Learning With Google Updates Could Affect Your Teaching, Here's How

Google Jamboard
(Image credit: Google)

Learning with Google has announced a host of new updates that will affect teachers, institutions and districts internationally. 

G Suite for Education has been renamed Google Workspace for Education and now offers more controls.

Google Classroom has had an overhaul, adding lots of useful tools for teaching including powerful third-party app inclusion.

Google Meet video has been updated with great controls and visibility ideal for schools.

Google's Chromebooks have been updated, with 40 new models announced, and new ChromeOS software has been added.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the latest updates.

Google Classroom

(Image credit: Google)

Google Workspace for Education

The new name for G Suite for Education is now Google Workspace for Education. While that might not affect your world too much, the tool upgrades that go with it should. For those using the free edition, the only change will be the name, to Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. For paid users, changes are more powerful.

Three premium tiers will now be available:

  • Google Workspace for Education Standard, with enhanced security, greater visibility with tools such as audit logs, and advanced mobile management.
  • The Teaching and Learning Upgrade adds Google Meet video support in Classroom.
  • Google Workspace for Education Plus adds advanced security, analytics, teaching and learning capabilities.

Google has done away with unlimited storage as standard now. Schools and universities will get a baseline of 100TB of pooled cloud storage as of July 2022.

Google Classroom for students

(Image credit: Google)

Google Classroom updates

Great EdTech tool integration is planned for Classroom, which will work with a useful marketplace that allows teachers to assign the tool to students directly inside Classroom without the need to log-in again. Admins will also be able to install add-ons for teachers in their domains.

Using a Student Information System (SIS), it will be possible to set up classes and populate the roster easily in advance. A useful tool for admins.

It will be possible track grades and move any from the Classroom Gradebook to your own SIS. Grade Export will work with Skyward and Infinite Campus users when it comes to Aspen SIS.

More admin upgrades include audit logs to find details of events - such as who removed a student from a class on a specific date, via the Admin Console. Or get insights about Classroom adoption and engagement with audit logs exported to BigQuery.

Hybrid learning updates arrive in the form of teacher tracking of student engagement using stats and offline working using the Android app as well as better picture upload support with built-in options including lighting and cropping.

The Android app update will also allow for greater ease when grading, adding features such as the ability to switch between submissions, grading while viewing an assignment, and sharing feedback. Rich text formatting is also getting added across web, iOS, and Android.

Google Meet

(Image credit: Google)

Google Meet update

Video platform Google Meet has updates announced that will ensure security is better than ever. 

Teachers will be able to end meetings for everyone on the call, including breakout rooms – to prevent students staying on after the class has ended.

"Mute all" is another new feature that will allow teachers to get everyone's attention. The option to control when students can unmute themselves will also be available to ensure silence when it's needed. 

The app is also being updated to include controls for who can join, and who can chat or share screen from their mobile device.

Emoji reactions is a new feature that will offer inclusive variations to the characters so all students and teachers feel represented digitally.

For those subscribed to the service, Classroom will have Meet integrated. This will allow teachers to invite students using the roster and makes the teacher the host by default. 

Admin controls are also being improved with the Google Meet audit log available in the Admin Console. Extra information will include participant email addresses. The investigation tool will also be better integrated with deeper controls, including the ability to end calls.

Meet has been optimized for Chromebooks to promise better audio, video, and reliability as well as improved performance when multitasking. 

For those with the subscription, it'll be possible to set up breakout rooms in Google Calendar ahead of the meeting. Transcripts are also due to be available, ideal for those who can't make a lesson or need the information from the event. 

HP Chromebook X2

(Image credit: HP)

Upgraded Chromebooks

Google has announced that 40 new Chromebooks are set to be available in 2021. This is supported by software updates focused on remote learning, such as the ability to screen record right from within ChromeOS.

To support those with limited internet connectivity there are Always Connected devices that use LTE connectivity as an option to use a cellular network if WiFi isn't available. 

ChromeVox, the screen reader, has new features to search menus and automatically change the screen reader's voice based on the language of the text, and offers improved tutorials. 

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.