Major Google Changes Bring New Opportunities to Districts

Cross posted at

The Google Apps for Education Team continues to enhance their products and announced major updates at the 2015 ISTE Conference. Some of the changes that will impact teachers and districts in the upcoming school year include:

  1. Google Classroom API – Even if you only know how to spell API, this can still have a significant impact on your interactions.  Some benefits of this API include (as published more in-depth on Google’s EDU blog) the capability for Google Apps for Education (GAFE) administrators to “provision and populate classes on behalf of their teachers {as well as} set up tools to sync their Student Information Systems with Classroom.”  GAFE administrators and developers are able to sign up now for access through the end of July.  It also allows for a more fluid sharing with other Cloud based tools, something many teachers have been asking for since Google Classroom was released nearly a year ago.
  2. Share and collaborate in Classroom with other school districts – Until now, Google Classroom did not allow teachers to invite students, teachers, and experts from other GAFE domains into their classrooms.  With Whitelisted Domains, this limitation vanishes and users can collaborate in a Classroom that includes students and teachers from outside their own district.  Foreign language teachers take note, as time zone constraints are no longer a challenge!
  3. Re-use posts from previous classes – Slated for availability in August, teachers will be able to re-use assignments and/or materials.  This is a great time saver for teachers who teach the same course several times per year!

Google is certainly not the only online resource for school districts, but their efforts in distributing APIs to connect with other online services and their actions based on feedback from all of us makes them a logical choice in education for the foreseeable future.

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