As giddy students in the US are beginning to enjoy their summer break, we’re feeling nostalgic looking back on the school year and are equally inspired by all the teachers we’ve had the chance to work with.
For example, the educators at Fairfield County Schools — a rural district in South Carolina — are committed to helping each and every student achieve success in academics and dedicated to helping them pursue their personal passions. The IT team may be small, but their achievements are not. And while the district is using Google for Education tools, it’s really the teachers there that make the difference.
It’s because of inspiring educators, like those at Fairfield, that we work closely with teachers to build new tools made just for the classroom — to enable them to spend more time teaching & less “tech-ing”. And we’re now expanding the availability of these tools, giving even more teachers new ways to engage students when school starts in the Fall.
One destination to find the right content for students
To make it easier for teachers to find content that inspires their students, we announced last week that we expanded Google Play for Education — creating a single destination for US K12 schools to find and distribute educational content — whether students are using Chromebooks, tablets, or both. Schools that use Chromebooks can start using the site for flexible book rentals, to distribute a selection of free Chrome apps and to share YouTube EDU videos. Administrators for Chromebooks can enable Google Play for Education today by visiting google.com/edu/play. If you do this by July 15 you’ll get a $ 20 credit for your school to use for book rentals. Learn more.
New tools to enhance Google Apps for Education
Last month we announced Classroom, a new tool coming to Google Apps for Education. We designed Classroom side-by-side with teachers to help them better engage their students and make time-consuming tasks like managing assignments easier. Classroom is currently in an invite-only preview but we are working to make it available to all Google Apps for Education schools in August. In the meantime, teachers can view the demonstration video. Administrators will also gain a new tool that saves them time: Google Apps School Directory Sync. It allows a school to export data from their student information system and quickly sync it to their Google Apps for Education domain. With this tool, it’s easy to create users, organizational units, and Google Groups, and also to keep everything in sync. Learn more.
More value and flexibility from tablets
Based on feedback from schools, we’ve made a few changes to help schools gain more flexibility to meet classroom and student needs with tablets. Schools told us they want students to be able to share devices so we’ve made some changes and now our tablets can be shared with up to 5 students. We’ve also taken the first steps to make tablets compatible with standardized testing for the 2014-2015 school year, releasing a single-task-mode tool for developers so they can design apps that restrict the device for assessments only. Partners like Pearson (a PARCC assessment provider) have already started implementing this functionality with their on-line assessment delivery system, TestNav. Learn more.
Connect with other teachers
Educators at the ISTE conference can visit booth #2414 to demo Google for Education and see over 50 presentations in our teaching theater. If you are not at ISTE, follow along online by searching #googleedu. We’re asking educators to share tips each day to surface great ideas for when school starts.