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New Google Classroom Features Designed to Help Teachers Differentiate Learning

New updates to Google Classroom are designed to further help teachers differentiate learning through a slew of new individualized learning tools.

The updates, Google said in a blog post, were inspired by ways teachers were already using the tool to tailor instruction for the different learners in their respective classrooms.

"We know that one-size-fits-all teaching doesn't always meet students' needs, and we've been impressed with the workarounds Classroom teachers have found to differentiate their instruction," Google said.

One such update includes allowing teachers to share assignments such as extra practice with individual students as opposed to the whole class.

"Starting today, Classroom makes it a lot easier for teachers to assign work to individual students and groups based on their unique needs. As they're creating an assignment, post or question, teachers can choose whether to share it with the entire class or just with a subset of students," Google said on its blog.

To stay better organized with all of the assignments teachers distribute and account for, Google has announced new notifications that better help teachers manage student work.

"...teachers will now receive two new types of Classroom notifications—one when students submit work after the due date, and one for when students re-submit work," Google said.

Perhaps one of the biggest announcements Google made this week, however, was the addition of Google Classroom metrics to Admin Console Reports. Administrators will now be provided with an overview of how Classroom is being used in the school's classes through data like how many posts are being created per user. Administrators can use the data to determine which teachers are making good use of Classroom's features and which teachers might be struggling with the tool and need extra help. 

"With these reports, as well as new ones to be added in the future, we hope administrators will have the insights they need to provide the best support possible to their teachers and students," Google said.

Google timed the announcements of the updates with the beginning of the second half of the school year. The last major update Google made to Classroom was in August, when it announced new features that better engaged parents as well as provided students with a white board annotation tool.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

1/16/2017

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