Mar 04 2019

New Chromebook App Hub Speeds the Search for K–12 Classroom Apps

Google’s new tool offers peer reviews, grade-level filtering and IT integration support.

The Chromebook App Hub — a new resource to help teachers find and integrate Google educational apps in the classroom — will launch later this year, Google announced today at SXSW EDU 2019 in Austin, Texas.

To create the hub, Google’s design team incorporated input from an advisory board of K–12 teachers, IT leaders and instructional technology specialists

Currently, teachers have to comb through millions of Chromebook apps to find the ones that best fit their individual classrooms. 

“One thing that educators never have enough of is time,” said Roland Rios, president of the Texas Computer Education Association and director of technology for Ft. Sam Houston Independent School District, told EdTech. “A tool like the application hub will be a welcome addition.”

MORE–FROM–EDTECH: See how Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams can benefit K–12 classrooms.

App Hub Narrows the Search for K–12 Classroom Applications

The Chromebook App Hub will let users filter applications by grade level and content area, see peer reviews and comments for apps, and follow links to lesson plans that incorporate specific apps. 

“It can be overwhelming for teachers and IT directors to vet the tools to see what really works and what has proved to be effective in the classroom,” Rios said. “This hub is going to let us narrow our search to a niche that is specifically for educational technology.”

MORE–FROM–EDTECH: Learn how K–12 schools can get started with blended learning initiatives.

App Hub Helps IT Staff Assess Integration and Compliance

Once teachers find an application they like, they will be able to send it directly to district IT staff for review. The IT team can then use the hub to review apps for compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and the Children’s Internet Protection Act. They’ll also be able to see how much apps cost and evaluate how well they would integrate with existing platforms. 

The hub will also give IT staff more visibility into developers’ data and accessibility policies, according to Karen Greenleaf, senior program manager for Chrome OS. 

“This really speeds the process up,” said Rios. “Usually, when a teacher finds what they want, we have to get on the phone with developers to find the answers to these questions. Now, all the answers will already be there.”

Ultimately, because Google leaned heavily on educators’ feedback to influence the hub’s design, the new program will be empowering, said Rios.

“Sometime educators feel like they do not have a real voice in things like this,” he said. “But through tools like this, it is clear we do have a voice, and it is refreshing.”


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