Google expands AI Tools for Students and Teachers

Google Workspace for Education gets a major AI upgrade with features like a safer Gemini for students, personalized learning with LearnLM, and enhanced Chromebook Plus devices.

Gemini updates for students and teachers
Gemini updates for students and teachers

Google this week announced a suite of updates to Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks, bringing new AI-powered features and improved functionality designed to personalize and enhance the learning experience for students and educators.

Gemini for Teens: Following a pilot program with safety and development experts, Google is making its AI language model Gemini available to students over the minimum age requirement in over 100 countries. Students can interact with Gemini in a safe and controlled environment using their school-issued Chromebooks with added data protections. Gemini can answer questions, provide summaries of factual topics, and even help with research.

Read Along in Classroom: This AI-powered tool is now a core part of Google Workspace for Education. Educators can assign reading activities tailored to individual student needs based on Lexile® measure, grade level, or phonics skills. Read Along provides real-time support with features like text-to-speech narration and fluency tracking. A pilot program lets teachers create personalized stories for students, and Read Along can offer support in a student's native language, starting with Spanish.

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LearnLM-informed Features: Google is piloting new features in Google Classroom informed by LearnLM, a family of AI models specifically designed for education. These features may include differentiated content suggestions based on student needs and AI-generated question prompts to accompany learning materials.

AI for Educators

Chromebook Plus for Enhanced Productivity: Starting at $350, Chromebook Plus offers increased processing power for educators and staff. New features coming soon for users over 18 include "Help me write" and "Help me read" functions, along with generative AI backgrounds and noise cancellation powered by AI. Administrators will have granular controls over all these features.

Google Vids for Collaborative Video Creation: Scheduled for release later this year, Google Vids is a collaborative video creation app within Google Workspace. A free version without generative AI functionalities will be available to students and educators, while a premium version with generative AI features will require a Gemini for Google Workspace add-on.

Media Literacy Education: Developed in collaboration with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), Google's Be Internet Awesome program is launching a new Media Literacy Handbook for teachers. This resource equips educators to build essential media literacy skills in students, preparing them for a future heavily influenced by AI.

Connectivity and Security

Integrated Task Management: Students can now view and manage their assignments and due dates directly from their Chromebook desktop through integration with Google Calendar and Tasks.

Enhanced LMS Integrations: Google Workspace Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) expands to allow Google Meet integration within Canvas and PowerSchool Schoology Learning platforms. Additionally, Assignments LTI 1.3 support is coming to PowerSchool Schoology Learning, facilitating easier distribution, grading, and analysis of student work.

Streamlined SIS Integration: Educators can now export grades to select Student Information Systems (SIS) and set up classes with OneRoster SIS partners, simplifying administrative tasks.

Expanded App Library: The Google for Education App Hub is adding 16 new Classroom add-ons, including Kami, Quizizz, Screencastify, and Boom Learning. The app licensing program is also expanding with six new partners like Canva and codeSpark, offering a wider range of tools for educators.

Advanced Security Features: New features in the Admin console empower administrators to manage Chromebook fleets more effectively. These include multi-party approval for sensitive actions, context-aware mobile device blocking, and more granular control over app and extension permissions.

Accessibility

Enhanced Reading Support: Chromebooks gain a new read-aloud feature within the Chrome browser's reading mode, further aiding students with reading fluency. Additionally, Chromebook's Gallery app and Chrome browser can now extract text from PDFs using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, making them accessible to screen readers.

Hands-free Chromebook Control (coming soon): Later this year, Chromebook users will be able to control their devices using facial expressions and head movements.

New Handwriting Fonts: Google Workspace for Education incorporates 51 new handwriting fonts based on regional research, helping educators tailor writing instruction to specific needs.

Google's updates demonstrate a commitment to leveraging AI to personalize and enhance the learning experience. The new features empower educators with better classroom management tools and provide students with AI-powered assistants and adaptive learning resources. With a continued focus on security, accessibility, and seamless integration, Google aims to equip educators and students with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-evolving learning landscape.


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