UPDATE: Google Meets Remote Learning Improvements

Teachers have been scrambling over the last week or so to figure out how to connect with and instruct their students during extended school closures. One of the first questions that many seeked to answer was “How can I do a synchronous video chat or lesson with my students?”

People rushed to test out Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts), but red flags appeared quickly:

  1. Students were able to mute classmates in the meeting.
  2. Students were able to kick classmates out of the meeting.
  3. Students were able to access the meetings later, without the teacher’s “supervision” to continue chatting (Jake’s note: I’m not sure this is a bad thing.  They do this in our hallways and playgrounds, right?)

Well, Google for Education has reacted swiftly and effectively.  Last night, they released an update to Google Meet for gSuiteEdu users.  This update remedies the 3 issues listed above.

In my tests so far today, #1 and #2 above are already fixedIssue #3, however, still persisted in my test and it looks like it’s because that part of the rollout won’t be quite as swift (the post lists that it may take as long as 2 weeks to roll out to everyone).

Don’t come down to hard on ol’ Google here

I have already seen some “too little, too late” comments on Twitter about this. I do NOT agree with that.

First off, if you switched to Zoom because of this issue with Google Meet, there’s no reason to switch back to Meet.  You’ve got a solution that is working for you.  Just stick with it.  Don’t ask your students to learn a new platform.

Now, if you want to say “You were too late on this, Google!” slow. your. roll. Like every other tech tool that we’re using, Google Meet was not built for synchronous remote video lessons. They could’ve easily said “too bad, That’s not the intended use of Google Meet,” but instead they said “We’ll fix that for you.”

And not only that, but they went from becoming aware of the problem to fixing the problem within 1 week.  1 week!  That’s tremendous.

Not only is that the kind of proactive, growth mindset, seeing a problem and fixing it mentality that we want our tech companies to have, it’s the kind of mentality that we want our teachers and students to have!

Think about that: they tried something out (essentially, a beta, as they call it in the tech world or a pre-assessment as we may call it in education), observed a flaw, listened to feedback and put improvements in place.  In the classroom, we call that formative assessment.  In the landscape of remote learning?  We call that awesome.

Published by

Jake Miller

Jake is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and is the Lead Technology Integration Specialist for Brady Middle School in Ohio's Orange City Schools. In the past he taught STEM, Science & Math in Stow-Munroe Falls, Ohio, where he was also a leader in the district's Technology Leadership Team and a co-advisor for the middle school's STEM Club. He has been an educator since 2003. His Bachelor's Degree is in middle-level education (math/science) from the University of Akron and his Master's Degree is in Instructional Technology from Kent State University. He has enjoyed providing more than 100 professional development opportunities at conferences and school districts across the state of Ohio. He is very involved in Twitter (@JakeMillerTech) and provides regular pointers for educators with his #GAFETip tweets.

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