Distance Learning

Google Reveals Plans for New Meet Functionality

Google has gone public with some of its plans for updates to Meet, the web conferencing tool that's part of the company's G Suite for Education. The basic thrust is to give teachers more control over their real-time sessions and help them make the classes more engaging.

Among the updates expected this year are these:

  • Educators will have more control over who gets in and what they can do once they're in virtual classes. If a teacher ejects a student from a meeting, the student won't be able to ask to rejoin ("knock"). If the teacher rejects a knock twice, it won't show up anymore on his or her interface during the session.

  • Once a class is over, teachers can end the session for everybody at once.

  • A default setting will prevent anonymous attendees from joining an education session, though schools will be able to opt-in and allow anonymous participations for designated sessions.

  • Both teachers and students will be able to blur out their backgrounds or replace them with presets or uploaded images, through the teacher will maintain control to disable that particular functionality.

  • Teachers will also be able to mute all participants, disable in-meeting chat and restrict who can present.

  • An additional setting will require that the moderator join in on the session before the class begins.

  • Meet will include a hand-raising function that will prevent class disruptions until the teacher is ready to take questions or comments.

  • A collaborative whiteboard will help participants share their ideas.

  • A larger tiled view will allow the teacher to show up to 49 participants at one time.

  • And closed captions will be available in languages besides just English.

Google Reveals Plans for New Meet Functionality

Mock-ups of expected functionality in Google Meet, planned for release sometime this year.

Google has also announced premium features, such as the ability to track attendance based on who has joined the class; breakout room functionality; and question-and-answer and polling to encourage student participation at key moments.

The company hasn't announced timing for the features, other than to state that they'll appear in the application this year. However, it did reveal one interesting metric. According to Google, some 140 million educators and students are now using the online suite of programs.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.