Ten Google Product Updates for Teachers to Note

Every month Google rolls-out updates to many of the products that teachers and students use through G Suite for Education. Some of those updates happen in background on the administrative side of G Suite for Education. Those updates usually don’t have much impact on end-users. Then there are updates that directly affect teachers and students. Here’s a rundown of the Google product updates made in August that teachers and students should note.

Automatic Out-of-Office Notifications
As I shared earlier today, Gmail will now alert the people sending you emails that you’re out-of-office before they even send the messages they compose.

Old Version of Google Classroom Going Away on September 4th
If you’re still using the old version of Google Classroom, you’re going to be forced into the new version on September 4th. What’s important to note about this is that existing content in the “class settings” page will not be automatically moved into a Classwork page. That content will be saved in your Google Drive and you can manually add it to a Classwork page.

Rubrics in Google Classroom
In August Google announced the launch of a beta version of a rubrics tool for Google Classroom. Your domain administrator needs to apply to have your school participate in the beta test of rubrics for Google Classroom.

I’ve had access to rubrics in Classroom for a couple of weeks now. My initial impression is that it is easy to use and could be useful tool once Google adds the ability to re-use rubrics from assignment to assignment. Currently, you have to create a rubric for every assignment.

Google Drive Priority Page
All G Suite accounts now have access to the Priority Page feature. This is a feature that will display what Google’s algorithm determines to be your most important Google Drive files at any given moment. This is largely files that have recently been shared with you for commenting and editing or files you’ve recently shared for the same purpose. From the Priority Page you will be able to see new comments without having to open the file in a separate tab or window.

Originality Reports in Google Classroom
This is a new program that Google has added to Google Classroom and Assignments. This feature, still in a beta testing period, will let students and teachers check documents for elements of potential plagiarism against the millions of webpages and books that are indexed by Google. Students will be able to run Originality Reports on their own work before submitting it as an assignment in Google Classroom. Teachers can run Originality Reports on any work that has been submitted through Google Classroom.

Socratic by Google
Socratic by Google is the updated version of the Socratic iPad app. The app lets you scan a question or problem to quickly conduct a Google search. Watch my video below to see it in action. An Android version of this app will be available later this fall.

Lexend Fonts in Docs, Slides, and Sheets
Lexend Fonts are a family of fonts that are designed to improve reading speed by avoiding the visual crowding that is associated with some traditional font styles and types.

Play Slides on a Loop
Earlier this week Google announced the addition of an option to have slides play on a continuous loop. Unfortunately, today I learned that the roll-out of this feature has been delayed.

White-out, Black-out Google Slides
This is another feature that Google announced earlier in the week and then announced that the roll-out has been delayed. When it does appear, this new feature will let you black-out or white-out your slides when you pause your presentation.

Complete a PDF on the Google Drive Mobile App
If you use the Google Drive iPhone or Android app, you can now complete a fillable PDF on your phone. Read more about that feature here.

On a related note, next week I’m launching a new self-paced course featuring practical and engaging ways to use G Suite for Education in your classroom. Learn more here


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