Google Meet: Here Is What Teachers Need To Know

Google Hangouts was the primary option for video chats in education for the past couple of years and now it is going away. Google has said that in the near future, it was going to split up Google Hangouts into two services, Meet and Google Hangouts Chat. For those of us in education, the central question is: how is Google Meet different than Google Hangouts?

What Is Google Meet?

Google Meet is a website and an app for iOS and Android. Meet is a replacement for Google Hangouts video chat. Google Hangouts was once the unified messenger that did both text and video. For a while Google Hangouts on Air, a live-streaming service, was also a part of that system. Now, Google is breaking up Google Hangouts into two different tools, Meet and Hangouts Chat.

How Is Google Meet Different Than Google Hangouts?

Google Meet is meant to be a lightweight video chat service. In an article with TechCrunch.com, Google’s Google’s director of product management, Drive Scott Johnston, said that one of the biggest complains from users is “just how people are spending so much time on getting into the meetings.” He went on to say “We’re a big supporter of automating the full meeting life cycle from agenda to follow-ups. But meeting value today is destroyed by time-to-start. It takes so long to simply get started.” It is clear where Google is headed and their rationale for going there. But that still leaves us wondering, how is it different?  

In today’s classrooms, many teachers and students are using video chat services to connect with classrooms across the globe. Teachers are connecting with teachers, administrators are meeting with parents, and students get to meet other students and professional experts. Video chat has expanded the walls of the classroom and Google Meet helps do this better than Hangouts, even though there are less features included with the service.

How Many People Can Be In A Google Meet?

The maximum number of participants in Google Meet is now limited to 30.

Who Can Join A Google Meet Video Chat?

To join, all someone needs is a link to the chat or a code to enter.

What Are The Features of Google Meet?

  • All calls are encrypted for security
  • Screen-sharing
  • Video recording built-in (at the time of writing, this was promised as a feature but there was nothing to enable it)
  • Can be added from Google Calendar appointments
  • Your next meeting appears on the meets.google.com page

What Is Missing in Google Meet?

To make Google Meet faster, Google had to get rid of a lot of additional bloat in the service. So there is no embedded chat, no plugins, no additional controls. This tool is bare-bones. But it is fast and super easy to join. You can see my full review of the features and what it is lacking in the video below.

How To Turn On Google Meet

By now, you probably want to jump in and test out Google Meet. Schools currently have to enable Google Meet to have it replace Google Hangouts. That will probably change as Google makes Meet the default video chat app. For now, here are the instructions for enabling Google Meet.

Last Thoughts

Google Meet is really good at what it does: video chat. Google has been specializing their tools in recent years and after producing an awesome tool like Google Photos, I am excited for the direction that Google is headed. Google Meet is a really good service that allows high-quality video chat that is easy to join. When connecting with others, especially distant classrooms or experts, the last thing hosts need is a video chat plugin error. Google Meet simply works.

Final Question

Have you tried Google Meet? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Brittany

    Hi. I’m wondering if there is way for the presenter to see the screen they are presenting while still
    Seeing the students?

  2. Jose Ramos

    Has anyone developed a norms of protocol list for students to follow during a Google meet?

    1. Robert Scheer

      Here’s one our Arts Dept put together..

      When using Google Meet, we all agree to:

      Join the Google Meet on time
      Inform your teacher if you’re not able to attend for any reason.
      Attendance will be recorded at the start.
      Respect each other’s
      Ideas, opinions, appearance, privacy, and work
      Pay attention to the conversation (avoid distractions!)
      Listen to each other before inputting ideas.
      Only 1 person talking at a time
      Mute audio when not speaking, unmute to speak.
      Prepare ourselves & our surroundings
      Dress in appropriate clothing
      Use headphones & microphone if possible so that we can hear you clearly
      Be mindful of surroundings, ensure you are in a private and quiet space
      Make sure that you have eaten before the Meet happens (not during)
      Close any unnecessary windows or apps that are running in the background (especially games) as these may cause a distraction and will potentially interfere with your audio and camera.
      Follow the school “Responsible Use Policy”
      No recording of screens without permission from the teacher and the group.
      No sharing with anyone outside our class
      Do not mute or remove others from the chat
      Leave the Meet at the end of the lesson

  3. Jenny Wiltfong

    So a teacher makes a google meet link, can other teachers use the same link (even though they did not create it) so that students have ONE google meet link. I teach in higher ed. I know that when you create the link via your calendar, etc its links to your google account. Do you advise multiple teachers (4) from the same department using the same google meet link created by one of the teachers for ease for students? Any problem with this?

    1. Bob Robert SCHEER

      To help with this, a fabulous colleague taught me this about Google calendar. When you look in the Calendar invitation, edit it, you will see Event Details and then Add conferencing. Click on this and the Google Meet address is created for you and the students instead of you creating a meeting, copying the address and emailing it around.

      I was also fiddling around with saving Google meet addresses. If you invite other colleagues then they will have the link, too and saves you copying it around in emails.
      I had never noticed this feature before. Hope this makes sense and helps a little.

      1. Jenny

        Thank you for your prompt feedback it is much appreciated!

  4. Penny

    How does data privacy come into play when meeting with students via google meet for distance learning? Our district is indicating we most likely will not be able to use it.

  5. Julie Bennett

    Hi!

    I tried Google Meet yesterday for the first day of distance learning. My 4th-grade students were able to mute me and unmute themselves. How do I remove students who are misbehaving from the meeting.

    1. Robert SCHEER

      This is not an IT solution. Our IT boss said there is no way, to stop students from doing that.
      He recommended that you, in the spirit of transparency and ‘I know what you can do’ show the students to click on ‘People’ and show them the mute and ‘evict’ buttons. And have a vote as a class on a code of conduct for respectful communication in this meeting.
      At least this is something you and the class can refer back to.

      Depending on how bad the issue is, I imagine some kids will try this at least once. If ongoing, take it up with parents/ guardians.

      It’s great to have Google meets, but I hope, like Flipgrid, there could be an ‘Educator’s’ login where you have control over the meeting and can ‘freeze’ misbehaving students or even send them to a private meeting so you can speak to them… spit balling, here.

      I generally just tell the class, I am leaving the meeting for a few seconds, then re enter and often the issue – connectivity, or behaviour, is better.

      1. B Taylor

        Hangouts Meet improvements for remote learning
        March 19, 2020
        What’s changing
        We recently extended Hangouts Meet premium features to all G Suite customers through July 1, 2020 to support employees, educators, and students as they move to work and learn remotely.
        To improve the remote learning experience for teachers and students using Hangouts Meet, we’re making several improvements:
        Only meeting creators and calendar owners can mute or remove other participants in a meeting
        Meeting participants will not be able to re-join nicknamed meetings once the final participant has left
        Who’s impacted
        Admins and end users
        Why it’s important
        We hope these added controls and improvements will enhance Hangouts Meet for our Education users.
        Additional details
        Improved meeting control features: ‘mute’ and ‘remove’ For our Education customers, only the meeting creator, Calendar event owner, or person who creates a meeting on an in-room hardware device will be allowed to mute or remove other participants in a meeting. This ensures a teacher, as a meeting creator or Calendar event owner, can’t be removed or muted by students participating in the event.
        Check out our Help Center to learn how to assign meeting creation privileges to teachers and staff members. We recommend that you assign these privileges to the organizational units (OUs) that contain your faculty and staff members.
        Improved teacher controls for nicknamed meetings Participants will not be able to re-join a meeting after the final participant has left if:
        The meeting was created using a short link like g.co/meet/nickname
        The meeting was created at meet.google.com by entering a meeting nickname in the “Join or start a meeting” field
        The meeting was created in the Meet app by entering a nickname in the “Meeting code” field
        This means if the teacher is the last person to leave these types of meetings, students cannot join later without the teacher.
        We’ve also heard from some admins that they don’t want students to be able to create meetings. To do so, use this Help Center article to assign meeting creation privileges to teachers and staff only.
        Additional resources for getting started with Hangouts Meet
        Visit our Help Center to learn more about using Meet with low bandwidth and tips for training teachers and students.
        Getting started
        Admins: Visit the Help Center to learn more about assigning meeting creation privileges to users in your domain.
        End Users: No action is required.
        Rollout pace
        Rapid and Scheduled Release domains: These features have started rolling out and should be available to all G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers within 2-3 weeks.
        Availability
        Available to G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers
        Not available to G Suite Basic, G Suite Enterprise, G Suite Business and G Suite for Nonprofits customers
        Resources
        G Suite Updates Blog: Extending Hangouts Meet premium features to all G Suite customers through July 1, 2020
        Google Help: Live stream a video meeting
        Google Help: Record a video meeting
        Google Help: Start a video meeting
        Google Help: Troubleshoot issues with Hangouts Meet
        Google Help: Use captions in a video meeting
        Google Help: Accept and present audience questions
        G Suite Admin Help: Set up Meet for distance learning
        G Suite Admin Help: Prepare your network
        G Suite Admin Help: Turn on Meet video calling

    2. Jose Ramos

      Julie, I just watched a short YouTube video that specifically addressed removing participants. I don’t have the link but I am sure you could find it easily.

  6. Robert SCHEER

    I hear from other teachers that students can ‘kick’ other students out of the Google meets and mute students, too. Is this true? Is there anything I can do as the teacher to counter this?

    1. christine mooney

      Not only can they kick other students out, but they can kick the teacher/presenter out.

  7. Sharon Rice

    Can you tell me the minimum age for students to use Google Meet?

    1. Lex Giezen

      Hi Sharon – did you ever find out?

  8. Anonymous

    MJ at work as always! Thank you and will look thru it and discuss it w/you this week
    Need to keep developing my Google “skills” for next years group…
    Much appreciate! Steve

  9. Rob Kamrowski

    Hey MJ, great post as usual. I’m most concerned about the lack of recording the conference for later viewing. However, you seem to have received confirmation that this is a feature that will be added soon; is that correct? Also, what slide presentation software are you using to show your slides next to your screen share? I really like it and would like to use something similar in future endeavors.

    1. MJ Linane Post author

      Hey Rob! I’m glad you liked it. I’ve seen a number of articles that’s a screen recording is a feature but I can’t find it. I think it’s even mentioned in the article I linked to in the post.

      To answer your other question, I used Camstasia. It’s a little pricey but it’s a really really useful tool.

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