Many students have returned to in-person classes, but that isn't stopping Google from making online education more viable. The company has updated Classroom and Workspace for Education with a host of features that improve life for teachers and students alike. In Workspace, for instance, you can now auto-transcribe Meet calls directly into Google Docs — helpful if you want to quickly produce lesson material or help students catch up when they miss lectures. You can also host polls and Q&A sessions in Meet sessions, livestream public events (think school assemblies) to YouTube and use picture-in-picture to manage class presentations without losing sight of your pupils.
Teachers using Classroom, meanwhile, now have access to previously beta-only add-on support that extends functionality beyond what Google can offer. You can get an EdPuzzle add-on to automatically integrate and grade assignments, while a Pear Deck extension can create assignments using lessons from the Pear Deck library. The Classroom updates also make it easier to add YouTube videos to lessons, export grades and get updates through email notifications. An update later in 2022 will let teachers reply directly to students from Gmail notifications.
Google is expanding access to its Read Along app, too. It's rolling out a beta for a new web version over the next month, so students might not need to lean on their phones as they improve their literacy skills.
The announcements come alongside Chrome OS updates that include improved casting and optimizing educational apps like Figma. Although these updates might not matter much as the pandemic (hopefully) winds down, they could still be useful as schools increasingly rely on internet-based lessons and coursework.