Google Classroom Expands Tools, Offers Preview of API


Google Classroom is adding new tools for developers, administrators, and teachers, with a developer preview of its new API offered until the end of July that will allow administrators to:

… provision and populate classes on behalf of their teachers, set up tools to sync their Student Information Systems with Classroom, and get basic visibility into which classes are being taught in their domain.

Developers will be able to integrate their applications, following in the footsteps of New Visions CloudLab, Alma, and Pear Deck.

In August, all Apps for Education domains will be able to use the API unless the administrator has restricted access, writes Leila Meyer of Campus Technology.

Another new feature will allow developers to use JavaScript to add a share button to their digital classroom, which then can be used by teachers and students to post links, images, or videos. More than 20% of educational content and tool providers plan to add this share button including PBS, Quizlet, the American Museum of Natural History, Discovery Education, Duolingo, and TIME Edge.

Other features include the whitelisting of domains to allow users in different domains to collaborate in Drive and Classroom; notifications in the iOS and Android apps when a student gets a new assignment, grade, or note; an API to easily make Google student accounts; and the ability for teachers to repost assignments from past classes.

This update was announced by Jonathan Rochelle, Google’s Director of Products for Education, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia.

In an interview with Joason Shueh of Government Technology, Rochelle discussed Google’s vision for the future of its education platform:

Our overall vision fits into three categories…

One is simple and powerful infrastructure… We don’t even think about scalability. For example, if we go to a school district that has a 100,000 kids … it doesn’t matter. … [Cloud-based technology] is definitely much simpler than having the servers in the school, that’s like a no-brainer these days. …

The next pillar is where Classroom fits in really well, which is trying to fuel teachers and get them more time for teaching … We feel like what Classroom was targeted at mostly was giving them back this time. It makes technology just fade away into the background and make teacher workflows easy.

The third pillar is engaging students. We want to make sure the learning can be fun and that the tools we have can really get in front of the child in a consistent way that fits into learning plans… There are just so many great learning tools out there, and now developers can use the API to create absolutely fantastic tools.

According to Evan Stoudt of EdSurge, teachers are already putting Google Sites to use making classroom websites, and including Google technology like Google Calendar, in-site search, Google Drive, customization of permissions, and more.

Google Classroom is a move by Google to both integrate its cloud-based services into the classroom and to further the use of the cloud-based Chromebook for students.