G Suite for Education: What You Need to Know
Google has announced that it’s changing Google Apps for Education to G Suite for Education. This move is much more than a simple rebranding, however, in that many new features will be rolled out as a result of the transition.
So far, Google’s marketing strategy has mainly focused on how this change will impact businesses. The world of education, to this point, has been a mere footnote. After reviewing Google’s announcements, I’m writing to encourage educators to welcome this transition.
Change is not always welcome in the world of education. The reason is understandable: You don’t always have time to break from planning and grading to adapt to new tools and workflows.
For the most part, the changes with G Suite won’t require you to learn anything new. Rather, Google has made changes so that the platform adapts to the way you already work.
G Suite for Education: Searching for Files
Google is taking the technology behind its search engine and applying it to your Drive storage. Over the past couple of decades, Google Search has been optimized to conform to the way people think to make it as easy as possible to find what you want.
Quick Access to Drive leverages machine learning to reduce approximately 50% of the time it takes to find the files you want. When you want to access a file, Google will analyze past behavior and workflow to predict which files you’re trying to find.
Additionally, Google is implementing Natural Language Processing (NLP) and spelling corrections to the Drive search field. To simplify, this means searching for files in Drive will be more user-friendly. Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows you to search the way you speak, and when you mistype your search query, Google will provide recommended changes to ensure that you find the file you want.
Managing Your Files
File management will be improved for administrators, educators and students. Google is taking measures to deduplicate files. This enhancement means that when you download a file from Drive and work on it in a separate application on your device, reuploading it to your Google Drive will not result in a duplicate file. In short, Drive is now more intelligent, which should mean less work for the end user. The ability to view and retrieve deleted files also will be made available.
Researching with Docs, Sheets and Slides
Research has been made simpler than ever before. While you’re working in Docs, Sheets or Slides, Google will provide suggestions for research based on the content within your project. Google caters to you and offers suggestions for research sources and material automatically.
Scheduling Meetings and Events
Google is rolling out smart scheduling for Calendars. A new “file a time” feature will provide suggested meeting times and rooms based on the availability of you and your invitees. The tedious back-and-forth process of discerning when everyone will be free can hopefully be a thing of the past.
There are some additional features, which Google describes in detail in the document linked above, but for the most part, these changes will be painless and require little to no extra knowledge on the part of users with varying levels of access.
Is Your School Using G Suite for Education?
Do you understand the safety risks when students use G Suite for Education? Are your schools doing everything possible to improve the safety and security of students?