The average student’s day is about to get a little worse… Or at least a bit more stressful when Report Cards come out. The reason? On August 17th, Google announced an Apps for Education update that includes a student progress summary, enhanced annotation, and myriad features more. Parents or guardians, once invited by a teacher, can view a digest of classroom announcements, upcoming assignment due dates, and more. Summaries are sent in the form of an email every week or day, depending on preference, and concerned parents can check historical reports at the times of their choosing.
Google also plans to roll out Annotations, which they compare to “drawings on a whiteboard.” Basically, students can sketch on blank documents with a stylus or index fingers for the purpose of, say, writing chicken scratch answers to fill-in-the-blank questions or deriving calculus functions. Teachers can use annotation to digitally mark-up students’ work, and a new highlighter tool lets them underline passages in assignment books, novels, and other digital texts.
The Classroom app, the central hub through which teachers dole out homework, has become more customizable — teachers can add topics to activities and, along with students, preview any attached files. Cast for Education, a tool which allows teachers and students to fling video through school networks, has exited testing and become publicly available. Quizzes and tests created in Google Forms will now display uploaded images, and Inbox, Google’s productivity-centric mail client, has begun rolling out to Google for Education users.