Google has now revealed more details about its upcoming improvements to the Google for Education platform and some hardware associated with it, following the search giant’s announcements from earlier this week. Specifically, the company has provided more insight into the direction of Chrome OS tablets, its upcoming Chromebook-focused stylus, a quiz-locking feature for teachers, and previously unannounced enhancements for schools allowing BYOD devices in the classroom. For starters, the company has revealed that its Staedtler-built STAEDTLER Noris digital for Chromebook stylus will be headed to retail locations before the end of summer. That means it won’t be limited to educational use but will be available at retail for any users who owns a touchscreen-enabled, convertible Chromebook. The stylus, which is designed to look and feel like a #2 pencil is battery-free and doesn’t require pairing for precise note-taking, annotation, or drawing.
The company also highlighted the world’s first Chrome OS tablet again, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, which is designed exclusively for the education sector. With regard to new developments, Google has revealed that AR experiences via Expeditions will become available in the fall, just in time for the start of the school year. VR ‘field trips’ through Google’s Tour Creator are available starting today. Quiz locking is another feature that’s set to arrive for every user of Google’s Classroom cloud platform starting this fall. That means educators will be able to lock out all functionality of their student’s Chromebooks in order to prevent distractions while a quiz is being taken. The setting allows external activity again after answers have been submitted and will be available for all Chrome OS devices.
Lastly, Google has introduced a brand new administrative device management feature which should pave the way for more students to bring their own Chrome OS devices from home where possible. Chromebook off hours will let admins set a schedule for when full device management will be enabled and when full capabilities will be restored. That means that during school hours, administrators can block off access to the Google Play Store, Android games, and other distractions or usage that’s inappropriate in a school setting. Then, when the child returns home with their BYOD device at the end of the school day, those settings can automatically cease to be enforced. In effect, that means a family device can be brought from home where administrators allow it without hindering the usage of that device while it’s actually at home.