Editor’s note: This week our Google for Education team will be meeting up with educators, developers, and EdTech enthusiasts at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas. If you’re attending, join us to learn more about building apps for Chromebooks at the Hilton in Room 406. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for news and updates.
Teachers: How much time do you spend searching the web to find the perfect app or activity to bring a classroom lesson to life?
Curriculum specialists and IT administrators: How much time do you spend looking through app requests from teachers to make sure they’re effective tools for the classroom while also meeting the needs of your district policies?
EdTech developers: How much time do you spend trying to reach educators and help them understand the benefit of using your apps in their classrooms?
As you might imagine, we spend a lot of time talking to educators, school administrators and educational software developers about Chromebooks in the classroom. We’ve listened to your feedback, and today we’re announcing the Chromebook App Hub from Google for Education—an online resource to help educators, administrators and developers work together to learn about Chromebook apps and activity ideas for schools.
A new hub that brings transparency to EdTech developers
We’ve gotten early feedback on the App Hub from developers and educators who helped consult on it. Dan Amos, the CEO of Book Creator, says that, “By being part of the App Hub we can showcase how Book Creator brings creativity to Chromebook classrooms, and demonstrate transparency around our data policies and product accessibility. We’re thrilled to be a part of this fantastic new resource that empowers educators to discover apps for their classroom.”
James Francis, the CEO of Screencastify, told us that, “Edtech is one of the few industries where each stakeholder wants the same result – improved outcomes for all students. With the App Hub, it’s clear that Google for Education is making strides to facilitate greater collaboration around this shared goal, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. Chromebooks have totally revolutionized the accessibility, flexibility and safety of digital learning, and building our products on their platform was the best decision we’ve ever made.”
We also worked closely with policy partners, including the non-profit Student Data Privacy Consortium (SPDC), that sees the App Hub as a great way to assist developers in considering the student privacy implications of their products in use with learners. Larry Fruth, the CEO of Access 4 Learning (A4L), the non-profit group behind the SPDC, says, “The App Hub will also be a great tool for schools and states as they look for resources like the SDPC to address changing privacy policies. Districts can align the information in the App Hub to their local resource approval processes, which will greatly improve the on-boarding of new apps and the transparency in their usage for districts.”
A new resource for educators to share and find idea sparks
Although apps are great, ideas from fellow educators for how to use them in the classroom are even better inspiration. We’re working with EdTechTeam and educators in the community to author idea sparks for how to use apps in the classroom, with tips for success, differentiated instruction strategies and links to additional resources such as videos, activities, and websites. Kate Petty, the Director of Educational Learning at EdTechTeam, says, “One of the best things about App Hub is the idea sparks that go with them. In my experience, teachers learn about applications in two ways: learning about a new lesson idea that has the app integrated into it, or hearing about an app that sounds awesome and want to get ideas about how to use it. Idea Sparks give teachers an opportunity to learn about new idea sparks and, even better, will provide an opportunity for teachers to share what they have created. As an idea contributor, it is an amazing experience to share what I am successfully doing in my classroom with educators around the world.”
And Dr. Roland Rios, President of TCEA in Texas and Director of Technology for Ft. Sam Houston ISD in San Antonio, who helped give early feedback on App Hub from a practitioner perspective, says, “The new Chromebook App Hub gives us just what we need—a network of passionate and dedicated developers building for education creating for educators who are eager to mindfully integrate technology into the classroom. With the App Hub, we will find new tools to engage students and we will connect to other teachers who are using these tools and providing lesson ideas. And as an administrator, the transparency around data policies and accessibility is helpful for decision-making.”
Stay tuned for the availability of the Chromebook App Hub later this year. In the meantime, educators can express interest in submitting idea sparks, and we encourage developers to tell us if they are interested in being part of the App Hub community. Don’t forget to sign up to get notified when it becomes available.