The 21st Century Backpack: 3 Ways Google is Transforming Education

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The 21st Century Backpack: 3 Ways Google is Transforming Education

Over the last few months, Google has been on the forefront of some very exciting developments within the education sphere, creating what many are calling the ultimate 21st century backpack for education. Let’s face it, technology is filtering into every corner, be it business, innovation, or even fighting Ebola. In my mind, Google is fast on the way to transforming how education is done by marrying it almost entirely to innovative technology.

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GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION

If you haven’t yet heard about Google Apps for Education, it is Google’s suite of free productivity tools for classroom collaboration. With many similar features to that of Google Apps for Work, the Education suite has already been adopted by over 30 million students and educators around the world.

Google continues to expand this suite to better improve interactions between students and educators, and have recently introduced three new tools that could completely revolutionise education in the future.

THE EDUCATION BACKPACK

There are three new super tools within the Google Apps for Education suite that come together to form this ultimate backpack for both students and educators:

1. Drive for Education

Drive is a cloud storage and sharing solution that is currently being used by over 190 million people worldwide for business, personal use and now, education.

“Why lug around piles of paper or overstuffed binders when every type of document or file can be retrieved from the nearest Chromebook, tablet, smartphone or browser?” Google for Work

Earlier this year, Google released their much anticipated Drive for Work, which allows for secure, easily accessible and unlimited storage, in conjunction with the Google Apps Work Platform. On the 30 September, Google officially announced that they would be bringing Drive for Work to Google Apps for Education, which they described as “an infinitely large, ultra-secure and entirely free bookbag for the 21st century”. For those who are already using the Education suite, access to Drive for Education would be entirely free.

Drive for Education key features include:

  • Unlimited storage: It can support individual files up to 5TB in size
  • Enhanced Auditing: It has brand new reporting and auditing tools, as well as an Audit API which can easily let you see the activity of a file
  • Vault: the ultimate search and discovery platform. Let’s look at Vault more closely.

2. Vault

Google Apps Vault is a search and discovery add-on for Google Apps that allows you to retain, archive, search, and export bulk email primarily for eDiscovery and compliance needs. It is easy to work with as it does not require additional software for installation, but is entirely web-based. This amazing feature is available to anyone who is using the Google Unlimited or Education suites.

Vault key features include:

  • Email and chat archiving
  • Legal holds
  • Drive file search
  • Email search
  • Export
  • Audit reports

Watch this video from Google to learn more about how it works:

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3. Classroom

Classroom, in my opinion, is one of the most exciting features from the Google Apps for Education suite. Although it was primarily designed with educators in mind, it is also highly beneficial for students.

Educators: Classroom helps teachers work paperlessly, by creating and collecting assignments on the Classroom platform in sync with the Cloud and Google Apps features such as Docs, Drive, Hangouts, and more. It also is effective in time-saving, through features such as the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student and create Drive folders for each assignment. Educators are also able to work in real-time, which means that they can see the who has or hasn’t completed the work.

Students: Students can use Classroom to keep track of assignment deadlines, feedback and even complete their work directly off Google Docs.

Classroom key features include:

  • Create and collect assignments, using Google Docs, Drive and Gmail.
  • Improve class communications through fast online announcements, questions and comments in real time.
  • Stay organized with automatically created Drive folders for each assignment and for each student.

Watch how it all comes together in Google’s Classroom 101 below:

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