Google offers educational institutions several of its products, completely free, using a school's domain name. There are no ads, the data remains under school ownership, and 24/7 support is available. Our domain (konawa.k12.ok.us) is currently directed to this SOCS website and to our own email servers. Our goal for this summer is to become a Google for Education school. By doing so, teachers will note many changes when they come back to school next August. Some of the things that will be new include:
As many companies (including Microsoft, Adobe, and Smart) have elected to charge annually for their software and the budget continues to disappear, we have to find a way to utilitize free offerings that help us teach. Some of these products are of greatly enhanced benefit in a one-to-one environment, but there is much to be gained even in a lab environment. For example, when I teacher brings the class to the lab and has them create a product (a presentation for example) they often have a problem later finding that document if the go to another computer. While this isn't an issue if the student knows how to save to their network home, it still wastes some valuable lab time.
Here's another example: wouldn't it be nice to assign, submit, grade and return documents without having to print them? How about collaborating with your colleagues on Notebook document, presentations, or assignments that you both teach?
By moving our mail over to Gmail, our spam filtering would be provided by Google and we could save the expense of annual licensing, updating, and future replacement of our current email spam filter. While Google does not publish a list of schools that have enrolled in this program, becoming a Google for Education school is very popular and common in Oklahoma.
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