Skip to main content

Google Apps for Education update will let parents see students' report cards

google dominates k12 education market 640x0
Google’s serious about education. The reason? Schools seem serious about Google. Toward the end of last year, sales of the Mountain View, California-based company’s Chromebook-branded computers accounted for more than half of all devices sold for U.S. grades K-12. It’s no wonder, then, the Google continues to iterate on its classroom software melange of tools, services, and edutainment in recent months, and August marked another step in that pedagogical effort. On Wednesday, Google announced an Apps for Education update that includes a student progress summary, enhanced annotation, and myriad features more.

First up is a feature sure to prompt uncomfortable conversations at some kitchen tables: student progress reports. 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, though particularly overbearing moms and dads can check historical reports at the times of their choosing.

Next on the upgrade goodie list are annotations, which Google compares 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. (There’s nothing stopping class clowns from doodling works of less-intellectual merit, of course, but it’s presumably incumbent on teachers to nip that sort of behavior in the bud.)

Instructors, meanwhile, can use annotation to digitally mark up students’ work. And a new colored highlighter tool lets them underline passages in assignment books, novels, and other digital texts.

Google’s taken the opportunity to smooth out a few of Apps for Educations’ rough edges. The Classroom app, the central hub through which teachers dole out homework, has become a tad 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.

Finally, Google’s virtual reality Expeditions app has gained a few new locations — the total number available now exceeds 200. And likely to address the untold number of classrooms with more iPads than VR headsets, it’s heading to the iPad in the form of a full-screen viewer.

The new features are due out in the coming weeks.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Seeing more ads in your Outlook app? You’re not alone
Microsoft Outlook app landing page.

There's no escape from ads anywhere on the internet, even when you're scrolling through your inbox. And now Microsoft is putting more ads into the Outlook app on Android and iOS.

Per a report from The Verge, Microsoft has been increasing the number of ads that appear in users' Outlook inboxes over the last few months, especially if they're using Outlook for free. The company said the only way that free users can avoid seeing those ads is to enable the Focused inbox, a single-inbox feature that gives two tabs: "Focused" for your important mail (such as work email) and "Other" for the rest of it, including ads.

Read more
Android 13: Everything we know about Google’s big OS update
Android 13 logo on a Android logo background.

Google's Android 13 is finally here after months of testing. It's a pretty small update that sees Google building on what it started with Android 12 and 12L. Material You gets more colorful with additional customization features, and Google plans on expanding icon theming beyond the small selection of Google apps currently supported. The company also highlights privacy and security features in Android 13, and there's a lot of building upon Android's bigger-screen ambitions in foldables and tablets.

Finally, people with Chromebooks will see some Apple-like cross-device functionality that allows you to stream messaging apps to the big screen. This comes in addition to other Chrome OS features like a shared clipboard and the flexible Phone Hub.

Read more
Google Drive, Docs, and other apps are getting way better on Android tablets
new workspace updates for android tablets.

Google is bringing the desktop experience for its core Workspace apps to Android tablets, adding some much-needed productivity flair. The changes, which come in the wake of announcements made at I/O earlier this year, are targeted at improving the split-screen multitasking experience after laying down the foundations with Android 12L.

The first and most important change is the ability to drag and drop images from an app running in one window to another app running side by side in a second window. Google says the Chrome browser and Workspace apps like Sheets will support the drag-and-drop trick for Docs and spreadsheet cells, among other services.

Read more