A first-ever Google for Education Blog has been created by Google to provide school teachers with a place to get information about new technologies, products, apps and services that are available from the company to help them and their students.
The new resource was announced by Megan Smith, a vice president of the Google X research division, in an Aug. 28 post on the nascent Google for Education Blog.
“We love to focus on solving problems,” wrote Smith. “Sometimes practically and other times with wild, imaginative—or even highly unexpected—ideas. These ideas are born through education, when curiosity meets access to information. That’s why we have a vested interest in, and commitment to, learning in all forms. It’s also why we’re starting this Google for Education Blog: a new destination to share our work that’s happening across education, from products to programs, from the practical to the unimaginable.”
One goal of the new blog is to “help more students feel engaged and love learning, to encourage their curiosity, to let them work together, to try something new, to make stuff, and to always try again,” wrote Smith. “Through programs like Made with Code, Doodle 4 Google, and the Google Science Fair, we strive to help students discover the problems they are passionate about solving. Time and time again youth prove that you don’t always have to be a grown-up to bring forward extraordinary solutions. This blog will be a place to hear about those programs and talented young people.”
The blog will also be a resource for teachers to learn more about Google tools that can help them in their work in the classroom, wrote Smith. “Since behind every student are great teachers, we also focus on building products and tools designed for the classroom that help educators do what they do best, even better. Collaborative tools like Google Apps for Education with Classroom, easy-to-manage affordable devices like Chromebooks and tablets, and limitless educational content in Google Play for Education and YouTube help make learning possible—and fun—outside the four walls of the classroom.”
In August, Google introduced Google Classroom, a free, new tool in the Google Apps for Education suite, which was released after a three-month preview period and developed to help teachers streamline administrative tasks so that they have more time to teach subject matter to their students. Google Classroom was first introduced in May in limited preview mode to let educators give it a try. More than 100,000 educators in more than 45 countries signed up for a preview, according to Google.
The idea of Classroom is to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently and communicate with their classes easily through Web-based educational tools that are simple to use. Through Google technology services, including Google Docs, Drive and Gmail, teachers can use Classroom to create and collect assignments from students without using paper, and quickly ascertain which students have or have not turned in assignments. They can also provide instant feedback on student work using Classroom.
In addition, teachers can make announcements and share questions and comments with students in real time with Classroom. The service automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student, as well as lets students know which assignments are due through their own personalized assignments page, according to Google.
Google often promotes a wide range of events aimed at encouraging computing and education among K-12 students. In January, Google announced that it has been organizing after-school programs to inspire young students to dive into technology and come out with useful skills and lucrative careers. Through a pilot program launched in July 2013 at Google’s South Carolina data center, the company has been working with students to encourage interest and show them some of the cool things they can do in the field of computer science.
In November 2013, Google created a new section of its Google Play store, where teachers can find innovative apps to help them teach their students and ease their administrative responsibilities. The new Google Play for Education section of the Play store was unveiled as an extension of Google Play that’s designed for schools, simplifying discovery of educational apps and enabling developers and content providers to reach K-12 educators in the United States. The store also provided a place for Android app developers to market their own specialized education apps directly to teachers and administrators.