A couple of weeks ago, Google Workspace for Education shared a number of updates during their “Learning with Google Event” that are coming to educators in 2021, and today I’m just going to be focusing on the updates to Google Classroom.
In last week’s post about hybrid learning, I talked about the importance of having a learning hub, or a centralized place to distribute and assess digital assignments. Google Classroom is a really great example of a learning hub. It’s quickly becoming more and more like a learning management system, and the updates in 2021 are certainly reflective of the shifting needs of teachers.
Because Google is such a massive company, they are able to make high quality updates based on feedback from teachers and schools. And I’ve found that they have done a great job at paying attention to and addressing the top priorities that teachers who use the tool face. That’s something that’s really clear about the updates I’m sharing in this blog post.
Let’s check out the Google Classroom updates that are coming to teachers in 2021. These updates can also be found in this post directly from Google.
- Rich text formatting (coming soon): Teachers and students (on web, iOS and Android) will soon be able to customize Classroom assignments and posts using rich text formatting — including bold, italics, underline and bullets.
- Previously with Google Classroom, teachers haven’t been able to do any text formatting (has this bugged you too?!). But with this update, Google Classroom is making it possible to apply text formatting to your assignments.
- Use your favorite EdTech Tools with Google Classroom (coming soon): Soon, for teachers using Google Workspace for Education Plus or Teaching and Learning Upgrade, Classroom add-ons will let them choose their favorite EdTech tools and content from a marketplace and assign it to students directly inside Classroom — all without extra log-ins. Admins will also be able to install add-ons for teachers in their domains.
- Basically what this means is that Google Classroom is going to integrate seamlessly with other edtech tools and apps that are out there.
- Originality reports in new languages (coming soon): Originality reports help students turn in their best work, while making it easy for instructors to detect potential plagiarism. Soon they’ll be available in 15 languages.
- Languages include English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Finnish, German, Korean and Danish, Malay and Hindi.
Coming Later this Year
- Keep learning happening while offline (coming later this year): Google is updating the Classroom Android app to work offline or with intermittent connections. Students will be able to start their work offline, review assignments, open Drive attachments, and write assignments in Google Docs — all without an internet connection.
- This update makes it possible for students to complete their work without Internet connection.
- Submit better pictures of homework (coming later this year): With an increase in the number of images uploaded to Classroom — especially from students taking photos of paper assignments, Google is making it easier to attach and submit photos in the Classroom Android app and for teachers to review. Students will be able to combine photos into a single document, crop or rotate images, and adjust the lighting.
- This will be helpful in allowing students to upload better pictures of their written, paper assignments.
- Improved grading on mobile (coming later this year): More teachers are using mobile devices to give feedback on the go. Google is improving how you use Classroom to grade on Android, including the ability to switch between student submissions, grade while viewing an assignment, and share feedback.
- If you like to grade on the go or grade on your mobile device, this is an awesome update for you!
- CS First integration (now available): CS First is Google’s free, introductory computer science curriculum. You can now import student rosters from Classroom into a new CS First class and students can sign in using a Google account.
- Additional updates for admin
- Set up classes in advance with SIS roster syncing (coming later this year): Provisioning classes for an entire school system can be time-consuming. Later this year, admins using Education Plus will be able to create classes and populate and sync rosters directly to Classroom from their Student Information System (SIS).
- Streamline grade entry (coming later this year): Grade Export, which is available to eligible Skyward and Infinite Campus customers, is coming to Aspen SIS. This will allow teachers to track grades and push them from Classroom’s Gradebook to their SIS, eliminating the need to put grades in two places.
What updates are you excited about? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.