Google Product Updates & the Citation Tool

This weekend, Google hosted the Education On Air:  It Takes A Teacher online conference.  This conference included a host of global online workshop opportunities, as well as discussion forums and product updates.  If you missed it, you can still access the workshops and keynotes on demand at this link.

As part of this weekend online conference, Google announced some important updates that will positively impact the way schools communicate and share files.

Chromebook Login

The first feature focuses on Chromebook login. Logging in to a Chromebook can be a simple task for a middle school or high school student, and is something that we take for granted on a daily basis.  But when I look to our resource teachers who work with K-2 students, I know that logging in to Chromebooks can be a task that takes a while – especially when they need to remember an email address and password.  Now there are two ways younger students can login easily!

Clever Badges

With Clever Badges, students can use a specialized badge, with a code that they can hold up in front of the webcam.  The Chromebook webcam will recognize the code and log the student in using their GSuite credentials.


Another login solution comes in the form of CloudWise.  This login solution allows students to login using a series of pictures they have pre-selected.  

Parent / Guardian Access to Classroom

Earlier this school year, a major advancement was added to Google Classroom, allowing parents and guardians with a Gmail, the ability to sign up and receive email updates on Google Classroom.  With this weekend’s product announcement, you no longer need a Gmail account to gain access to your student’s classroom updates!  Any email can be used to sign a Parent or Guardian up for classroom.

Google Drive & Gmail Migration

While this ability was available using Google Takeout, Google has promised that early next year, the migration of Drive data and Gmail to another Google Account will become much easier.  This is a big deal for graduating students who would like to take their portfolio of work with them after they leave public school.  Plus, Google Admins will have the ability to ease this transition through settings on the Google Admin Dashboard.  For more information, stay tuned to updates in early 2017.

Citation Tool

Finally, the one thing that many users have been waiting to see the return of is the citation tool.  With the addition of the Explore tool to Docs, Sheets, and Slides, the citation tool – ability to search and cite sources, quotes, etc… in MLA/APA/Chicago – was removed.  Users, through a concerted online polling effort, requested that the citation feature return.  Google has listened and now, with the simple click of a quotation mark found on search results, you can cite a source in your document.  See the Gsuite Update Blog for details.

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