As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, many schools continue offering distance learning as a way to keep both students and teachers safe. This has required many changes to the communication tools that we use in order to offer appropriate features and settings for virtual classrooms. Google is ready for the challenge and has announced a host of new features for Google Meet that should improve the virtual experience for both students and teachers.
With Google Classroom integration, Google Meet will have the ability to know who is on the roster and will only allow those members into meetings. Teachers will be automatically made the host of meetings, even if there are multiple instructors, and school administrators will have control over who can join which can make it easier for instructors or students outside the school to participate if and when necessary. Google is also improving the Google Meet audit log so administrators can better investigate and handle potential security problems.
Ensuring teachers can have more control over virtual classroom meetings on Google Meet, Google is giving teachers the ability to end meetings for everyone on the call so that students aren’t left lingering on the call after instruction has ended. Teachers can also “mute all” as a way to keep the focus on them when necessary, and can control when students unmute themselves.
Google Meet will bring more moderation controls for educators to tablets and smartphones for better access. And while you can schedule a Google Meet meeting with Google Calendar, educators will soon be able to schedule breakout rooms for students to work together. Educators will also be able to send meeting transcripts to students that miss classes or can’t attend virtual meetings, so they won’t have to miss out on learning.
Google is also continuing to improve Google Meet’s reliability and performance by making it work better with slower internet connections, which can often be a problem for video calls both in and out of the classroom. Many of these improvements can be found on the best Chromebooks and should be making their way to more devices.
Last but not least, emoji reactions will be making their way to Google Meet, giving students a new way to engage with the class. And of course, teachers and administrators will be able to moderate the use of this feature so it will be used when appropriate.
Many of these features will be rolling out over the next several months or later this year, along with a host of features rolling out to Google Classroom like offline work and improved admin tools. These new features and tools should greatly improve the virtual classroom environment for both students and educators.