Google has announced a handful of new features for Chrome OS aimed at the education market. These features include a new Screencast app rolling out with Chrome OS version 103, new classroom cast controls, and more.
First, the new Screencast app is a new way for students and teachers to record and edit videos that serve as lessons or demos. The Screencast app can record screen, trim and share videos, but also provides more advanced tools. After recording a video, users can add images and other resources to enrich the lesson and make it more engaging. It is even possible to draw on videos with your finger or a pen via a touchscreen. These files can then be easily shared via Google Drive, giving other students easy access to resources to help them learn.
If you’re in class, another big announcement is the Cast moderator feature for teachers. This enables teachers to give students the ability to share their screens with the whole class – for example, to demonstrate a specific process or share a tool they have found – without risking major disruptions. This tool gives teachers control to prevent other students from casting, and the entire communication process uses a secure code so that only people with the passcode can cast to the central screen in the classroom.
Google has also announced a partnership with Figma to launch a beta program in US schools. This will make Figma’s collaborative design tools available to students and educators across the country, including both Figma and FigJam. In addition, Google is bringing 15 additional add-ons to popular education technology tools such as IXL, and Google Classroom is getting integration with Student Information Systems (SIS) in 15 new countries.
On the Google Workspace side, there are a ton of new educational 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 will also be possible to host live streams directly to YouTube from Google Meet, as well as polls and question-and-answer sessions during a live stream 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 you’re doing something else. Admins also have new controls in Meet so they can choose which users can create polls or Q&As, share their screen, or use the whiteboard feature.
As for accessibility, Google has made it possible to add alt text to images in Gmail, and it’s also changing the way accessibility settings work in 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 will soon be 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 Read Along web app will be available “in the next month”.