In a few days, ISTE 2019 will be in full swing. This means you can expect a flurry of emails and announcements from edtech companies touting their latest product updates. What follows is the latest news from Google in relation to Classroom, Forms and Chromebooks. These features will be available to everyone in the coming months.
Sync Grades with the Google Classroom Gradebook
Gradebook was originally launched as a beta feature late last year, but it is now rolling out to all school domains as a standard feature for everyone. If you don’t see it yet, you will soon. The new Gradebook gives you a bird’s eye view of all your assignments and scores and is a big improvement on the previous version. You can view the average grade for each assignment as well as the average grade per student. You also have more control over how grades are calculated and whether or not you want students to see their average score.
The new Gradebook in Classroom also comes with the option to sign up for a pilot program that will sync grades with your SIS. This has been a sore point for teachers who use Google Classroom, (nobody likes double entry), so Google is making steps to improve that workflow.
Starting today, G Suite Administrators can sign up to be a part of a pilot program that will sync grades to your SIS. The beta program will be available to schools later this summer, and will initially be compatible with Infinite Campus and Capita SIMS. More services will be added at a later date. For more information, see the Google Classroom Grade Sync Pilot FAQ.
Create Rubrics in Google Classroom Beta
Speaking of betas, Google has another great option coming to Classroom – the ability to create and save custom rubrics for assignments. Students will have full access to view these rubrics while working on an assignment. This should help with clarity in the classroom and help teachers communicate exactly what they are looking for. Teachers can also use these rubrics while grading to provide feedback to students.
Import Questions and Locked Mode in Google Forms
A common complaint for using Google Forms for assessments is that students can open a new tab and Google the answer. That leads to all kinds of interesting conversations about the kinds of questions we are asking students. Are we asking them to apply their learning, or memorize their learning?
While this debate will doubtless continue, there are definitely still scenarios where you want a more secure testing environment. For times like this, Google has enabled a new Locked mode for managed Chromebooks. Once enabled, students aren’t allowed to open any tabs or applications to help them complete the quiz.
Google says they have worked with accessibility providers like TextHelp and Don Johnston to ensure that students will still be able to use extensions like Read&Write for Google or Snap&Read when a Form has this restriction enabled. Look for locked mode in your Settings menu in August and view a step-by-step guide on how to enable Locked mode for Forms here.
Also new in Forms is the ability to import questions from quizzes that you have already created. This could be a big time saver if you want to reuse some of those carefully crafted questions in another assessment. Forms is also getting an updated design with a larger header area to help personalize your quiz.