Google has recently announced a major expansion of its Google for Education service, introducing over 30 new features aimed at enhancing the educational experience for students and educators alike. The announcement was made at Bett 2024, an education technology event in London, where the tech giant also unveiled 15 new Chromebooks, including six Advanced Use models designed for hardware-intensive tasks such as coding.
The update includes various artificial intelligence and accessibility tools, such as the ability for teachers to assign YouTube videos to students and create AI-assisted questions about the content. Additionally, the update introduces a new Resources tab in the Classroom interface to aid teachers in managing AI-generated practice sets and learning materials.
In terms of accessibility, updates for Google Meet, ChromeOS, and Chrome were also announced. Google Meet now supports closed captions in 30 additional languages and allows the pinning of multiple video tiles during presentations, beneficial when using sign language interpreters. ChromeOS’s built-in screen reader gains optical character recognition capabilities to extract text from PDFs and read it aloud, while Chrome’s Reading Mode feature receives a text-to-voice capability, enhancing the browsing experience.
To further address diverse needs, Google plans to launch App Hub, a marketplace offering third-party add-ons and integrations with external applications later this year. These add-ons will cover various use cases, from creating virtual whiteboards to teaching programming concepts.
Two new cybersecurity controls have also been introduced, allowing educational institutions to implement approval requests for sensitive configuration changes and streamlining the process for educators to request and approve integrations with third-party applications.
In response to the announcement, educators and tech experts have expressed optimism about the potential impact of these new features on the educational landscape. They believe that the incorporation of artificial intelligence and accessibility tools will not only enhance the learning experience for students but also streamline the teaching process for educators, ultimately contributing to a more efficient and inclusive educational environment.