Google has announced a handful of new features for Chrome OS geared towards the education market. These features include a new Screencast app rolling out with Chrome OS version 103, new casting controls for the classroom, and more.
First off, the new Screencast app is a new way for students and educators to record and edit videos that serve as lessons or demos. The Screencast app can record the screen, trim videos, and share them, but it also offers more advanced tools. After recording a video, users can add images and other resources to enrich the lesson and make it more engaging. It’s even possible to draw on videos using a touchscreen with your finger or a pen. These files can then easily be shared through Google Drive so other students can easily access resources to help them learn.
If you’re in the classroom, another big announcement is the Cast moderator feature for educators. This enables teachers to give students the opportunity to share their screens with the entire class – to demonstrate a specific process or share a resource they’ve found, for example – without risking major disruptions. This tool gives teachers control to stop other students from casting, and the whole communication process uses a secure code so only people with the access code can cast to the central display in the classroom.
Google has also announced a partnership with Figma to launch beta program in schools throughout the US. This will make Figma’s collaborative design tools available to students and educators around the country, including both Figma and FigJam. Additionally, Google is bringing 15 additional add-ons for popular education technology tools like IXL, and Google Classroom is getting integration with student information systems (SIS) in 15 new countries.
On the Google Workspace side of things, there are a bunch of new education features for Google Meet. For starters, it’s now possible to automatically transcribe meetings in Meet into a Google Doc so you always have a written record of your meetings. It’s also going to be possible to host live-streams directly to YouTube from Google Meet, as well as host polls and Q&A sessions during a live stream in order to increase engagement.
Other improvements include a new picture-in-picture mode for Google Meet so you can keep an eye on your meetings while doing something else. Administrators also have new controls in Meet, so they can choose what users can create polls or Q&As, share their screen, or use the whiteboard feature.
Touching on accessibility, Google has made it possible to add alt-text to images in Gmail, and it’s also changing the way accessibility settings work across its apps. Now, if you enable certain accessibility settings in one app, they won’t automatically affect every other app in Google Workspace, so you can always tailor the experience to your specific needs.
Finally, Google also announced that it’s soon rolling out a new beta version of Read Along – currently only available as an Android app – for the web. This app helps young children learn to read with over 1,000 stories and various challenges to complete. The web app for Read Along will be available “in the next month”.
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