The day is approaching when kids will be back in school and out of your hair. For schools that use Google Classroom, there will be a number of nifty new features to help both kids and their parents stay on top of things. There's even a new tool for VR field trips, no permission slips needed.
There are three big new things going on in Google Classroom, along with a few smaller additions. The first big one is email summaries. Teachers who use Google Classroom will be able to generate automatic summaries of a student's work on a daily or weekly basis and send them to parents. That makes grounding much more efficient—maybe next Google will automate that too. In addition, the Google Classroom app is getting a cool annotation capability. Teachers will be able to draw on students' homework and documents. Students can also use annotations to work out problems.
There's a new VR app for Google Classroom today too—it's called Expeditions. It allows teachers to take students on "virtual field trips" to historical landmarks, exotic locations, and even into space. School sounds a lot more fun than when I was a kid.
As for the smaller updates to Google's educational tools, here they all are.
- A more organized Classroom. To make Classroom even easier to use, teachers can organize the class stream by adding topics to posts, and teachers and students can filter the stream for specific topics. Plus, users can now preview documents, PDFs, images and videos, all without leaving Classroom.
- Share your screens wirelessly at school. With the latest Chrome update, Cast for Education is now available to all teachers and students. This free Chrome app carries video and audio across complex school networks and has built-in controls for teachers — no new hardware required. Look out for updates including support for secondary domains coming soon.
- Google Forms get an upgrade with images. In Forms, teachers can now add images to questions or as multiple choice answers. This is perfect for subjects like math when students need to show their understanding of diagrams and graphs.
- Inbox by Gmail for the classroom. Inbox by Gmail is now available to Google for Education users. Coming soon, email notifications from Classroom will be intelligently grouped in Inbox, making it easy for teachers and students to find important updates and highlights.
If you are not a student, teacher, or parent of school-aged kids, none of this will be relevant to you. In fact, why are you still reading this?
The associated Android app update for the Google Classroom app, version 2.4, is live in the Play Store now. The changelog follows.
- Teachers and students can draw on, write on and highlight documents and PDFs -- so students can fill out worksheets by hand, and teachers can leave feedback. Supports colors, stroke widths, zoom, move, resize and undo
- Teachers can categorize posts by topic, and students and teachers can filter posts by topic
- Teachers can create and edit multiple choice questions
- Bug fixes and performance improvements
- Google Education Blog