Teaching! Ah, teaching. The noble profession of educating our youths to best prepare them for the world at large. Truly, the toughest job there is. Once we ignore firefighting, oil riggers, miners, and military service, anyway.
Before prickly professors or pedagogues get their backs up about that claim, I can only say it with such confidence because Google has recently announced a spate of schooling software upgrades across its Workspace for Education and a caboodle of Chromebooks to follow throughout 2024 – all to help you cultivate the K-12 classroom.
Hitting the Chromebooks
Announced in tandem with the BETT education conference in London, Google will be chasing up the announcement of its AI-capable Chromebook Plus with a bevy of 'Books to follow.
There'll be 15 Chromebooks in total released throughout 2024, a veritable pin-up calendar for educators still clinging to the Julian chronology. Of these 15, six will be designed for Advanced Use, meaning best suited for teachers, admins, and students with more demanding workloads. The remaining nine are tailored to suit the Learning Anywhere framework, giving students the power they need to juggle coursework and classrooms at school or from home.
What is Chromebook Plus?
Chromebook Plus was introduced at the tail end of 2023, offering more powerful devices while retaining the same ironclad security and affordability of typical models. These Plus models can oftentimes offer twice the performance, power, memory, and storage of regular Chromebooks, with some even being outfitted with powerful 13th Gen Intel processors and up to 16GB of RAM.
Education: As easy as AI, B, C.
Also announced by Google were some extensive AI-backed updates to Workspace for Education and ChromeOS, including accessibility features that extract text from PDFs and a reading mode with line focus, further enhanced by a new natural-sounding text-to-speech model.
Educators will also have access to Duet AI for help with crafting lesson plans in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Meanwhile, Google Classroom will allow for the creation and sharing of interactive lessons, such as adding questions to YouTube videos to further engage students.
While you can already find Chromebook Plus devices out in the wild, expect to see this new branch of lightweight AI-touting laptops feature more prominently throughout 2024. Workspace for Education updates will similarly be spread across the year, with a full rundown of what to expect available from Google's The Keyboard blog post.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.