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Saturday, August 20, 2016

5 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Week

This week Google released a bunch of updates to many of their tools that are popular with teachers. Here's a short overview of those updates.

1. Google Classroom now supports sharing with parents. You can now invite parents and guardians to subscribe to a daily or weekly summary of activities in your Google Classroom classes. The process for setting this up includes a few more steps than you might anticipate. You can read the full directions on this help page.

2. In the Google Classroom mobile apps you can now draw on, highlight, and write on top of students' Google Documents, PDFs, and Microsoft Word documents. The iOS version of the app will also let you type on top of a document. With both apps students can annotate items that teachers have shared in Google Classroom and teachers can annotate items that students have shared back to them.

3. You can now use images as answer choices to questions created in Google Forms. You can also use images as question prompts in Google Forms. I created a video about how to use images as answer choices in Google Forms questions. You can watch that video on my YouTube channel.

4. You can now add topics labels to posts in your Google Classroom stream. This allows you to search and sort your stream by topic instead of date. Directions on how to use topics can be found on this help page.

5. Starting on September 12th Google will no longer offer Hangouts on Air. Hangouts on Air will be replaced by YouTube Live. YouTube Live will let you create public, private, and unlisted broadcasts. Broadcasts will be automatically stored in your YouTube account. The most significant change for many users will be the removal of the Q&A feature that was in Google Hangouts on Air. Now to host a Q&A you will have to share Google Slides and use the Q&A feature integrated into the presenter mode in Google Slides.