Google has been making huge inroads into the education sector in recent years. Those efforts will likely continue based on several expansions and new tools that Google announced today during the ISTE education technology conference. The tools will not only make learning a better experience for students, Google hopes their efforts will help teachers focus more on educating and less on wrestling with technology.
Google announced today that they were opening their Expeditions app and platform to everyone, not just the schools that have partnered with them in the past. The Expeditions program provides virtual reality technology so that teachers can lead students on virtual field trips to over 200 locations throughout the world. With the opening of Expeditions, all teachers will need is the Expeditions app and a set of devices to be used by the students, whether it is a tablet or a virtual reality viewer like Cardboard. Google has even gone so far as to partner with Best Buy Education to make Expeditions kits available for schools that want to pursue the program.
Another existing technology from Google is finding a new and expanded role in the classroom. The new Google Cast for Education is a Chrome app that enables the wireless sharing of screens to existing displays in a classroom. Google includes teacher controls in the app which can carry audio and video as well as integrate with Google Classroom.
Students may not be so happy about the next announcement from Google. To help ease the process of grading quizzes, Google added Quizzes in Google Forms so that their technology can automatically grade multiple choice and checkbox questions for quizzes built with Google Forms. Beyond identifying correct answers, teachers will be able to add review materials like explanations, supplemental websites or review videos.
Finally, Google is partnering with EdTechTeacher to extend discounts for several pieces of software designed to run on Chromebooks so popular with schools now. The apps include Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo. These apps will primarily be used by students to create animations, music and videos that can demonstrate what they have learned about a subject. A far cry from poster board for sure.