Dec 08 2022

How to Make the Most of Google Workspace for Education’s Features

Here’s a rundown of the platform’s newest elements, as well as components that can make teaching more effective.

There have been significant changes and advances made to Google Workspace over the past three years. Google is always adding products and features to its platform, and IT administrators may not be aware of the new capabilities at their fingertips.

Educators and IT leaders must keep up with these advancements to make the most of what Google Workspace has to offer. Here’s a rundown of the platform’s newest features, as well as the ways these elements can improve online teaching and learning.

More Options for Users in K–12 Learning Environments

Much has changed for Google Workspace over the past few years, so much so that you may not even recognize the platform if you haven’t used it since before the pandemic. For one, school districts now have more editions to choose from.

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There’s still the free version for education, known as Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, which offers Google’s suite of collaboration and communication tools, including Classroom, Sheets, Docs, Meet and Gmail. In addition, there’s now the Google Workspace for Education Standard upgrade, which includes a security center to mitigate threats and advanced device and app management solutions.

Another new edition, the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, adds premium engagement features to the Fundamentals version. These include breakout rooms, polls and Q&As in Google Meet, along with the ability to hold meetings with up to 250 participants. This upgrade also comes with unlimited Originality Reports, a feature that uses Google Search to help students keep their writing original and avoid plagiarism.

Finally, Google Workspace for Education Plus includes everything in the standard edition and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade with the further addition of customizable Cloud Search as well as the ability to hold meetings of up to 500 participants, sync rosters directly to Classroom and use document approvals. Core licenses with AppSheet, a no-code development platform, are included at no additional cost. 

With more editions, schools have more flexibility. IT departments used to have the binary choice between paid and unpaid. Now, they can say, “Well, which cool stuff do I need? Do I need it for the teaching and learning side? Or do I want it for the management and security side of things? Do I want both? Then, I’ll level up.”

DISCOVER: Learn more about the benefits of a Google Workspace for Education audit.

Changing Features Offer More Interaction and Oversight

Three years ago, Workspace offered Meet for online interaction and Classroom to facilitate online lectures. Now, with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, the features have become more robust.

Through Meet, educators can leverage breakout rooms, use attendance trackers and access transcripts of each lecture. Meet also allows for more interaction with the ability to create polls, quizzes and Q&As.

Originality Reports in Classroom and Assignments are unlimited with this upgrade, and educators can use student-to-student matching to detect plagiarism within their own domain. Google has also added external livestreaming capabilities to its Workspace platform.

Security Improvements Keep Online Environments Safe

Google has additionally bolstered security and IT features on the administrative side of Workspace. The security center prevents threats and automates monitoring, while the security investigation tool remediates phishing, spam and other threats.

The investigation tool is a unified way to look at what’s going in within your Google environment and investigate things from a data perspective. With this tool, you can see everything going on within your domain, and you can take both individual and bulk actions on emails and files to mitigate threats, including quarantining emails and changing sharing permissions.

Google has also added the Gmail Security Sandbox, which automatically scans all email attachments to ensure they’re safe, adding an extra security layer to your environment.

IT admins can learn more and evaluate which edition is right for their district with the CDW Education experts at Amplified IT.

This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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