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Google Unveils New Accessibility and Learning Features at ISTE Expo

Google showcased its latest accessibility and learning features during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) expo. The new features introduced include an expanded reading mode, integration of sign language interpreters in Google Meet, and AI-powered question suggestions for educational assignments.

Building on its AI-powered tools integrated into consumer products like Search, Gmail, and Sheets, Google has now incorporated AI-generated questions into assignments related to YouTube videos. Teachers can customize the questions or modify the suggestions provided by the AI. The company is currently accepting applications to test this feature in English, with plans to extend support to Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Malay.

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In March, Google introduced Reading Mode, which allows users to focus on text by removing distracting elements such as videos and images. Initially available only for Chrome browsers on ChromeOS, Google announced that the feature will soon be accessible to all Chrome users.

Furthermore, Google announced that screen reader users will be able to convert images to text in PDFs using Chrome browsers on Chromebooks. However, copying the text from these converted PDFs may not be supported.

To enhance readability, Google introduced new fonts designed for Arabic, Cyrillic, and Latin systems. These optically variable fonts adapt their design for different sizes, improving legibility across various platforms.

Google Meet, the company’s video conferencing platform, introduced a tile-pairing feature. When enabled, this feature highlights both tiles when a participant speaks, facilitating seamless connection with a sign language interpreter.

In addition, Google Meet will soon incorporate features like polls and Q&A during livestreams for classrooms subscribed to the “Teaching and Learning Upgrade” or “Education Plus” plans.

While Google offers its Workspace for Education for free, advanced security, learning tools, device management, and analytics are available through the Standard tier, priced at $3 per student per year, and the Plus tier, priced at $5 per student per year.

With these new accessibility and learning features, Google aims to empower educators and students by providing innovative tools that enhance engagement and foster inclusivity within the learning environment.