Google Goes Back-to-School with Updates to Classroom and Expeditions

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Google Goes Back-to-School with Updates to Classroom and Expeditions

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     Aug 17, 2016

Google Goes Back-to-School with Updates to Classroom and Expeditions

It’s that time of the year—the time when companies start making back-to-school updates and announcements. First up: Google, in the form of updates to Classroom, Expeditions, and the overall Google for Education offerings, all announced on Google’s blog.

Google Classroom: Email Summaries and Annotations

Google Classroom, the company’s learning management system, is now getting a new feature. Teachers will now be able to share summaries of student work, classroom announcements and the like with parents (shown above), either by sending daily or weekly summaries via email or over the Google Classroom app, show below.

But that’s not all for Classroom’s mobile app. Google also has announced a new feature where students can annotate documents in the app (shown below), which essentially functions as a mini-interactive whiteboard. Teachers have the feature as well, where they can write directly on student work or highlight important points in a passage.

A student sketches out ideas with the new whiteboarding feature.

And one big update specifically geared towards teachers: now, teachers can organize the class stream by adding topics to posts so that teachers and/or students can filter the stream for specific topics.

Expeditions: New Virtual Adventures

Google for Education’s resident virtual reality experience, Google Expeditions, now has seven new virtual field trips for students to venture on, including a trip to the White House garden, a walk on the moon and a journey inside the human body. (Magic School Bus throwback, anyone?) The announcement now brings the numbers of Expeditions to a little over 200.

Google Apps for Education: Improvements to Cast and Forms

A few months ago, Google announced “Cast for Education,” a free Chrome app that gives anyone in a classroom—students and teachers—the ability to share their screen wirelessly from their device. At the time, Cast limited in its availability, but Google shares that it has now been made available with the latest Chrome update.

Google Forms is also getting an update, in the form of images. Users can now add images (or graphs, for the math teachers) to quizzes, either as part of a question or as a multiple choice answer.

Mary Jo Madda (@MJMadda) is Senior Editor at EdSurge, as well as a former STEM middle school teacher and administrator. In 2016, Mary Jo was named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" list in education.

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