Saturday, April 1, 2017

7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in March

It can be hard to keep up with all of the changes and updates that Google makes to the products that have become an integral part of many teachers' lives. Some of the changes are minor and insignificant to the average end-user while others are significant to a larger portion of end-users. Here are some of the more significant Google product updates that you might have missed in March.

1. Google Keep is now a core product in G Suite. This means that you can now import your Google Keep bookmarks and notes into Google Documents. Watch my video to learn how to import Google Keep notes into Google Docs. 

2. Google Calendar is now optimized for iPads. This is convenient for teachers whose primary classroom device is an iPad. 

3. Google Maps now has Street View imagery of volcanoes and villages in Vanuatu. This adds to the ever-growing list of neat places that students can see in fine detail that we never could see as students in geography classes. 

4. Google Docs has a convenient, new formatting option. It's now easier to insert blocks of all-caps text. A new automatic headline formatting option has also been added to Google Docs. See more here.

5. Team Drives are now available to all schools using G Suite for Education. Rather than just sharing a single file or folder, Team Drives will give everyone in the team access to everything in the Team Drive by default.

6. Google Classroom is now available to anyone who has a Gmail address...kind of. Anyone who has a Gmail address can join a Google Classroom classroom provided that he or she has been given the classroom code. Gmail users cannot yet create their own classrooms in Google Classroom, but that option appears to be coming soon.

7. And in the "definitely not free and probably destined to flop" category, you can now buy Jamboard for $5000 plus an annual fee of $600. I can think of many better ways to allocate $5600 of your technology budget.

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