In the turbulent 2020, school education is also facing unprecedented challenges. According to the statistics of UNESCO, schools in 188 countries and regions have been closed during the epidemic with 1.05 billion learners worldwide beening affected. Remote teaching and online courses have become important channels for teaching this year. It is even more important for technology companies to provide tools that can meet teaching needs in this wave of epidemic.
Google for Education product manager Zach Yeskel shared Google’s observations on the impact of the epidemic on online education, assisted in the promotion of digital education and how Google was using technology to focus on education. Zach himself used to be a school teacher, so he was very impressed when talking about digital education. In the past, he used his own experience to create Google Classroom, a platform to solve the pain points of global educators. He also led the G Suite for Education product team to develop many products.
Zach said that as of June this year, more than 140 million students and educators around the world have used GCP for education and more than 100 million people used Google Classroom. More than 40 million students and educators around the world used Chromebooks to collaborate and communicate. Of course, YouTube has also become a platform used by many educators to upload teaching content and provide teaching materials to students.
So far this year, students’ daily learning time on Google Meet was equivalent to 1,300 years. Zach said that in order to meet the needs and challenges that relyed heavily on remote learning in the global epidemic, Google provided integrated resource services through the Google for Education program, including allowing teachers to use Google Classroom and Google Meet to simplify the transition period to remote teaching .
In the past, Google Classroom assisted teachers in managing coursework, creating courses, uploading assignments, correcting assignments and providing feedback in one-stop. Google Meet was originally a popular video conferencing tool. After the epidemic, it was freely available to users around the world. As an indispensable tool for remote teaching, Google has also adjusted its products to introduce more practical new functions to solve various problems in the classroom.
It provided more new features to help teachers launch seamlessly distance teaching. First of all, Zach introduced new functions in the classroom management and security management. Google Meet launched in September with an enlarged display screen that can accommodate up to 49 people. It would also integrate Jamboard digital whiteboards for teachers and students to collaborate. In addition, it would also release new control authority functions, so that the host can choose to be the first person to participate in each meeting, end the meeting and prohibit chat in the meeting. Then, in October, customized backgrounds and blurred backgrounds will be launched to strengthen privacy protection.
One of the biggest challenges for distance learning is the inability to grasp the learning status of students in real time, so teachers don’t know whether students are focusing on class. Google will also target G Suite Enterprise Education Edition users. Google will launch group discussion areas and attendance records to provide more interactive and participation analysis, which enables teachers’ access to the most direct reference to evaluate students’ learning status.
In addition, in order to increase students’ participation in classroom interactions, a raise-of-hands-and-question function will also be introduced. As for G Suite Enterprise Education Edition users, there will be a question and answer and voting function. There is also a new temporary recording function, which is open to all Education Edition users for free. The advanced recording is still a function in the G Suite education enterprise.
The updated Google Classroom will have a to-do tool in the course page to help students view upcoming, missed and graded items. In addition, teachers can now invite students to participate in courses through sharing links, making classroom participation easier. Next 10 languages will be added, making the total number of supported languages reaching 54.
With G Suite Enterprise Education Edition, educators can compare web pages and assignments submitted by students from the same school to find possible plagiarism. Schools with corporate licenses can use customized Data Studio dashboard to help managers understand classroom usage and classroom participation.
Zach believes that both experienced and new users of these tools can use them to find appropriate teaching models, through Google’s product forums, new training videos or new features under development. Google will also continue to listen to user feedback from educators to help teachers, students and parents to establish smoother communication.
Educators can find free training, resources and professional development programs in the new teacher center, such as the new certified coaching program, to help them make good use of the functions of these tools in the classroom.