Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many technology companies have stepped up to support teachers and students as schools closed and shifted to online classes. We were especially excited about Google’s recent announcement that they have extended Hangouts Meet premium features at no cost for all G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education users until September 30, 2020. That means you can host virtual class meetings for up to 250 students per call, live streams for students with email addresses within your domain, and record class meetings that can be saved to Google Drive for future access.

Today, more than 120 million students and teachers around the world use G Suite for Education to teach and collaborate remotely. With the extension of access to premium Google Meet features, this video conferencing and collaboration platform works even better for schools.

Better Together: Google Meet + Google Classroom

Google has integrated two of their most powerful tools for educators — Classroom and Meet — by putting both in one place. Teachers can create a unique Meet link for each of their classes, and display it on the Classroom stream and Classwork pages. This link is ‘nicknamed’ and serves as the dedicated meeting space for each class, removing the need to generate new join links for each meeting. This makes it much easier for both teachers and students to join.

Google Classroom — where assignments are posted and collected, and collaboration and discussion takes place — has added Meet integration, making it possible for teachers to quickly create managed video calls. Teachers also have complete control of their Meetings and cannot be removed or muted by students participating in the call.

Distance Learning That Is Safe and Secure

Safeguards have also been put in place to ensure privacy and online safety. For example, participants can’t rejoin a nicknamed meeting after the final attendee has left, unless they have been designated with meeting creation privileges. So, if the teacher is the last person to leave the nicknamed meeting, students can’t join again until the teacher starts the next meeting.

In addition, Google Meet’s video conferences are protected with a secure-by-design infrastructure and built-in protection, and all data is encrypted in transit by default. Further, each Meeting ID is 10 characters long, making it difficult to guess the ID. Finally, Meet works entirely in your computer’s browser. There isn’t any software or browser plugin to download and install on your desktop. On mobile, installing the Meet app will provide a better experience.

New to Google Meet? The Teacher Center in Google for Education has some great resources to help you get started and up to speed quickly. Check out their Google Meet Teacher Center as well as Google for Education’s YouTube channel for some great virtual training.

Sycamore Education + Google Integration

As a Google Cloud partner, our team at Sycamore Education is proud of how our Google integration makes it easier for our school customers to collaborate anywhere, manage their classrooms with ease, and seamlessly administer their Google applications, all from within Sycamore’s easy interface. This has been especially helpful to schools as they have transitioned to distance learning. An example of how we help is that you can sync the google gradebook into Sycamore’s LMS so that you can produce Report cards. Those report cards can then be digitally accessed and signed by parents.

We know schools are continuing to make big adjustments in the wake of COVID-19. Remember, you’re not in this alone — we’re here to help make your job easier and keep you connected to students, families, and the rest of your team. To learn more about the over 300 tools and resources included in Sycamore School’s all-in-one online school management system, just schedule a demo and start your free trial today.

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