How Google is helping educators, students stay connected during COVID-19 pandemic

    Many educational institutions have suspended operations temporarily amidst the coronavirus outbreak. Google has stepped up to keep educators, students connected with the help of ‘Learn@Home’.

    | Updated on: Mar 21 2020, 11:30 IST
    Google launches new initiatives for educators to teach from home.
    Google launches new initiatives for educators to teach from home. (REUTERS)
    Google launches new initiatives for educators to teach from home.
    Google launches new initiatives for educators to teach from home. (REUTERS)

    With many educational institutions around the globe suspending operations temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak, at least half of the world's population is unable to attend classes. Teachers across the world have had to take up the challenge of teaching remotely and in many cases, for the first time ever.

    To help teachers tackle this, Google has created new distance learning resources that includes a collection of training materials, a list of useful apps, a Learn@Home YouTube resource for families and blog posts and webinars.

    Announced by Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai via a tweet, Google's initiatives also includes a $10M Distance Learning fund to support organisations that are helping remove barriers for students who are learning remotely. 

    In a blog post, VP of Google for Education, Avni Shah, added that the tech-giant has made their premium Google Meet features free for school till July 1. This accommodates at least 250 people in a call together, the ability to record lessons and livestream. They have also put in some new educator controls for Hangouts Meet.

    Google's Teach from Home is "a central hub of information, tips, training and tools from across Google for Education to help teachers keep teaching, even when they aren't in the classroom".

    "To start, we're providing an overview of how to get started with distance learning—for example how to teach online, make lessons accessible to students, and collaborate with other educators." Shah wrote.

    "The resource will continue to evolve. We've built the hub with the support and cooperation of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, who is also working with other education partners to respond to this emergency. As we continue receiving feedback from teachers and partners on what's most helpful, we'll continue to build and improve this," she addd.

    Teach From Home is currently available in English, with downloadable toolkits available in Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and Polish. Additional languages are coming soon.

    "As part of our $50 million COVID-19 response, we're announcing a $10 million Distance Learning Fund to support organisations around the globe that help educators access the resources they need to provide high quality learning opportunities to children, particularly those from underserved communities," Shah wrote in the blog.

    The Distance Learning Fund's first grant will be $1 million to help the Khan Academy provide remote learning opportunities to students affected by coronavirus-related school closures. Along with the grant, Google volunteers are also planning to help Khan Academy provide educator resources in more than 15 languages. Through this platform, they'll be reaching over 18 million learners a month from communities around the globe.

    Google said that they will be announcing grants for other organisations soon. It has also set up a Google Educator Group for people to share distance learning tips and tricks.

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    First Published Date: 21 Mar, 11:30 IST
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