Google Extensions and Add-ons

IT staff receive a significant number of requests each week to approve Google extensions for student use or add-ons for staff and/or student use. Google extensions are not available to students unless approved to ensure that extensions meet privacy and security requirements and do not interfere with the function of the Chromebook. Google add-ons (available within apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides) are not available to students or staff unless approved to ensure that each add-on meets privacy and security requirements.

Approved Google extensions and add-ons should be listed in the Digital Resource Menu. When staff want to use an extension or add-on that is not approved, the staff member may submit a ticket requesting review. Those tickets are typically escalated to a member of the IT Department leadership team for approval.

Many Google extensions and add-ons require elevated permissions to the user’s account. Most free extensions and add-ons require parental permission for students under 13. School staff may only give parental permission when the district has an agreement with the vendor. For a free extension or add-on where no agreement is in place, parents should at a minimum be notified that the extension or add-on will be used and allow the parent to opt out of such use if desired.

IT staff look closely at the elevated permissions that an extension or add-on requires. IT staff will not be able to approve extensions or add-ons requiring full access to a user’s account or Google Drive. This is an excessive amount of permissions that may only be granted when an agreement is in place between the District and the vendor. Note that many of the add-ons that we review require full access to the user’s Google Drive and can therefore not be approved.

Periodically, we also get requests to approve paid extensions or add-ons. Typically, extensions or add-ons cannot be managed on a per user basis. This means that a purchase would have to be made district-wide. Therefore, unless there is a funding source identified for a district-wide purchase, paid extensions or add-ons shouldn’t even be considered.

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