Google to roll out list of over 50 updates for Classroom, Meet and other online education tools – TechCrunch

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Google today released a suite of updates for its online education tools whose adoption and development has been accelerated by the pandemic, including Google classroom, Google meet and the new generation of G Suite for Education, now renamed Google Workspace for Education. In total, Google is promising more than 50 new features in its educational products, with a focus on meeting the needs of teachers and administrators, in particular, in addition to those of students.

When Google first introduced Google Classroom, it wasn’t about creating a learning management system (LMS), the company said. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google discovered that many teachers had started using Classroom as a “hub” for their online learning activities. Today, the service is used by more than 150 million students, teachers and school administrators, up from just 40 million last year.

Following the pandemic-driven adoption and user feedback, Google is introducing a range of new features for Classroom this year, some of which will be available sooner than others.

To better meet the needs of those who use Classroom as a hub for online learning, a new Classroom ‘add-ons’ Marketplace will allow teachers to select their favorite edtech tools and content and assign them directly to students later this year. students, without requiring any supplement. connections. Administrators will also be able to install these add-ons for other teachers in their fields.

Also later this year, administrators will be able to pre-populate classes with Synchronization of Student Information System (SIS) lists and, for some SIS clients, Classroom student grades can be exported directly to the SIS. Additional logs, including Classroom audit logs (to see things like student deletions or who archived a class), as well as Classroom activity logs (to check adoption and engagement ) will be available soon.

When students attend school in person, teachers can easily notice that a student is falling behind. A new set of Classroom tools aims to do the same for virtual learning. With the new Student Engagement Tracking feature, teachers will be able to see relevant statistics about how students interact with Classroom, such as which students submitted homework on a given day or commented on a post.

Image credits: Google

Other tools will address the realities of working from home, where internet connections are not always reliable or – for some low-income students – not available at all. With an updated Android Classroom app, students will be able to start work offline, review homework, open Drive attachments, and write in Google Docs without an internet connection. The job will sync when a connection becomes available again. And when students upload homework by taking a photo, new tools will allow students to combine photos into one document, crop and rotate images, and adjust lighting.

Classroom will also support rich text formatting, such as bold, italics, underline, and adding bullets on the web, iOS, and Android.

Image credits: Google

Originality reports, which help detect plagiarism, will soon be available in 15 languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Finnish, German, Korean, Danish, Malay and Hindi.

And Google’s free introductory computer program, CS First, is immediately available in Classroom.

Beyond Classroom itself, Google Meet is also updated with the needs of teachers in mind.

A new essential feature, deployed over the coming weeks, is a “mute all” button give back control of the classroom to teachers. In April, teachers will also be able to control when a student can also turn sound back on.

Image credits: Google

Other moderation controls will also be rolled out this year, including controls over who is allowed to join meetings, chat, or share their screen from their iOS and Android devices. Policies on who can participate in video calls can also be set by administrators in April, allowing for rules regarding connections between students in different districts, professional development opportunities for teachers, external speakers visiting a class. and more. Students will also not be able to join Meets generated from Classroom until their teacher arrives. The teachers, on the other hand, will be meeting hosts so that several teachers can share the load of class management.

Google Meet is also adding engagement and inclusion features for students. Students will be able to select emoji skin tones to represent them and react in class with emoji, which teachers can control.

Image credits: Google

Finally, Google’s “G Suite for Education”, which includes Classroom, Meet, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and more, will be renamed Google Workspace for Education. The tools themselves, now used by 170 million students and teachers around the world, will not change. But the set will be available in four editions instead of two to better meet a wider variety of needs.

The free version will be renamed Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals and will remain largely the same. The paid version, meanwhile, will be available in three tiers: Google Workspace for Education Standard and Google Workspace for Education Plus, as well as Teaching and Learning Upgrade, which can be added to Fundamentals or Standard to provide video communication in Google Meet. , and other Classroom tools, such as Originality Reports.

Standard has everything in Fundamentals, plus enhanced security through Security Center, audit logs, and advanced mobile management. Plus has everything in the other three versions, plus advanced features for security and analytics, teaching and learning, and more.

Fundamentals and Plus are available today and the rest will go live on April 14, 2021. Those who already have G Suite for Enterprise for Education will upgrade to Education Plus.

In connection with these changes, the storage model will be updated to a new pooled storage option that aims to better allocate storage resources between educational institutions. The new model provides schools and universities with a 100TB base of shared storage shared by all users, which will take effect for current customers in July 2022, and will be effective for new customers in 2022. Google says less than 1% of institutions will be impacted by the updated model, whose baseline supports over 100 million documents or 8 million presentations or 400,000 hours of video, to give an idea of ​​the size.

The company plans several updates to its Google Workspace for Education product line in the coming weeks, including drafts saved in Google Forms (in fundamentals), Google Meet meeting transcripts (in the upgrade from teaching and learning) and more.

Apart from software product updates, Google launches over 40 new Chromebooks, including a set of “Always Connected” branded devices with built-in LTE connectivity option. Chrome’s screen reader, ChromeVox, has also been enhanced with new tutorials, the ability to search ChromeVox menus, and voice switching that automatically changes the screen reader’s voice based on the language of the text.

Parents, who now participate in their child’s online learning in several ways, will be able to add their child’s Google Workspace for Education account to their child’s personal account with Family Link, Google’s parental control software. This means kids can still sign in to their school apps and accounts, while parents keep their focus on learning by restricting other apps and overall device usage.

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