As millions of students navigate learning from home, Google has announced a new initiative called The Anywhere School, bringing over 50 new features across Meet, Classroom, G Suite and other products to hundreds of thousands of viewers in more than 250 countries around the world. In September, the video-calling app Google Meet will have a larger tiled view of up to 49 people and an integrated Jamboard whiteboard for collaboration. The company said in a statement on Tuesday that it will also release new controls so moderators can choose to always join first, end meetings for all participants, disable in-meeting chat, and much more.
In October, Google will launch custom and blurred backgrounds in Meet to provide some extra privacy. "Breakout rooms and attendance tracking will also be launching for all Google Enterprise for Education customers, allowing for more engaged classes and insights on participation," said Avni Shah, VP of Education at Google. Later this year, the company would roll out hand-raising for all customers and Q&A and polling for G Suite Enterprise for Education customers. "Plus, we'll launch 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)," Shah informed.
With more teachers around the world using the free "Google Classroom" web service for schools more than ever before, the company said a new "to-do widget on the Classes page" will help students see what's coming up, what's missing, and what's been graded. Teachers can now share a link to invite students to their class, which makes joining a class much easier. The classroom will soon be available in 10 additional languages, for 54 languages in total. With "G Suite Enterprise for Education", educators will be able to see matches for potential plagiarism not only against webpages but between student submissions at their school.
Google has introduced a new product for non-Classroom users called Assignments, an application for the learning management system (LMS) that gives educators a faster, simpler way to distribute, analyze and grade student work. "This time-saving application helps educators automatically create and distribute personalized copies of classwork to each student's Google Drive folder, quickly provide feedback, and keep grading consistent and transparent with originality reports," explained Shah.
Google recently launched "SmartCompose" and "AutoCorrect in Docs" for educators and students to help them compose high-quality content faster by cutting back on repetitive writing while reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors. By the end of this month, admins will be able to disable both "SmartCompose" and "AutoCorrect" if they choose. "Soon we're also launching citations so students can format and manage their sources directly in Docs," said Google. Google has also created the "Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians", which helps parents better understand the technology that their kids use in the classroom.