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Google today is announcing several updates to its Google Classroom cloud service for handling assignments, coursework, and grades.

And in the Inbox by Gmail email client — which is now turned on by default for people with Google for Education domains in which new features are automatically turned on — emails from Google Classroom are now grouped together, so it’s easier to deal with them all. Google has done something similar for email notifications from GitHub, Trello, and Google Alerts, as well as for newsletters.

What’s more, the Google Classroom app for Android and iOS now lets users make annotations to documents.

Mobile annotations in Google Classroom.

Above: Mobile annotations in Google Classroom.

Image Credit: Google

“When teachers want to help students understand complex math or science concepts, visuals — like drawings on a whiteboard — can help. But how does this work when students and teachers aren’t in the classroom together?” Google Classroom software engineer Dina Kachintseva and Google user experience designer Felix Wang wrote in a blog post.


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The app will now let students and teachers natively preview files, and the stream in the app can be filtered down to look only at posts about specific topics, Kachintseva and Wang wrote. Plus, as Google promised in May, parents will be able to request daily or weekly emails about students’ assignments and schoolwork.

This builds on Google’s other education news this year, like the Cast for Education app, Quizzes in Google Forms, and the Coursework application programming interface (API). Meanwhile, Amazon has launched an education service, and Apple and Microsoft have their own.

Also today, Google said it’s introducing new virtual reality Expeditions and support for images in questions and answers in Google Forms when teachers use them with their students. Support for secondary domains will be arriving “soon” in the Cast for Education Chrome app, Kachintseva and Wang wrote.

Update at 1:56 p.m. Pacific: Clarified information about the availability of Inbox by Gmail for education customers. Google initially provided us with incorrect information.

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