Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Talk about information overload! On August 11th and 12th, Google for Education hosted The Anywhere School, a global event which featured 32 live sessions over 24 hours. The live sessions covered a variety of topics, including remote learning in today's world, learning engagement, equity and access, and discovery-based assessments. Google for Education also provided updates on 50 new and soon-to-be released features for their various platforms.
The event kicked off with a welcome message from Anvi Shah, VP of Education at Google. She highlighted the creativity of families across the world - those who adapted to home-based learning, and credited teachers and schools for their resilience over the past few months. She also discussed Google's impact in remote education with an emphasis on Google Meet, the major platform that schools around the world use. According to Shah, 1300 years of learning are happening every day on Google Meet.
After Shah's introduction, Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, shared his views on the impact COVID-19 has had on education. He discussed best practices and lessons learned in developing curriculum for remote learning and shared his optimism about how technology can improve education at this time.
According to Khan, this recent pivot in education has provided an opportunity for educators and families to explore distance learning. He did caution participants, however, about the urgent issue of access. While some many families are capable of monitoring education, other families face obstacles that are health or economic-related. Salman Khan also insisted that while great technology is available for education during this time, technology will never be able to replace great teachers.
After Khan's interview session, the event featured updates from Google for Education, including 50 new releases and features that are innovating the way students engage and learn.
Some of the highlights included:
- Security improvements to Google Meet
- More moderator control in Google Meet
- Larger classroom sizes
- Breakout rooms for group work
- New attendance-tracking features
- Live translated captions in more languages
- Noise cancelation (my favorite! and they demoed it during the presentation!)
- Measuring tools for student engagement
Google presented so many updates and new features that it was actually hard to take everything in. Cleary Google for Education is working hard - and fast!
After Google's session about the new features and updates, leaders from the Future Design School took center stage. The Future Design School is an organization that supports deep competency development and skill mastery through exceptional learning experiences.
Their presentation focused on three of their nine key elements, a philosophy they developed to design exceptional learning experiences. They emphasized problem driven learning, student choice and voice, and ongoing assessment.
While they presented so much useful information for educational practitioners and researchers, I find it overwhelmingly challenging to cover their deep research. Please take a look at their website to learn more - they are also based in Toronto!
The rest of Google for Education's event was less focused on educational technology. The sessions were about students in today's changing world, equity and access, and student engagement. These presentations connected philanthropy with educational development, both in the United States and abroad. For information about these stakeholders and subjects, browse the links below.
I'm James, a learning & development professional with over 5 years of international experience, working with governments, non-government organizations (NGO), and private sector clients. I strongly value and advocate for educational technology and innovative learning design. Connect with me here.