With the new school year almost underway, Google is launching a number of education features across its products. Many were announced earlier this year and are coming out of beta, including a big revamp to Google Classroom, formating updates for Google Docs, and a suite of new AR/VR features.
At the ISTE education conference in June, Google announced a big update for its Classroom management tool that allows teachers to assign homework, while students can communicate and submit assignments via an online portal.
Assignments can now be organized by modules and units through the new Classwork page as the existing chronological “Stream” is re-focussing as a place for class-wide discussions and questions.
Also launching is a new grading tool to provide faster feedback via a collection of frequently used comments and quicker access to student submissions without having to open each file individually. A new People page makes it easier to view and manage co-teachers, students, and parents.
We’ve introduced a Settings page for all class settings, so teachers have one convenient location to update class descriptions, display or reset class codes, manage and control how students post on the Stream, and more.
Future updates for Classroom include the ability to lock a Chromebook’s screen when a quiz is in progress to prevent students from switching to other apps or tabs. This fall, quizzes can also be created right from Classroom instead of Google Forms.
Augmented and virtual reality
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is Google’s first Chrome OS tablet and solely aimed at the education market, as we noted in our review. This fall, it will add support for ARCore and a host of augmented reality experiences from Google Expeditions.
In the classroom, teachers can guide students through 800 VR tours from Google Arts & Culture, the Smithsonian, and more. In May, Google added 100 AR experiences to Expeditions that are useful for getting across concepts like human anatomy through an augmented skeleton that students can walk around and interact with.
Meanwhile, the 360-degree VR Tour Creator will support content captured from Cardboard Camera on Android and iOS, as well as VR180 cameras.
Google Drive and Docs
New Docs updates allow for hanging indents and setting specific indentations using a dialog box. This fall, students will be able to customize header and footer margins as the app gains a vertical ruler.
Meanwhile, the Course Kit beta allows students to submit assignments right from Docs and Drive, with teachers able to give feedback. Similarly, the Science Journal app is adding Drive integration to allow students to conduct, document, and access experiments from any phone.
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