(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Classroom debuted last year to help teachers and students save time and collaborate with each other, and since then we’ve been working on how to make sure it worked well with other products that educators love and use in their classes.

Starting today, developers can embed the Classroom share button and sign up for the developer preview of the Classroom API. These tools make it easy for developers to seamlessly integrate with Classroom in ways that help teachers and students — like letting teachers create assignments directly from Quizlet, Duolingo, PBS and many other favorites.

We’ve also got other updates to tell you about, including whitelisted domains and notifications in the Classroom mobile app.

Classroom API

The Classroom API allows admins to provision and manage classes at scale, and lets developers integrate their applications with Classroom. Until the end of July, we’ll be running a developer preview, during which interested admins and developers can sign up for early access. When the preview ends, all Apps for Education domains will be able to use the API, unless the admin has restricted access.

By using the API, admins will be able 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. The Classroom API also allows other apps to integrate with Classroom.

A few developers have been helping us test the API, and we’re excited to share a few examples of what they’ve built:

  • The New Visions CloudLab (makers of Doctopus) built rosterSync for Sheets, an add-on integrated with Classroom. Harnessing the power of Google Sheets, admins can sync data from any student information system with Classroom.
  • Alma, a hybrid student information and learning management platform, will let schools easily create and sync their class rosters directly to Classroom with just a few clicks. And if an admin adds a student to a class in Alma, that student will get automatically added in the Classroom class. See more in their demo video.
  • And if you use Pear Deck, it’s now easy to start an interactive Pear Deck session with any of your Classroom classes. Just click “Invite from Google Classroom,” choose a class and your students will automatically be invited. Pear Deck will always use your current roster of students from Classroom, so you don’t have to keep rosters up to date across apps.

In the Admin Console, admins will be able to restrict whether teachers and students in their domain can authorize apps to access their Google Classroom data. And we don’t permit other apps to use Classroom data from the API for any advertising purposes.

Classroom share button

Today we’re also introducing the Classroom share button, a simple way for developers – or schools – to allow teachers and students to seamlessly assign or turn-in links, videos and images from another webpage or product.

The share button only requires a few lines of JavaScript, and you can customize the button to meet the needs of your website. When teachers and students click the button, they can quickly share to Classroom without having to leave the site they’re on. More than 20 educational content and tool providers have already committed to integrating the Classroom share button, including:

To get started or learn more about either the API or integrating the share button, visit And let us know what you’re building using the #withclassroom hashtag on Twitter or G+. As always, we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback and making sure that we’re addressing top needs. We’ll use the developer community site Stack Overflow to field technical questions and feedback about the Classroom API. Please use the tag google-classroom.

Other new Classroom and Google Apps for Education features:

  • Whitelisted domains: The ability to whitelist domains will be rolling out over the next few weeks. We shared this with you in March; we’re excited that now you’ll be able to whitelist other Google Apps for Education domains so students, teachers or staff in different domains can effectively work together in Drive and Classroom.
  • Mobile Classroom notifications: In the next few weeks, we’ll be adding mobile notifications in our iOS and Android app. Students can immediately see when they’ve got a new assignment or grade, a note from their teacher or a comment from a fellow student.
  • Re-use previous posts: If you used Classroom this year and want to reuse your assignments or materials in future classes, we’ve got you covered. In August, we’re planning to roll out the ability for you to reuse assignments and posts from old classes. Stay tuned for more details.
  • Easier provisioning of Google Apps accounts for your domain: Creating a large number of Google Apps for Education accounts can be challenging. Last week we introduced a new API to generate available usernames and create Google Apps accounts in your domain: account provisioning for Google Apps. It can be used in a website where users create their own accounts or in a script that creates accounts in bulk.

We hope these additions will make it easy to use Classroom alongside all of your favorite educational tools.


I was fourteen when I knew I wanted to join the Army. I was a cadet at school, in the cold and wet Lake District hills. I revelled in the fun of confronting and overcoming seemingly impossible challenges and hardships with my mates. I loved being part of something; a team, a mission. To me, the Army was something to be part of. Something to believe in.

I served for five years with the Highland Fusiliers, a British Army infantry regiment, after university. What I cherish most from my time in the military is how my character developed from repeatedly having to achieve goals, against the odds, with some of the best teams I could imagine. I remember leading five young Glaswegian soldiers across the glaciers of the Karakoram mountains in Pakistan, and watching as their courage and resolve grew with every icy step. Then, later, I saw them become leaders of teams on operations. It was soldiers like those that taught me leadership is about serving a team, not running a team.

This is just one of many lessons that ex-servicemen and women learn from the military that make them great entrepreneurs. In addition to recognizing the power of a team, they’re taught to plan and act with imperfect information and limited resources. They prepare for every scenario, but know how to react quickly and logically to sudden obstacles. And they learn to do it all while under extreme pressure and often in dire circumstances — skills that become priceless qualities for entrepreneurs in fast-moving business environments.

Now, thanks to development in cloud technology and web-based tools, it’s easier than ever for ex-military personnel to pursue entrepreneurship. They don’t need a physical office to bring a team together; with video conferencing and collaborative tools, they can work with colleagues from all over the world as if they’re in a room together. Having a website means no longer needing an expensive storefront or being limited to customers within driving distance, and online advertising makes it possible to find the clients who are looking for exactly what you offer. Starting a business now costs a fraction of what it used to, with even more tools available to get your idea off the ground.

So, in honour of Armed Forces Day in the United Kingdom, we’re celebrating those leaders in service who became leaders in British business. We’re highlighting people like Andy McNab, the best-selling author and entrepreneur who joined the military at 16 with the literacy of an 11-year old. Or Tom Bodkin, who spent six years in the Parachute Regiment before starting a fast-growing company that leads treks to remote places around the world. And to encourage ex-servicemen and women to pursue their passions as entrepreneurs, we’re offering discounts on Google Apps, Google AdWords and Google Cloud Platform, and providing business training from our Digital Garage in Leeds.

To all those who have served and continue to serve in so many ways, thank you for your dedication and courage. With greatest respect and gratitude, I salute you and your families this Armed Forces Day.

Posted by Joshua Koen, Special Assistant for Technology, Newark Public Schools
(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Joshua Koen, Special Assistant for Technology at Newark Public Schools, which serves over 35,000 students across 66 schools. Thanks to his diverse background, Koen focuses on bringing together instruction and technology. Here he shares his reflections from this past school year and his continued focus to ensure IT always serves learning. He’s also sharing the great news that Newark is now using Google Apps for Education district-wide.

Some people worry about giving kids too much access to technology, but I’m worried we might not be providing enough. We know students today can use the Internet pretty much anywhere and anytime. So as educators, it’s our job to model effective use. At the Newark Public Schools, infusing technology in our instruction is helping us reach our goal of preparing all students for the college or career of their choice. When it comes to technology, we try to keep it simple by focusing on three very specific objectives that support our district goals: helping teachers check for understanding for all students in real-time, infusing digital learning experiences into the curriculum and helping students develop digital fluency (which is measured through assessments like PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

When I arrived at Newark a year and a half ago, I was pleased to see that the district had already invested in high-speed wireless access. To further this work, last year I organized a steering committee of students, teachers and administrators to help guide our new learning environment. As part of this work, we developed a digital learning initiative and introduced Google Apps for Education district-wide. Google Apps has since become our educational backbone, facilitating collaboration at the classroom-level, school level and district level.

For example, students at Benjamin Franklin School led by teacher coaches Tracy Blazquez and Amy Panitch implemented a Problem Based Learning unit aligned to our curriculum to explore how the toy industry shapes what careers students enter when they grow up. Students conducted a class and school survey identifying preferences using Forms, analyzed the results in real-time as they were being collected in Sheets, collaborated together to describe their ideas in Docs, and presented their findings via a Hangout on Air.

Students from Franklin Elementary school participate in a Hangout on Air. Watch the video.

In another school, Speedway Academies, a 5th grade class donned their press badges, put on their adventure gear and became journalists chronicling natural disasters across the world. Their teacher, Audra Chisolm (who had never used Google Apps before) and coach Damion Frye, used Google Classroom to facilitate students researching, editing and writing editorials and newspaper articles in Docs. They created an online student newspaper with their final product using Google Sites. During the entire eight-week unit, the students only used one piece of paper and practiced PARCC readiness by cutting and pasting, highlighting and editing each other's work.
Students collaborate on a problem based learning unit.

As a district team we've taken many steps to enable more digital learning. First and foremost, we focus on learning rather than IT. As IT teams, we need to be knowledgeable about the curriculum and needs of teachers if we're going to be able to help them. We also model the use of new tools. For example, at a recent principals’ leadership institute, we shared the agenda and activities through a Google Site with our attendees who could contribute to brainstorms using Google Docs. To help teachers infuse technology into daily practice we utilize the technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) framework to guide us in this. We find this to be a helpful framework. Finally, we’ve also introduced tech instructional leads in each school for on-the-job support.

In the next year, we plan to roll out more devices to give students even more access to learning. How will I know we're having success with digital learning? I’ll know when we spend less time talking about IT and gadgets and more time talking about learning.


(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Twenty thousand educators from around the world will share ideas, tips, and trends for the upcoming year when they gather at ISTE, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world. If you’ll be in Philadelphia, come visit us in the Expo Hall at #1808. You can learn more about the new Training Center and check out any of over 50 short sessions that will share more ways to engage and inspire students.

Technology can transform education, but only when it enables and supports amazing educators. Effective professional development is thus a crucial part of creating real positive change and preparing students for the future. For this reason, we’re proud to introduce the new Google for Education Training Center, a free, interactive, online platform that helps educators apply Google’s tools in the classroom and beyond.

Professional development has long been a challenge for educators and administrators. A 2015 survey by the American Federation of Teachers found that the "adoption of new initiatives without proper training or professional development" was the primary reason for workplace stress, with 71% of respondents citing it. This is why we worked closely alongside educators to design professional development tools that fit the needs of their peers.

“We didn’t need another help center with how-to articles; we needed to start where teachers start, with learning objectives, classroom tasks and teaching strategies,” said Jay Atwood, EdTech coordinator at Singapore American School and project lead for the Training Center’s lesson creation. “With the new Training Center, we do just that.”

The Training Center provides interactive lessons with a practical classroom focus, allowing educators and administrators to customize their learning paths by choosing fundamental or advanced courses. Each course is organized around three themes:

Educators can access different units and lessons in any order they prefer. After completing either the fundamentals or advanced course, educators can then distinguish themselves as Google Certified Educators, Level 1 or Level 2.

The lessons support different skill sets, grade levels, content specialties, capacities and interests. “I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about Google, but in each session I learned something new,” says Carla Jones, a teacher at Cook Elementary School in Chicago, IL who previewed the Training Center content. “I learned tips and strategies that I could immediately use in my classroom, and each session got me super excited about how to make my classroom more tech integrated.”

Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest school district in the United States with more than 600 schools and 400,000 students, worked with Google for Education as a launch partner for the new Training Center. CPS will use the Training Center as an integral part of its technology professional development program, and teachers’ time spent on Training Center courses will count toward their professional development hours.

“The new Google for Education Training Center empowers teachers to drive their own learning and track their progress,” says Donna Rom├ín, EdTech instructional specialist at CPS. “It combines differentiated content, flexible pace and application with the collaborative magic of Google Apps for Education in a supportive learning environment.”

The Training Center reflects what we value most about education, focusing on the process of learning rather than the tools themselves. “The Training Center was carefully designed around good pedagogy and instructional practices,” explains Mark Hammons, EdTech coordinator at the Fresno County Office of Education and a contributor to the platform. “Not only will teachers learn how to use Google Apps, but they will also learn how to apply them meaningfully in the classroom.”

To learn more about the Training Center, visit and try out a lesson or two.


(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: As educators in North America begin to prepare for the 2015/16 school year, we thought this would be a good time to pull together the best tips we shared in the last year from schools using Chromebooks. If you’ll be at ISTE 2015 next week in Philly, come see us in the Expo Hall at space #1808. We’ll have a range of Chromebooks to demo and over 50 sessions in our teaching theater. If you won’t be there, you can follow along at #ISTE2015 and @GoogleforEdu for the highlights and news.

Schools across North America are choosing Chromebooks as devices to support teaching and learning. Districts continue to invest in Chromebooks, purchasing more devices as they continue to see success. A few examples: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina now use 83,000 devices, Milwaukee Public Schools now use 38,000 and we’re happy to announce that Arlington Independent School District in Texas recently purchased 17,000 Chromebooks. We gathered tips from experienced districts like these to help school leaders prepare for success in the upcoming school year.

1. Understand teachers’ needs
Success begins with asking teachers what they need and truly listening to their answers. New York City Chief Information Officer Hal Friedlander shared the importance of listening to and understanding the needs of teachers. “We treat schools as customers and engage them as advocates of the technology,” Friedlander says. “The educators who live in the community and teach students every day have the best ideas about what they need in technology, not a guy like me who works at the 30,000-foot view.” It’s a logical place to start, but too often people rush this step.

2. Equip staff with advanced training
Fulfilling teachers’ needs also involves training — preparing them with the tools they need to use technology effectively. Back in November, in the midst of dispatching 32,000 Chromebooks, Chesterfield Public Schools Executive Director of Technology Adam Sedlow shared tips for a successful Chromebook deployment, emphasizing the importance of professional development. Interestingly, the district didn’t require every teacher to attend training — instead they created an optional two-day experience called Camp Chromebook. Because the training was crafted to be fun and engaging, the 300 spots filled up in minutes. Once school started, the trained teachers helped their colleagues who couldn’t attend Camp Chromebook.

3. Plan a phased rollout
Over the past year, school leaders have taught us that planning counts. During a panel at Education on Air, three leaders shared what they’ve learned about successful IT rollouts. A common theme: be thoughtful about planning each phase. Hillsborough Public Schools Director of Technology Joel Handler shared that for his New Jersey district, this meant organizing a pilot phase with outstanding teachers who were respected by their peers as instructional leaders. Valerie Truesdale, Chief of Technology, Personalization & Engagement at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, shared that her district used Chromebooks in middle school because data showed them this age group was the place with most need.

4. Encourage risk-taking and innovation
Throughout the year, leaders echoed the importance of encouraging staff to take risks. Joel Handler put it well “if you aren’t failing, then you aren’t taking enough risks.” Outside experts agree. Laszlo Bock, Google’s head of HR, cited the need for risk-taking and failure as one of his four “work rules for school”  lessons included in his recent book "Work Rules." Laszlo shared that “failure actually isn’t failure, it’s the single best learning opportunity we have." Changing culture isn’t always easy, but many educators are doing it well. Ryan Bretag, Chief Innovation Officer at Glenbrook High School District 225 in Illinois, shared a few practical tips on how to create the conditions for change in schools.

What tips did we miss? Share your tips for success with Chromebooks by using #GoogleEdu. If you’re looking for support in preparing to deploy Chromebooks, check out our Google for Education trainer directory. Although Chromebooks are easy to set up and use, we know that many people like to engage a trainer to get started. On our site, you’ll find a range of organizations that make it their full-time job to support schools with edtech.


When we launched Chromebox for meetings last year, we wanted to help teams meet face to face, room to room, no matter where they’re sitting. Since then, a variety of companies like Xero and the Climate Corporation have chosen Chromebox for meetings to shrink the distance between remote offices.

Today, we’re expanding to bigger spaces. Chromebox for meetings now supports larger meeting rooms, so groups of up to twenty can seamlessly sync with colleagues around the world and still feel like they’re in the same place. Companies of all sizes, including Whirlpool Corporation, Netflix and Foursquare have tested Chromebox for meetings for the large room and said their users have enjoyed the video quality of the HD meetings.

“Expanding Chromebox for meetings to larger rooms continues to improve Whirlpool Corporation's face-to-face collaboration across our global meeting rooms, and with the price point and simple installation, we're able to bring room-to-room video conferencing to many more people,” says Troy McKim, Sr. Manager, Collaboration at Whirlpool Corporation. “In addition, Google's continuous enhancements to Chrome device management makes it easy for my team to remotely monitor the status of our global Chromebox for meetings units.”

New hardware to support larger rooms. The new Chromebox for meetings bundle equips rooms with the same instant face-to-face meeting functionalities as the original bundle, but with additional hardware to support larger rooms. New hardware includes:

  • Pan-tilt-zoom camera: USB-enabled 1080 HD PTZ delivers professional video quality for larger conference spaces.
  • 2x microphone and speaker: Capture conversations in longer rooms with an additional mic and speaker.
  • Enhanced dual screen support: Now you can connect two monitors to the PTZ camera and dual microphone and speakers, so your participants can get the richest video conferencing experience.

Better screenshare experience. Full-screen mode in Chromebox for meetings allows for better presentations. This is now available with any sized meeting room powered by Chrome.

More management controls. We’re adding more Chrome management controls to the admin panel. Admins can remotely monitor the health of their Chrome devices in one simple view to see which devices are online or offline. Chrome management also lets admins delegate administration of devices to other users besides the super admin.

Managing and deploying Chromebox for meetings for the large room is still just as simple. Chromebox for meetings runs on Chrome OS, which means it’s fast, secure and easy to manage. And setup and deployment for larger rooms is still just as easy — with Chrome management, admins can deploy devices in minutes and remotely manage tens of thousands of devices.

Chromebox for meetings for the large room is available in the US at $1999, which includes the first year’s management and support fee, with everything you need to get your bigger spaces going — just bring your own display(s). That means that you can get HD video meetings in many more meeting rooms at one-tenth the cost of legacy video conferencing solutions. And later this year, we’ll be expanding availability to different regions.

You can learn more about Chromebox for meetings on our website.


(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Leading up to ISTE, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we asked educators and administrators to reflect on the past school year and look ahead to 2015-16. Today we hear from John Krouskoff, manager of emerging technologies at the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center. If you’re coming to Philadelphia for ISTE, stop by and see us in the Expo Hall at #1808. You can check out any of over 50 short sessions that will share more ways to engage and inspire students. Read on for John’s take on the future of trends in education and technology.
John Krouskoff, Manager of Emerging Technologies, Lower Hudson Regional Information Center

This past school year our regional consortium created a team to provide professional development to teachers in eight of our school districts. Through this year-long training program, we’ve learned what makes a successful professional development program — including flexibility, careful planning, regular feedback and extensive communication.

As we wrap up a successful first year, we’re looking at ways to build on this foundation. We spoke with our students, teachers and administrators to understand the technology trends shaping their districts, schools and classrooms. Here are the top four trends we’ve observed:

  1. Problem-solving through computer science. Google’s free CS-First program can help students learn computational thinking and problem solving as part of their classwork. As Google Education Trainer Amber Klebanoff writes, “The CS-First program is not only teaching students about coding but predominantly about how to problem solve while promoting self confidence and pride in the ability to create and succeed at a difficult task.”
  2. Passion based learning through 20 percent projects at school. Educators are encouraging passion-based student learning that fits with their curricula through 20 percent projects — allowing students to use an hour each week to explore the topic of their choice. As Clarkstown High School North Marine Biology Teacher and Google Education Trainer Heidi Bernasconi commented, “Twenty percent time in my class brought a needed energy back to my students.” Despite AP exams and other demands, Bernasconi blends “the 20 percent solution” into her classroom practice. “The projects are graded almost solely on students creating realistic and challenging goals,” she said. For more examples of this check out Kevin Brookhouser’s blog post.
  3. Exploring the world beyond the classroom. Now that more districts are focusing on real-world learning and interactive content, we’re seeing educators use technology to bring their lessons to life. Google Expeditions will play an interesting role in this exploration next year, by helping students visit far-away places from their classrooms and libraries using Google Cardboard. That chapter has yet to be written, but one thing is certain — technology continues to provide more student-driven learning opportunities.
  4. Access to technology and professional development. As more educators recognize the transformative power of technology in the classroom, districts are prioritizing technology in their budget decisions — whether it’s ubiquitous wireless access, improved Internet bandwidth, or increased access to devices. It’s heartening to see districts recognize the importance of sustainable professional development and invest in regional consortia, professional learning networks and school-based resources.
As technology enablers, we’re eager to see how these trends take shape in different districts with unique opportunities and challenges. We’re also excited to continue building the professional development opportunities that will help each district harness emerging technology to inspire new ideas, interests and ways to teach and learn.