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Just before the ISTE 2019 event in June, Google for Education announced a series of new updates would be coming to the G-Suite offerings available to today's educators and schools. The Education update included various locked-mode quizzers, and a material theme revamp for Forms, as well as SIS syncing and grading rubrics.
Google for Education is a more customizable version of the primary G-Suite product from Google, offering a range of web applications that provide similar functionality to the suites used by offices around the world. Features include everything from Drive, Docs, and Sheets, to Hangouts and Google Calendar. These products are designed to be used on Chromebooks from Google, which provide access to various other third-party applications specifically suited to classroom use.
Ultimately, the range of updates to G-Suite for education is intended to improve the workflow of teachers who want to streamline their grading workflows and make the most of their lesson plans. Intended to transform the fall semester, the upgrades are sure to make a difference to the way that educators use their Chromebooks to motivate and inspire today's students.
Updates to Google Forms: Material Themes, Importing and Quizzes
One of the recent updates to the G-Suite for Education experience comes in the form of the new "Quizzes" option on locked mode. On managed chrome books, this Quizzing feature will prevent students from searching for answers to questions on the web or looking at cheat sheets when they're taking a quiz via a Google form. Until the examination is completed, students will only be able to look at the exam tab.
Quizzes are set to enter general availability next month (Augusts 2019) for all G-Suite Education users with managed Chrome devices. Other form updates include the appearance of a new Material Theme for Forms, tested by the Google for Education team at ITSE. The new design matches the refreshed look that educators can already see on Slides, Docs, and Sheets. There will also be more space at the top of forms, and a range of ways to customize the look of headers. Teachers will have the option to import previously used questions into new styles too.
Classroom updates: Rubrics, Gradebook GA and SIS syncing
As one of the most time-consuming tasks that teachers face today includes grading student work, Google for Education is doing everything it can to help with this issue. For instance, Google has recently made Gradebook, a feature previously in beta, generally available for all users. Gradebook allows teachers to track the grades of a student over time and check their performance. There's also a new beta feature coming with general availability that will allow teachers to sync the grades from existing school systems to their SIS.
The latest syncing feature is only in testing for now. However, early-access beta this summer will support infinite Capita SIMs and Campus SIMs, with more integrations coming. According to Google, once the feature is enabled by an admin, it will permit educators to visit their gradebook and sync grades to their SIS, reducing the manual work of entering information into different locations. As well as helping educators to avoid data errors, the new feature will also mean that educators can reduce repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
One final update to the classroom experience includes the impending arrival of a feature that allows educators to create and grade rubrics in the Course and Classroom kit. These grading guidelines will also be available to attach to assignments so that teachers can show students what they need to do to achieve specific results.
A New Hub for Educational Apps
Another exciting update to Google for Education this year comes in the form of a consolidated environment for educators who want to access third-party educational tools and apps under a new Chromebook App Hub. This hub will provide marketplace that teachers can use to find all of the educational apps on Google.
The center will also offer a forum space where teachers can share lesson plans and ideas with other educators. The Hub comes with 75 educational apps to choose from on launch, with more being added quarterly.
Google has also announced a new G-Suite education certification - which is a test for students aged 13 and above, which allows them to show their mastery of the G-Suite environment. Google has already offered similar tests for business users and higher-education students. However, this new test is specially designed for younger K-12 students and is 50% cheaper too - at $37 per student.