Google has partnered with Maharashtra State Education Department to deploy digital tools such as G Suite for Education and Google Classroom free-of-cost across the state. The tech giant’s education tools and services will be adopted in over one lakh schools, benefitting over 2.3 crore students and teachers in the state. Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and these digital classrooms provided by Google hope to ease the process of remote learning in the region.
Bani Paintal Dhawan on brand’s strategic digital tools:
Google Head of Education (India and South Asia) Bani Paintal Dhawan announced the brand’s strategic digital tools deployment through a livestream on YouTube held a day ago. It will also make its Teach from Home information hub available in Marathi language to the schools. Alongside, it will also offer teacher trainings and free teacher resources to help adapt to the new distance learning norms.
Varsha Gaikwad comments on this Google initiative:
Minister of School Education in Maharashtra, Varsha Gaikwad added that the response to this had been extremely heartening. “When we floated an invitation link for Google Classroom training, we have almost got 1.34 lakh teacher applications within 48 hours. This shows how much our teacher are excited to start using Google Classroom in their schools. It clearly shows that out teachers are taking the lead for transformation to digital education. Government will continue to work with the community, NGOs, and the schools to solve any access problems.”
Google is providing its tools for free to all schools across Maharashtra. These will enable students and teachers to participate in a virtual classroom. Apart from that, Google has taken several other initiatives in the recent months. In July, Google announced a partnership with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to push education in India by helping teachers and institutions in digitising the learning experience. Google would enable one million teachers in 22,000 schools to deliver “blended learning” — a combination of online learning and a classroom approach — by the end of this year.
A few other Changes in Google meet:
Google’s video chat platform Google Meet has announced that free versions of Meet will be limited to meetings no longer than 60 minutes after September 30. The deadline of September 30 also applies to “other features like access to advanced features for G Suite and G Suite for Education customers, including allowing meetings of up to 250 participants, live-streams of up to 100,000 people within a single domain, and the ability to save meeting recordings to Google Drive,” the Verge reported. “Under the extension, anyone with a Google account could create free meetings with up to 100 people, and with no time limit,” Google spokesperson told The Verge in an email. Those features are normally only available to customers on the “enterprise” tier of G Suite, which costs USD 25 per user per month.
It is to be noted that Google Meet and other video-conferencing platforms have witnessed a meteoric rise in customers since the COVID-19 pandemic forced most white-collared office workers to work from home. It is also being used by schools to teach students online during the pandemic.
Moreover, contributing in the fight against COVID-19, Google is launching a new auto-generated software framework to help states deploy their own contact tracing apps. According to The Verge, the app developed as an extension of the earlier exposure notification framework, allows public health authorities to avoid the broader development work of launching a standalone app, simply configuring the basic framework to their state’s needs.
A Google spokesperson told The Verge in an email, “We don`t have anything to communicate regarding changes to the promo and advanced features expiring. If this changes, we`ll be sure to let you know.” The Verge reported that the deadline of September 30 is also applicable to other features like access to advanced features for G Suite and G Suite for Education customers, including allowing meetings of up to 250 participants, live-streams of up to 100,000 people within a single domain, and the ability to save meeting recordings to Google Drive.
Those features are normally only available to customers on the “enterprise” tier of G Suite, which costs USD 25 per user per month. During the coronavirus pandemic, Google Meet and other video-conferencing platforms have been chasing the meteoric rise of Zoom, with Meet passing 100 million daily participants back in April.