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How will classrooms look this fall? This year’s back-to-school season is difficult for so many reasons. With the pandemic on the rise in some communities, Teachers must ensure that they are equipped for whatever COVID-19 throws their way. For many, that means remote teaching and using videoconferencing to work with their students, again. Enter Google Meet, a free video conferencing tool that’s integrated with Google Classroom! Many of you have already used Google Meet, but you might not know about all the extensions and add-ons you can use to really make the app work for you and your online classroom.
Google Meet is Google’s secure video conferencing application, accessible for anyone with a Google Account. While Meet usually limits meetings up to 100 participants for 60 minutes at a time, schools gain access to advanced features – including up to 250 participants per session – through September 30th, 2020!
Google Meet integrates into Google Classroom so it’s a natural fit for most Teachers. Meetings can be recorded and stored in the owner’s Google Drive, resources and attachments can be shared with participants, and captions can be toggled on or off for accessibility purposes. Additionally, for Teachers with multiple classes and/or sections, Google Meet allows individual links to be created for these different groups. That way, each class has a designated virtual classroom.
Teachers can hold office hours or student meetings with Google Meet. Former high school Teacher John R. Sowash created a great guide for setting up Meet events of different kinds! Be sure to check it out for some unique ideas:
While students will want to focus their attention on the Teacher, Teachers want to see all of their students to ensure that everyone is attentive and that no one falls behind. The Grid View extension lets Teachers toggle a grid layout, which makes all meeting members visible! While it’s not recommended for large meetings, a classroom environment with 20–30 people would benefit from a grid view.
Want to avoid interruptions and digressions during lectures? With the Nod extension, students can react with specific emojis without disrupting the classroom. So, students could use the “raise hand” emoji when they have questions, and Teachers would receive a notification. It streamlines the classroom process and organizes the environment without taking away from any interactivity!
Another excellent tool for streamlining the classroom, Meet Attendance, creates a Google Sheet that tracks student attendance across meetings. Rather than painstakingly marking each student present and switching between tabs or windows, Teachers can collect information in the background.
Push to Talk
While a general “mute all” extension doesn’t exist yet for Google Meet, one workaround is the Push to Talk extension. Chrome users don’t have to worry about forgetting to mute or unmute themselves. Instead, they can activate their microphones by pressing and holding down the space bar. Users can also configure a new hotkey if they’d prefer a different button. This tool was made for remote learning, so be sure to try it out!
For Teachers unable to use or acquire dual monitors, Dualless touts itself as the “poor man’s dual monitor solution.” The extension allows users to create two windows on one monitor, with several ratio options available to create a custom look for your screen. That way, Teachers can have Google Meet open in the larger window, with lecture notes or other resources in the smaller one.
With the uncertainty of what this year will bring, having extra tricks up your sleeve is never a bad idea. Whether you are going to be hybrid or completely remote, we hope these tools will help make your transition to virtual teaching just a little easier. For more tips on using Google Meet in your remote classroom, check out the videos on YouTube! Try TeacherMade Free for 30 Days.