Google is expanding its classroom capabilities and creating new tools for educators to strengthen its position in the classroom.
The first new tool is Cast for Education, which lets students and teachers share their screens from anywhere in the classroom to the computer that’s plugged into the projector. Teachers turn their main computer into a Cast destination and then can approve Cast requests from students on a case by case basis. Google says the idea behind this feature is to expand the use of the projector - one of the most widely used devices in the classroom - to people other than the teacher and to foster improved interaction with students. Cast for Education is designed to work with the complex wireless networks that are often found in schools and allows both video and audio sharing. It is available in beta as a Chrome app that works in Chrome OS, Mac, and Windows for free starting today.
Google is also expanding its Forms feature by directly integrated quizzes into it. Google says that Forms is one of the most popular tools used by teachers for feedback and that many have been requesting the ability to deliver quizzes through it. Quizzes in Google Forms let teachers automatically grade multiple choice and check box questions and can provide immediate feedback to the students when they make an incorrect answer.
The third major announcement Google is making today revolves around its virtual reality Expeditions tours that were originally launched in a trial run last year. Google is opening up the program to everyone with an Android device today, and will make it available for iOS devices in the near future. Expeditions are guided VR tours that use Google’s Cardboard technology to link up a group of people in the same experience. Google says there are now over 200 Expedition experiences to choose from.
Finally, Google is making it easier for schools to purchase a bundle of creative apps, including Explain Everything, Soundtrap, and WeVideo, for their Chromebooks at a discounted price. Google says its goal is to bring the best technology it has to educators, and the announcements are just a piece in its continuing efforts.