Google updates Classroom with new API, embeddable share button

With Classroom, teachers can integrate Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail services for assigning and collecting work online, as well as to communicate more easily with students in and out of the classroom.

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Google's educational initiative Classroom received a series of updates Monday, most notably a Classroom API for admins and an embeddable Classroom share button.

Google launched Classroom last spring in an effort to make Google Apps for Education simpler for educators to use.

With Classroom, teachers can integrate Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail services for assigning and collecting work online, as well as to communicate more easily with students in and out of the classroom.

Google says its Apps for Education are used in diverse education settings around the world, ranging from a primary school in rural Australia to a school with no IT support in Mexico, according to Google.

With Classroom API, which is now in developer preview, admins, schools and developers gain new ways to implement Classroom and extend its use among educators.

"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," Pepper Lebeck-Jobe, Classroom API tech lead, wrote in a blog post marking today's announcement.

The Classroom API also allows other apps to integrate with Classroom, and according to Google, admins will be able to restrict whether teachers and students can authorize apps to access their Classroom data. Google noted it will not permit apps to use the API for advertising purposes, which stems from a commitment the internet giant made last year to stop mining Gmail education accounts and Google Apps accounts for use in ad-targeting.

Google named several developers already testing the new API, including rosterSync for Sheets, from The New Visions CloudLab, Alma, and interactive presentation service Pear Deck.

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As for the share button, developers or school IT admins can make it possible for teachers and students to assign or turn-in links, videos and images from another webpage or product, without having to leave the site they're on.

The share button is being launched with 20 educational content and tool providers, including PBS, Quizlet, the American Museum of Natural History, Discovery Education, Duolingo, and TIME Edge.

Additional Classroom and Apps for Education features include whitelisted domains, mobile classroom notifications and assignment recycling.

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