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(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

We built Classroom to help teachers spend less time on paperwork, and more time with their students. Since we launched, we’ve also heard from teachers and professors that they’d love to be able to use Classroom to collaborate with other educators.

Teach together: Whether it’s a substitute, a teacher’s aide or a department chair, almost every teacher and professor is supported by other educators. So starting today, you can have multiple teachers in a Classroom class. To try it out, just go to your class’s About page and click “Invite teacher.” Additional teachers can do almost everything the primary teacher can do: they can create assignments or announcements, view and grade student submissions, participate in the comments on the class “stream,” invite students and even get email notifications – everything except delete the class.

Dani Raskin, a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South in New York, has been helping us test out this new feature. “It’s really important for me to be able to work closely with other teachers who also teach my students, but we don’t always have prep time together,” Dani said. “We are now able to split the workload: both of us can provide direct feedback via comments and grading. It really fosters an authentic sense of teamwork and collaboration."


Prep for your classes in advance: We know how much planning goes into every class you teach, and now we’re making it a little bit easier to do some of that planning in Classroom. You can save announcements and assignments as “drafts” and wait to send them to students until you’re ready. And similar to Gmail, any time you start creating a new announcement or assignment, it’ll be automatically saved as a draft. This works with multiple teachers as well, so all the teachers in a class can collaboratively prep assignments in advance, and even make changes to each other’s posts on the fly.
We’re also making some other updates you’ve told us will make Classroom easier to use:

  • Autosaved grades: If you can’t get all of your assignments graded in one session, but still want to return them to students at the same time, grades will now be auto saved as you enter them. You can choose when to return them to students.
  • Better notifications: Teachers and students will now receive email notifications when a private comment is left on an assignment. 

For schools here in North America and in Europe, we know you’re working hard as you round the corner into the end of the year. We are, too, and we’ll have more Classroom news for you before school’s out for summer.

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It’s easier than ever to share ideas across the world. But as technology keeps advancing to connect us, so do the techniques of those with bad intentions. The number of records breached in 2014 was staggering; weak usernames and passwords remain the leading cause. The introduction of 2-Step Verification added a layer of security for your Google Account, but we knew more could be done.

That’s why Google, working with the FIDO Alliance standards organization, developed the Security Key — an actual physical key used to access your Google Account. It sends an encrypted signature rather than a code, and ensures that your login cannot be phished. And using this key saves you time — when you need to verify your Google Account on a Chrome browser, the key’s light will flash. Just tap it and the signature sends automatically. In fact, when we rolled the Security Key out to Googlers last year, they loved that it was so much faster than when they had to enter a code.


New Google Apps controls to manage Security Keys

Businesses like Yelp and Woolworths started piloting the Security Key at work and have been looking for ways to scale adoption. Cameron Roberts, Google Apps SME at Woolworths Limited told us, “We have a large workforce and it’s imperative that all of our accounts are secure. The Security Keys are a great step forward, as they are very practical and more secure.” Ryan de Temple, IT Engineer for Security at Yelp said, “As we roll Security Keys out to our users, we realized the importance of a management toolset to audit and revoke keys, as well as reports on key enrollment activity.”

In the coming weeks, Google Drive for Work admins will be able to easily deploy, monitor and manage the Security Key at scale with new controls in the Admin console with no additional software to install. IT admins will see where and when employees last used their keys with usage tracking and reports. If Security Keys are lost, admins can easily revoke access to those keys and provide backup codes so employees can still sign-in and get work done

Admins can order Security Keys from online retailers or directly from a manufacturer. Multiple models are available and prices start at $6 per key. You can have a smaller model permanently in the USB slot, so it’s available at your fingertips or carry a larger removable model on your keychain or in your wallet. We hope you also take advantage of what the Security Key can do to help protect your organization. Learn more.

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Editor's note: Chromeboxes help businesses and schools update employees and students with timely information and create a sense of community. To learn more about using Chromebox for digital signage and how it can help your business or school work smarter, join Chrome Live on April 22.

Schools and universities across the country use digital signage to share announcements, news and schedules. Chromeboxes give students waiting in dorm lobbies for friends or standing in the cafeteria line for lunch the opportunity to learn about campus events on the go. And digital signage apps for Chrome built by Rise Vision, one of our content partners, power many of these digital experiences that go beyond traditional campus fliers.

Here are three ways academic institutions are using Chromeboxes for digital signage to better engage and inform students:

Personalizing content at Siena College

Siena College, a private liberal arts college in Loudonville, New York, prizes its close-knit community of 3,000 students. In this intimate class setting, individual departments manage their own content featured on Chromeboxes for display. IT and display managers don’t have to be involved in day-to-day content updates, and each department is nimble and flexible with their content. For example, the Student Senate features content from the athletics and academic departments on several of its screens and those departments directly update their content to ensure it’s relevant and timely.

Cutting IT costs and time at University of Toronto Mississauga

The University of Toronto Mississauga uses its 25 digital signage displays to profile professors, highlight research projects and market events to their more than 12,600 undergraduate students. Their previous display technology required extensive IT time to configure and update. Since Chromeboxes automatically update with new features and security fixes, IT can spend time on other tasks. Chromeboxes have also freed up the University’s budget, since they’re much more affordable than their previous display equipment, which cost $1,300.

Reducing power use at Manor Independent School District

The 20 digital signage displays in the Manor Independent School District notify the 8,000 K-12 students about announcements, lunchroom menus, upcoming events and recent posts from a live Twitter feed. Previously, the schools relied on netbooks to power their screens, which consumed a lot of power, were noisy and crashed often. Chromeboxes, which don’t have fans or spinning hard drives, were a natural fit as the district sought more eco-friendly display solutions.

As universities and school districts continue improving their digital display technology, they’re finding better ways to deliver informative and entertaining content to teachers and current and prospective students. Join Chrome Live to learn how to use Chromebox for digital signage at your school.

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Posted by Zoe Tabary, Editor-Thought Leadership, Economist Intelligence Unit

(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: During Education on Air, Google’s free online conference May 8-9, we'll be discussing how we can help prepare our students for their future. To investigate this issue in more depth, we commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit to conduct global surveys of senior business executives, teachers, and students, ages 11-17 and 18-25. Editor Zoe Tabary will share the findings during the kickoff session for Education on Air, but here’s a preview.

As technology becomes more pervasive, traditional trades disappear and the world of work becomes more globalised, the skills considered to be valuable for the future are shifting.

Problem solving, team working, and communication (a trifecta commonly known as “21st century skills”) are the most-needed skills in the workplace, according to our recent surveys of business executives, students and teachers. Digital literacy and creativity— and the latter’s close relative, entrepreneurship—are expected to grow more important in the next three years.

Business survey: Which of the following would you say are the most critical skills for employees in your organisation to possess today? Select up to three.
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Incorporating these skills in existing education systems, however, is far from straightforward. Teachers report that lack of time in a strictly regulated curriculum is the biggest barrier to teaching 21st century skills, while digital literacy is one of the areas where they would most like further training (31%).

Meanwhile, the young have become more comfortable learning on their own, especially on topics of interest: 62% of teachers report that students are becoming more independent and able to gather information themselves. As one expert interviewed for the report puts it, “young people have an innate affinity with technology, and it would be a shame not to utilise that effectively”.

Countries all over the world are devising new innovative approaches to teaching and learning based on these changing trends. For example Singapore’s ‘Teach less, learn more’ initiative aims to help schools and teachers to engage more effectively with students, so that they connect with what they are they are learning and how and why they are learning it.

To hear more about the full research findings, register for the free online conference.

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For the last decade, we’ve been helping businesses make the most of maps with Google Maps APIs. Whether it’s helping Allstate give their customers location information so they can deliver better service, or DHL Same Day a view into where their couriers travel to ensure things arrive on time, we know that companies put their information onto a customized Google Map to see real business value.

To understand more about this value and how businesses are using maps, we commissioned some research into how businesses in the Asia Pacific region use Google Maps APIs. The new report “More Than Pins on a Map” has found that 94 percent of businesses that use Maps APIs have seen real business improvements, 50 percent boosted customer satisfaction and 40 percent improved productivity.

Key findings from the report include:

There’s new revenue to be found with Maps

Almost a third of businesses said Google Maps had delivered over $100,000 of value since implementation. This includes a New Zealand airline that created a service to help customers with airport transfers. They pulled information from 20 different taxi services and used Google Maps APIs to provide customers fast facts about driving conditions and transportation options so they could plan their route more easily.

One map leads to another

Companies typically introduce Google Maps with a specific purpose in mind — to show customers their store locations, or to track their assets — but they often find maps can be useful in other parts of their business. For example, a government department in Australia first turned to maps to visualize data points on a map but soon realised they could use Google Maps APIs to bring more data management in-house and cut out a third party. This means less coordination and allows them to push data live within one day rather than waiting a week.

Maps give customers power

An online auto marketplace changed the way it runs its business after discovering Google Maps could help customers locate the best car deal in the shortest time. They created a trip planner tool that integrates with Google Maps and helps customers plan the most efficient route to cars at various dealerships.

Maps can save dollars and lives

Whether an executive’s job is on the line or employees are literally saving lives, it’s critical for teams to work at top efficiency. A disaster management software provider uses Google Maps to investigate ambulance delays. Using real-time data, the company monitored delays longer than 20 minutes and the root-cause of the delay. They found that often these delays occurred because employees weren’t using Google Maps, which takes into account traffic conditions and typography to find the best route.

Maps help employees communicate

Google Maps can help departments communicate with one another more clearly by putting technical information on a map. A telecommunications company in Australia once updated teams about network outages via lists. Out of context, these lists did not simply convey the extent of outages and led to confusion. Now outages are visualized on a Map, so the staff has access to real-time contextualized information that makes it much easier to assess the business impacts.

Whether you’re looking to introduce new revenue streams, improve your customers’ experience or boost productivity, putting your information on a map with Google Maps APIs can help. To find out more and learn how Google Maps APIs may be useful for your business download the new white paper.

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(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Last month we announced Education on Air — our free online conference taking place May 8-9, 2015 — and asked what you wanted to hear about. Today we released the schedule of sessions, based largely on what we heard from you. We’ll emphasize innovation — 44% of you voted for this — as well as how to empower students and use Google tools effectively. It was clear from our second poll that you also want practical examples, so our speakers will go beyond theory and share their specific advice for enacting change.


Here’s a look at what you can expect over the two-day conference:

Friday, May 8: Leading for the future

Tune in from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET to hear from educators, business and policy leaders, students and researchers, whose keynotes will challenge you to innovate and improve education. In our kickoff session, panelists will tackle the question “What are the skills of the future?” and will touch upon results from an Economist Intelligence Unit survey. You’ll also hear panels of different perspectives about some hot topics for educators, including how technology is transforming learning and how students are guiding their own learning.

In addition to these panels, our keynote speakers will share their personal passions for the future of education. You’ll hear from Actor, Education Advocate, and Host of Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton, Google Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock, education leader and Order of Canada honoree Michael Fullan, and Sir Michael Barber, chief education advisor to Pearson and former Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education during the first term of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Educators and school leaders like Ryan Bretag, education researcher and Chief Innovation Officer of Illinois’ District 225, and students like Brittany Wenger (2012 Google Science Fair winner) will also share their perspectives.

Saturday, May 9: Shaping the classroom today

Over 100 sessions will be led by educators from 12 countries and 29 U.S. states, all specifically designed to offer practical advice and examples. Whether you’re interested in the track for educators, administrators, IT or “anyone,” we invite you to join for the sessions that are most interesting to you.

Presenters will discuss tools and techniques that you can implement easily, affordably and immediately. Many sessions highlight how Google tools like Google Apps, Earth, Chromebooks and Android tablets can support learning and help educators save time. Others will relate to themes including collaboration and community, computer science and STEM, creation and creativity, digital citizenship, literacy and professional development.

Here’s a flavor of the range of sessions:


Visit the Education on Air site to see the full line-up of sessions and make sure to register; because even if you can’t join us live, if you register we’ll notify you when the recordings are available to view.

We hope to “see” you there!

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Chrome was a big bet when it was introduced six years ago and has since grown to provide a simpler, speedier and safer web for more than 750 million users around the world. Today, Chrome is an integrated hardware and software solution for work that meets the challenges of and innovates upon traditional platforms.


Join us online April 22nd at 10:00am PDT at Chrome Live, our first-ever online event, to hear from Googlers, technical experts and our customers about how Chrome is meeting the needs of a more mobile, social and cloud-oriented workplace. At Chrome Live, you’ll:

  • Have a front-row seat to two keynotes from:
    • Amit Singh, President of Google for Work, who’ll share how Chrome for Work is part of the transformational agenda of many businesses today. He’ll also be announcing a number of new products coming to the Chrome for Work family.
    • Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management for Chrome for Work, who’ll discuss how devices have revolutionized the way we work. He’ll also uncover a few pathways of our top-secret roadmap and may have a few surprises in store.
    • Learn how the web, meeting technology and digital displays are being reimagined with Chrome for Work product managers Saswat Panigrahi and Vidya Nagarajan
    • See live deployment and management demos by Chrome team experts
    • Hear from IT leaders at Netflix, Pinterest and Chico’s about integrating devices with the cloud and enabling IT admins at top companies to streamline day-to-day operations
    • Get a sneak peek at the team’s plans to continue innovating and addressing new needs in the market

    To be a part of Chrome Live, all you need is a comfortable seat, an Internet connection and a computer, tablet or phone; pants are optional but recommended. You’ll be able to interact with Google experts and ask questions.

    Register now to learn all this and more at the first Chrome Live event on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10:00am PDT. And even if you can’t attend on the scheduled dates, be sure to register to stay up to date on all things Chrome. Feel free to share your thoughts, impressions and questions using #chromelive15 on social media.