The search giant Google has launched new software products to boost virtual learning in the phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new features on Google Meet and Google Classroom are aimed at enabling teachers to conduct classes online. The features include Mute All to allow teachers to mute all users at once, a step towards controlling the class. Another feature, End Meeting For All function will enable the teacher to end classes at once to avoid learners from staying connected after the lesson has ended, thus students cannot continue with unsupervised classes.
Again, the feature will enable students who were not able to attend the lesson to access transcripts from their teachers.
The classroom feature will track how a student consumes content, comment or even submit their assignment. In addition, the platform will let students use their phone cameras to scan homework and upload photos to their respective teachers. The offline feature has been added to assist the students to carry on with their studies even when internet connectivity is low.
The company is planning to launch 40 Chromebook models for students.
For Zach Yeskel, lead product manager for Google’s education software, this has been a hard year especially for educators, school leaders, and students themselves.
The announcement was made on Wednesday amidst preparation for an upcoming event virtual that will give an update on Google’s education initiatives.
Google’s education products became popular during the pandemic. In an announcement made on Wednesday, the number of users has increased from 40 million last year up to 150 million students using the platform today.
As the number of users increased the system begun experiencing challenges. The schools that had subscribed on Google education Program also known as Google Workspace for Education, had limited storage space thus, the Company seeks to introduction storage caps. Each school will now get 100 terabytes which will store up to 100 million documents or 400,000 hours of video.
Although many users have signed up for the Google classroom platform, others have expressed concern about the security of the platform. For instance, a lawsuit was filed by two parents from Illinois for alleging that Google collected biometric data, including face scans and voice prints of millions of students through the platform. The parents who were acting on behalf of their children claimed that Google violated the state’s biometric law, together with another law called ` Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,COPPA: federal law that requires one to get parental consent before collecting from users under the age of thirteen years.
In 2019 Google and YouTube were sued for similar charges by the Federal State Commission. The company paid a fine amounting to $ 170 million for violation of children’s privacy law. Following this, YouTube put in place major changes to handle video content for children and in addition cut on the data it collects from children.