne Reed

More ideas for social emotional learning

If you’re looking for more ideas for improving student SEL, visit the website forCASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), which offers resources such as webinars, more on Common Sense Media's app recommendations, and Lalilo’s SEL Lessons and Activities for Distance Learning. You can watch our webinar on SEL, and visit Teach from Anywhere, Google’s hub of information and tools to help teachers during COVID-19.

Educators share their distance learning stories

We hear a lot of talk these days about the finding “new normal,” and while COVID-19 has presented countless challenges for educators, bright spots have emerged. The pandemic has pushed them to take risks, explore digital solutions, and experiment with new teaching methods to engage and support students and their families. We spoke to several educators who took the time to talk with us and share their experiences with distance learning.

Distance Learning Stories_teachers.jpg

How has your school’s level of digital and innovation changed since the pandemic?

Trinh: A lot of teachers thought that this would be a moment in time—that technology would be a solution for the pandemic only. However, they’re beginning to realize that digital learning will be needed over the long term. This fall, the professional learning is becoming deeper and will be needed to enhance teaching skills for the foreseeable future.

How have teachers’ mindsets changed toward technology since the pandemic began?

Lim:Before the pandemic, we’d have one or two people sign up for technology-related professional learning experiences. Now we’ve had as many as six hundred educators sign up. Since starting the year virtually, we’ve improved and capitalized on our community of teachers to work and plan together for a better distance learning experience. And it’s surprising how well some students do in this setting. They thrive in a space where they have more choice and agency in their learning. They didn’t necessarily have these experiences before because the teachers weren’t familiar with using the digital tools.

Brewster:I’ve seen teachers in my school who have for years have been reluctant to accept coaching or to explore innovative strategies and tech tools. These same teachers have begun to independently seek out support and try new things. They want to make sure their students’ engagement level and experience is more than showing up and turning on their cameras. I’ve also seen how parents are embracing digital learning more than before. In the past, there was concern about screen time but now with this new reality, they see how technology keeps us going and connected.

How have you overcome barriers to device and internet access?

Carraway: This fall, we are much more prepared than last spring. We’ve increased our Chromebook inventory and provided more hotspots to families and staff to better support distance learning. We've also opened up office hours for parents and guardians to get the answers they needed when they needed them.

Wright:Our district launched a Connected At Home Learning Support Initiative to expand our existing technology device offerings. In the spring, we allowed secondary students to check out Chromebooks and hotspots until school ended. For the past two years, we’ve participated in the Sprint 1 Million program to provide hotspots to high school students. We’ve now extended that to the Empowered 2.0 T-Mobile program and are partnering with our local cable company to provide low-cost home internet.

In what other ways are you supporting students and their families?

Barcenas: We thought that internet access was going to be the biggest barrier to learning, but in reality it was that parents weren’t always able to be home. It was the extended family members—the abuelitas and abuelos—who were sitting side by side with the students, and they didn’t have the digital skill sets to help them with digital classwork. This fall, we’ve opened office hours for grandparents and we’re “translating” our technological vocabulary to make sense to older-generation family members.

Farinas:At the start of the school year we were hyper-focused on building community before tackling content. It’s paramount that teachers create safe online learning environments and build positive relationships with students and families. We do this by conducting routine wellness checks with students and families—making ourselves available during office hours and responding to calls and emails as soon as possible. We created a helpline to support families struggling with technology and even have staff who “walk” students to their virtual  classrooms.

Jaber: Thinking ofMaslowe’s hierarchy of needs, students cannot self-actualize if their basic human needs and feelings of safety and inclusivity are not at the core. Give students safe spaces and opportunities to share. That means teachers sharing with students because they are encouraged when they see we are vulnerable too. Call them to check in if they are not “present.” Build in options and flexibility in teaching. Really get to know the kids beyond their persona as learners.

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.

More details on what’s coming to Meet and Classroom

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.

Google has always aimed to invest in products, programs and philanthropy that make learning possible for everyone, anywhere. This year we’ve been especially inspired by the teachers and students around the world who have used our tools in new creative ways and at unprecedented scale. 

As schools start this next semester, we’re excited to share the many new capabilities we’re bringing to Meet and Classroom, to support teaching and learning, no matter where it’s taking place. Let’s start with what’s coming to Meet.

Control for moderators 

Over the next few months, we’re giving moderators of Education meetings more controls for managing their virtual classes. Here are new capabilities, arriving in September, that moderators will have:

  • Prohibit participants from joining meetings after they’ve been ejected or after they’ve been denied entry twice (launching later this month) 
  • End meetings for all participants when class is finished
  • Manage join requests with ease by accepting or rejecting them in bulk
  • Disable in-meeting chat and set restrictions on who can present during a meeting 
  • A setting that requires the teacher to join first

Interactivity in Meet 

Opportunities for interactivity are critical for distance learning and we’re sharing new features to increase engagement with your students virtually:

Launching in September

  • A larger tiled views with a 7x7 grid so you can see up to 49 students at once 

  • A collaborative whiteboard with Jamboard in Meet so you can encourage students to share ideas and try creative approaches to lessons 

Launching in October

  • Blur or replace backgrounds so everyone feels more comfortable during distance-learning classes. Note: Admins can disable custom backgrounds as needed.

  • Attendance tracking to see and track which students attended virtual class (G Suite Enterprise for Education) 

  • Breakout rooms so educators can split classes into simultaneous small group discussions (G Suite Enterprise for Education) 

Launching later this year

  • Hand-raising to help you identify students who may need help or have a question 

  • Q&A features to provide a way for students to ask questions without disrupting the flow of the class discussion or lesson, and polling to engage students to share their voice (G Suite Enterprise for Education) 

New Meet features

New features coming to Meet can help make classes more engaging.

Additionally, we’ll launch temporary recordings later this year, which will be available to all Education customers for free (premium recordings will still be part of G Suite Enterprise for Education). With this new feature, any meeting host can record a meeting and share the recording within their domain for up to 30 days before the video expires. Given disparities in internet access, temporary recordings are intended to help students or meeting participants replay a class or session they couldn't attend live. Temporary recordings cannot be shared outside the host’s domain or downloaded. We’re granting continued free access to premium recordings until temporary recordings are available later this year (note: this is replacing the promotion for access to premium Meet features including live streaming and meetings of up to 250 participants that will be ending on September 30th). 

Now, let’s cover new features you can expect in Classroom.

Helping students and instructors stay on top of their upcoming work

Both students and instructors have risen to the challenge of learning and teaching from home, but it can be tough to stay on top of what they need to do and when. To help instructors and students better discover and track their work in Classroom, the Classes page will soon have a to-do widget for students and a to-review widget for teachers.


New, easier ways to join classes

In addition to sharing course join codes, educators can now share a link to join classes with a single click. Link-sharing allows educators to share classes anywhere they communicate with students, including in messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.


Spot missed citations with enhanced originality reports

Originality reports, which are built into Classroom and Assignments, provide educators with flags for potential plagiarism in student work and also help students quickly identify passages that may need citations. Now, we’re making originality reports even more helpful.

First, we’re raising the number of originality reports that educators can use per class from three to five. (Educators with G Suite Enterprise for Education licenses will continue to get unlimited originality reports.) Educators will also be able to print, save and download reports to share with students, parents and administrators. Soon educators and students will be able to run originality reports on Google Slides, in addition to Google Docs, as well as in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian and Italian.

Check for potential plagiarism between students 

Traditionally, originality reports have surfaced matches for potential plagiarism against hundreds of billions of web pages and over 40 million books. Now, instructors with G Suite Enterprise for Education licenses will be able to see potential plagiarism between students at their school. Starting in a few weeks, originality reports will check submissions against a private, school-owned repository of past student work to look for student-to-student matches. Student submissions are automatically added when instructors use originality reports in Classroom. If admins want to actively manage the repository, they can manually add files or remove documents directly. Google never has access to or the ability to use this repository—it’s owned and used solely by the school domain.

school matches.png

More visibility and tools for Classroom admins

Coming soon, we’re rolling out additional tools for adminswho want to troubleshoot Classroom issues or gain deeper insights into usage across their domain. For example, all Education admins will now have access to Classroom audit logs, and admins with an Enterprise license will also be able to export their logs to BigQuery or create a customizable dashboard on Data Studio to see a slate of engagement metrics.

Classroom now available in additional languages

With Classroom usage quickly growing around the world, we’re making it accessible to more learners in their native language. We’ll be launching Classroom in 10 additional Indian languages. Soon Classroom will support over 54 languages globally; with even more coming in the future.

More support from partners

With the new features in Google Classroom, you’ll also see that many apps are also launching new features that make their tools easy to use alongside Classroom. Explore these apps to learn how teachers and students can continue to stay organized, interactive, and collaborative with Classroom: Canva, Nearpod, Screencastify, Achieve3000 and Adobe, to name a few.

Classroom features coming soon

In the coming month, we will provide a more detailed roadmap to help education leaders and teachers understand and prepare for other improvements that will launch to Classroom throughout the school year.  Here’s a sneak peek at some of the specific areas we’ll be working on:

  • Student engagement metrics: Educators will be able to see stats that help track how students are interacting in Google Classroom each day.

  • Deeper integration with other teaching tools. With Classroom now playing a role as “mission control” for many classes, we'll enable more seamless integrations with the content and learning tools schools are using alongside Google’s tools.

  • Mobile offline improvements. We know that home and mobile internet connections aren’t always available or reliable, so we’re working to update the Classroom mobile apps to work much better even with intermittent connectivity.

Integrated admin capabilities for deploying and managing Classroom. Provisioning classes for an entire school system can be time-consuming, especially given the scale of many of our customers. We’re building integrated tools to make it easier to create and manage courses at scale.

If we can’t all physically be together in our schools this year, we’re committed to making Classroom and Meet even better to bring everyone together online. Please continue to share your feedback, and we’ll keep adapting our tools to meet your evolving needs.

10 things to know to get started with Google Classroom

For so many educators-- from tech beginners to tech wizards—the past few months have been a crash course in distance learning, following COVID-19 school closures. Just about every educator is learning the ins and outs of distance learning. If you’re a teacher testing various digital tools for your distance learning program, this is a good time to tryGoogle Classroom, which can help you manage assignments, grade work, and give students feedback—just as you’ve done in your classrooms at school.

Animated video showing Google Classroom

Below is a step-by-step guide for getting started with Classroom:

 1. Teachers and students need G Suite for Education accounts to use Google Classroom; your G Suite administrator will need toset up accounts for your school if necessary.  While anyone with a Gmail account can create a Google Classroom, such as those using it for personal use, if you are using Google Classroom in a school setting, you must use a G Suite for Education account. G Suite for Education accounts let schools decide which Google services their students can use, and provides additional privacy and security protections that are important in a school setting. You can alsoget the Classroom app for Android, iOS, and Chrome OS devices.

2. Create a class. Each Google Classroom is a space where your students can receive assignments and read your announcements. Head toclassroom.google.com to get started—you’ll have your class up and running in no time.

3. Invite students to your classroom in order to enroll them. You’ll do this by way of email invitation or code.

4. Set up a grading system and grade categories. You can choose a “Total Points” or “Weighted by Category” grading system, and your grades will be calculated for you. If you opt for no grading system, choose “No Overall Grade,” and grades will not be calculated. With grade categories, you can organize classwork (essays, homework, and tests, for example). If you choose not to set a grading system, you can still use Classroom to share materials and engage your students.

5. Create assignments, and organize materials by topics.  You can post assignments to multiple classes as well as to individual students. You cangive feedback on assignments,grade and return assignments, andreuse assignments. You can also add a Question on the Classwork page as a quick and easy way to take attendance, especially while class is virtual. 

6. Create quizzes, import quiz grades, and return grades to students.

7. Set up live online classes. Keep kids engaged and foster a feeling of connection and community with video conferencing using Google Meet right from Classroom. You can also set updigital office hours.

Google Meet in Google Classroom

8. Find outhow to help students with low or no internet bandwidth at home.

9. For students who are blind or low-vision, they can use a screen reader with Classroom - teachers can learn more here. And there are many accessibility features built into G Suite for Education tools that all work with Classroom.

10. Get the support you need. At any point, you can reach out to a community of teachers for tips on how to engage your students and stay motivated yourself.Teach From Home has resources that can help you stay connected with your colleagues, trade stories over virtual coffee breaks, and share teaching resources and strategies.

 For more help, check outthis training on the Teacher Center, and stay up to date on distance-learning strategies with Google’s Education blog.