Aug 17 2016

4 New Education Features from Google That Can Help Teachers

Updates to a variety of platforms could make classroom technology use a bit easier.

When Google Classroom debuted in 2014, the tech giant started its quest to create an innovative — and paperless — world for teachers. Since then, Google reports that 10 million students and teachers use the platform as of last October.

With a smartphone and virtual viewer headset made of cardboard, Google Expeditions has allowed students to take virtual reality field trips to over 200 destinations. And its Google Apps productivity suite, which includes applications such as Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Forms, has streamlined classroom assignments and records.

This summer, Google has announced the release of even more updates to its various education products.

1. Android Add-Ons for Google Docs and Sheets

In late July, Google announced in a blog post that nine Android apps will now be available as seamless add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets, making it even easier to use a smartphone or tablet as a classroom tool. Three apps that could be useful for teachers include:

Scanbot: A document and QR scanner that can now scan and create an editable file in Google Docs.

EasyBib: A citation generator that can add a bibliography to a paper, simply by scanning book barcodes. This could prove useful for teachers in device-equipped classrooms.

Teacher Aide: This management app can now be directly synced to Google Classroom to maintain records and reports. “This app can prove to be very handy during student evaluations during parent-teacher meets,” the business technology site Livemint reports.

Educators who are also savvy programmers can also convert an existing Android app by accessing the Android manifest, as shown in this guide.

2. Google Classroom Additions

This week, on the Google for Education blog, it was announced that Google Classroom will be getting two additions aimed at creating engagement between parents and teachers, as well as students and teachers. Now, Google Classroom teachers will have the option to share daily or weekly email summaries of student work and class announcements with parents. With the new annotation feature students can complete worksheets and create visuals on documents, and teachers can grade and comment on assignments, all within Google Classroom.

3. Even More Google Expeditions

We’ve reported that an overwhelming amount of teachers want more virtual reality in their classrooms. Class is now getting even closer to resembling “The Magic School Bus” with the creation of more Google Expeditions, as reported in this week’s Google for Education blog. Now, when students pop on the cardboard headset, in addition to virtually visiting the Museum of Natural History and the Palace of Versailles, they can see everything from the White House garden and the Asian nation of Bhutan to the inside of the human vascular system.

4. Create More Complex Forms

An update to Google Forms will now allow educators to insert images to questions or multiple choice answers. This will make it easier to put visuals on quizzes and worksheets for classes where students need to use diagrams. In a Google post in late June, some educators discussed the merits of using Forms to make quizzes.

“After students take a quiz, I can check the summary of responses to see frequently missed questions and a visual representation of student scores,” said Nick Marchese, a music and programming teacher at the Berkeley Carroll School in New York City.

Check out the other new updates on the Google for Education blog.


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