Since the summer Google has been teasing us with announcements of new features “coming soon” to Google Meet. Some of those features are finally starting to arrive. Two of them that I recently got access to are background blurring and meeting controls. With background blurring enabled everything behind me is blurred. With the meeting controls I can specify whether or not students can screen share and whether or not they can use the chat function during a meeting. In the following video I demonstrate how to access and use both of these features.
Applications for Education
Background blurring could be great for eliminating distractions for your students. Students can also use it to protect their own privacy to not show things in the background when joining classes from home. Background blurring can be turned on or off multiple times during a meeting. I might start a meeting with my background blurred then unblur it to reveal something that I have written on the whiteboard behind me.
The option to disable chat could be helpful if you find that your students are abusing the chat or otherwise not using it as intended.