tech

Everything new that’s coming to Google Meet, Classroom to make online learning better

Since the pandemic started and all classes were canceled, students and teachers have come up with innovative ways of using Google tools to optimise online learning. Google is now adding more features to make things better for them.

Over the next few months, Google is going to give the moderators of education meetings more controls to manage their virtual classes.
Over the next few months, Google is going to give the moderators of education meetings more controls to manage their virtual classes. (Google )

Google has announced a whole bunch of new features it is bringing to Google Meet and Google Classroom to help support online learning and online teaching as both students and teachers keep working from home.

Since the pandemic started and all classes were canceled, students and teachers have come up with innovative ways of using Google tools to optimise online learning. Google is now adding more features to make things better for them.

What’s coming to Google Meet

1. More control for moderators in Meet

Over the next few months, Google is going to give the moderators of education meetings more controls to manage their virtual classes. Here are the new capabilities, arriving in September, that moderators will have:

- Prohibit participants from joining meetings after they’ve been ejected for any reason or have been denied entry twice. This feature is coming in by later this month.

- End meetings for all participants once the online class is over.

- Manage join requests in bulk to accept or reject them.

- Disable in-meeting chat and set restrictions on who can present during a meeting.

- Lock meetings until the moderator joins.

2. More interactivity

Features that allow you to interact with your teachers or with students are invaluable at this point in time since that increases engagement from both parties. For teachers, it helps them understand that the student is paying attention and for students too it helps get their potential questions and doubts clarified.

Google is adding features under interactivity is various phases. In September users will get larger tiled views with a 7x7 grid so you can see up to 49 students at once and a collaborative whiteboard with Jamboard in Meet so teachers can encourage students to share ideas and try creative approaches to lessons.

Later in October, users will get options to blur or replace backgrounds so everyone feels more comfortable during distance-learning classes. Admins can disable custom backgrounds as needed.

In the same month, Google is also adding attendance tracking that will help teachers see and track which students attended virtual class (G Suite Enterprise for Education). Breakout rooms will also be added so as educators can split classes into simultaneous small group discussions (G Suite Enterprise for Education).

And later this year, Google is going to add a hand-raising option that will help students out if they have a question or need a doubt clarified. They are also adding new 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).

Additionally, later this year Google is launching 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).

With this feature, any meeting host can record the meeting and share the recording within their domain for up to 30 days before the video expires. These recordings cannot be shared outside their domain or be downloaded.

The promotion for access to premium Meet features like live streaming and meetings with 250 participants will be ending on September 30, but education users will have continued access to premium recordings until temporary recordings are made available later this year.

What’s coming to Classroom

1. Keep a tab on upcoming work

While both students and teachers have taken these new online challenges in their stride and have overcome them, it can still get a little confusing trying to keep up with what needs to be done and when - particularly when it comes to assignments.

The new to-do widget. 
The new to-do widget.  (Google )

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.

2. Easier ways to join classes

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

Share links for classes easily and on any platform. 
Share links for classes easily and on any platform.  (Google )

3. Enhanced originality reports

Originality reports are built into Classroom and Assignments, provide educators with flags for potential plagiarism in the work they are reviewing and also help students identify passages that may need citations. Google is making these two features better.

The number of originality reports that educators can use per class are being raised 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 save, download and print these reports to share with students, parents and administrators as needed. And educators and students will be able to run originality reports on Google Slides, in addition to Google Docs soon and in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian and Italian.

4. Check for potential plagiarism between students

So far, originality reports pull up matches for potential plagiarism by checking them 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.

In a few weeks’ time, Google’s originality reports will check submissions against a private, school-owned repository of past student work to look for student-to-student matches besides the usual trove of web pages and books.

Better plagiarism check. 
Better plagiarism check.  (Google )

Student submissions get automatically added when instructors use originality reports in Classroom. And if admins want to actively manage the repository, they can manually add files or remove documents.

Google does not have access to or the ability to use this repository and it’s owned and used solely by the school domain.

5. More visibility and tools for Classroom admins

Google is rolling out additional tools for admins who want to troubleshoot Classroom issues or gain deeper insights into usage across their domain. All Education admins will have access to Classroom audit logs. Admins with Enterprise license will be able to export logs to BigQuery or create a customisable dashboard on Data Studio to see a slate of engagement metrics soon.

6. Classroom is now available in more languages

Google will be launching Classroom in 10 additional languages, including Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, and Urdu. Classroom will soon be supporting over 54 languages globally with more languages being added in the future.

7. More support from Google partners

With the new features in Google Classroom, many apps are also launching new features that make them easy to use with Classroom. Apps like Canva, Adobe, Achieve3000, Nearpod, Screencastify etc can be used in collaboration with Classrooms to learn better.

More Classroom features coming soon

In the coming months, Google will provide a more detailed roadmap to help education leaders and teachers understand and prepare for other improvements that will keep getting added to Classroom throughout the school year.

Some of these include -

- 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, Google will be enabling more seamless integrations with the content and learning tools schools are using alongside Google’s tools.

- Mobile offline improvements: Google 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 in many cases, so Google is building integrated tools to make it easier to create and manage courses at scale.

You can check out the detailed blog Google has put out on this, here.