It is that time of year again when students head back to school for another year of learning. In conjunction with the annual shift of focus from summer vacation to school work, the Google for Education team announced several new features and enhancements to their products that target the education sector. The changes are meant to help students, teachers and parents achieve a more effective educational experience.
For parents, Google is adding a new feature to Google Classroom that will deliver a summary of a student’s work and classroom announcements. The summaries can be configured by parents to be delivered via email on a daily work weekly basis. This will be helpful for parents in monitoring student assignments to help ensure their kids get them completed.
Most of the other improvements are targeted at students and teachers. In the Google Classroom app, both students and teachers will find that they can now annotate documents in the mobile app. The annotations work in much the same way one would draw something freehand on a whiteboard. Besides being able to expand on and explain information being presented, teachers can also use the function to quickly provide grades and feedback to students.
Another popular education related app is the Expeditions platform. Expeditions is Google’s virtual reality platform that lets students learn about and explore locations around the globe that they would never be able to visit in person during their school careers. Perhaps even more impressively, Expeditions can be used to go places like the inside of the human body where normal human travel is not possible. Besides continual expansion of the locations available and making it available outside the limited program they were previously running, Google is planning to expand Expeditions to the iOS platform via full-screen mode, instead of the VR viewer experience available on Android.
Some other enhancements and improvements include upgrades to the Google Classroom platform that enables the use of topics on posts. Content can then be filtered by specific topics. Users will also find they can preview a wide variety of content like PDFs, images, and videos without leaving Classroom. Google is also beefing up Cast for Education, a modification of their Google Cast technology, so that it will be easier to share screens in the school setting.
For teachers who use Google Forms for things like tests and quizzes, they will now be able to attach images to questions, both in the question portion or the answer portion. Google says this may be particularly helpful for subjects like math. Finally, Google is making Inbox by Gmail available to Google for Education users.
Google continues to make big moves into the education sector and they have indicated in the past their goal is to make sure technology is not a stumbling block to learning. These enhancements and improvements will help them stay on that path and further solidify their position in the market.
source: Google for Education