Great teachers inspire us, listen to us and learn from us; they bring the most mundane subjects to life. Technology can help great teachers do what they do best—stimulating minds and fostering skills in the next generation—and make learning even more rewarding for students. Google is excited by the updates and improvements to their tools for the classroom that they’re announcing this week at the ISTE conference, one of the largest education technology gatherings in the world.
Expeditions for all
Since Google launched the Expeditions Pioneer Program last September, more than a million students from 11 countries have taken one of their 200+ virtual reality trips—from the Great Barrier Reef to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Today, they’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices and choose where in the world they want to take their class. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.
While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have, Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all.
Google Cast for Education
Sharing information on the classroom’s big screen helps students learn from one another. But today, students have to physically connect their computers to the projector to share their screens with the class. To open classroom collaboration and bring projecting into the 21st century, Google is announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that lets students and teachers share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom, no new hardware required. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers, and is integrated with Google Classroom.
Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback helps students learn and teachers teach. But grading tests and quizzes are time-consuming; teachers often have to take time away from other tasks to do it, and if it’s not done promptly, everyone misses out on the opportunity to learn from the things students got wrong. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will grade multiple choice and checkbox questions automatically—so teachers can spend less time grading work and more time teaching.
Teachers can set correct answers in Forms and even add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites, or review videos—so students can get quick, informative feedback on how to improve. Plus, teachers can get an instant snapshot on what their students understand, so they know which lessons need more explanation or what to teach next.
Creative apps on Chromebooks
Teachers tell Google that educational apps on Chromebooks help them improve skills like problem-solving, teamwork, communication and creativity. In collaboration with teachers at EdTechTeacher, Google is announcing a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can now purchase at a discount: Explain Everything, Soundtrap, and WeVideo. These apps let students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum in their way by creating unique animations, music, and videos.
As technology becomes an integral component of our classrooms, we also want it to be so easy to use that it fades into the background, allowing teachers to spend their time doing what they love: engaging and inspiring students.
by Bram Bout
Also published on Medium.