Google Apps for Education is now “G Suite” for Education. Google has not just changed the name of its popular offering, but it has also added new exciting features. Those who have used Google Apps for Education love the set of Apps such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, Hangout, Calendar and more. These applications have helped schools, students and teachers in several ways. It has increased efficiency, facilitated collaboration, and improved engagement. G Suite for Education comprises all these apps with additional features that make them more intelligent than ever. Google is also using machine learning to make these apps smarter. Over time, these apps will become more efficient and help students and teachers in several ways.
Here are some of the important features of G Suite for Education that you must use:
Explore in Google Sheets
I would have loved this feature during my school days. Many students find it difficult to use the right formula in spreadsheets. So, if I have to calculate EMI (Equated Monthly Installments), I first use Google to search for the right formula. Many times, we make mistakes in entering the values of variables used in the formula. This is a typical case of understanding computer’s language to get your work done.
Google has introduced ‘Explore‘ feature in Google Sheet to overcome this challenge. The Google Sheet will understand your natural language to complete the task. You write a question in your natural language and Google Sheet will automatically apply the right formula. This feature will save a lot of time. Students can focus more on solving real-world problems.
And, this is just one of the several smart features of Explore. Other features like formatting, automatically summarizing data, generating insights and making sense out of complex data set have been made easy with Google Sheets.
Google Docs has also become smarter with Explore feature. The function can be used to recommend documents, insert images, and discover more content. Students will find this feature useful as they will have more productive time to polish the assignments, rather than to switch between Apps to find the related documents. They can also use Explore to search related document from the drive.
The teachers will be delighted to know that the Explore image search uses SafeSearch. So, the explicit images will be filtered out from the results. With Creative Commons, the images will also be approved for use.
Google Docs can also be used in multiple ways. From assessment, evaluation, real-time feedback to taking class notes and sharing it with entire class boosts the productivity significantly.
Explore In Presentations
Preparing a presentation is an exhausting task for students. It involves creating content, formatting layouts and inserting design elements to bring life to the ideas. Today, students spend more time in designing the presentations than preparing the content. G Suite for Education addresses this problem by suggesting the presentation layouts based on the content. In few clicks, students can design beautiful presentations. The best part of this feature is machine learning. The Explore will continuously learn and become better over time. So, with time, students will save comparatively more time in future than that in the present in designing the presentations. This will help them focus more on telling the story right, rather than spending time and energy on fine-tuning design elements of the slides.
This feature will also help busy teachers who spend significant time in formatting the presentations. Now, storytelling will become far easier with Google sheets for students as well as for teachers.
We love Google Calendar for its simplicity and scheduling features. It has got better now. Google has used machine intelligence to make the calendar smarter. The calendar will not only suggest the meeting timings based on invitees’ availability, but it will also suggest the meeting rooms based on previous bookings. The Calendar also resolves the conflicts when no times are available due to a large number of invitees.
Google launched the beta version of Expeditions App in September 2015. Millions of students from 13 countries have already used it. This App helps students take tours in virtual reality. It is a great app to learn about new places. It not only saves the time of students and teachers but also makes the learning effortless. The App can be used on smartphones or tablets. However, for real-life experience students should use Google Cardboard.
Quizzes in Google Forms
Google is adding Quizzes in Google Forms. Teachers can easily grade students with this additional feature. Moreover, teachers will know about the questions that students are finding difficult to answer. Quizzes combined with Explore in Google Docs will make regular assessment super easy and fun for teachers as well as students. The students will have clear insights into their learning progress during the course.
With the advent of smartphones, students now record teachers' comments on their assignment. They can refer to the recordings as and when required and amend the assignments as per educators' feedback. With a Chrome App, voice comments functionality can be enabled in Google Docs. Not only teachers can leave voice comments on assignments but also even the students can make comments during peer review.
Similarly, there are hundreds of useful apps which are available in the Google Apps Marketplace that can add great functionalities to Google Apps. Several research tools can be integrated seamlessly with Google Apps. Students can take help of Chrome extensions to save time and streamline their day to day work.
There are hundreds of features available in G Suite for Education. The standard features are known to most of the students and educators as Google Apps have become integral parts of our education system. Google has consistently included new features that have made our life easier. With the inclusion of artificial intelligence, the G Suite will become more powerful than ever before. It will bring teachers and students closer and remove all the hassles that are associated with learning in the classrooms. We know that in schools nothing can be better than getting students and teacher collaborating seamlessly to develop the next generation talents.
Adela Belin is a private educator and online tutor. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students, and writers.