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Roots' Supplements to Google Apps for Education

Improving upon standard data systems to match a mastery-based system and analyze data deeply


Though Roots was satisfied using Google Apps for Education to power its back-end, it did need to create supplementary and complementary programs to align the Google programs to its mastery-based approach.

Roots built multiple simple tools to help with this task, including one that helped ensure the data flow was congruent with their mastery-based system, as well as one that provided staff the ability to quickly analyze data in deep enough detail to identify and respond to individual student needs.

The Roots leadership team followed the following process to develop these tools at relatively low cost.

  1. The idea creation started during full-day sessions hosted by Denver Public Schools’ Imaginarium, which is focused on supporting new school models.
  2. Once the vision for learning was developed, the leadership team determined which types of tools they would need to implement it.
  3. Google Apps for Education was selected as the productivity suite, though additional tools were needed to make these tools easier for teachers and students to use.
  4. After scanning the market, it was determined that a few simple tools would need to be custom-built and a junior developer was hired to create them.
  5. The leadership team prototyped paper versions of the tool with four-year-olds in order to ensure the best possible tools on a minimal budget.