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Google Apps for Education

Google Apps for Education offers resources for teachers, students, and parents. This article includes a summary of what Google Apps Education Edition has to offer, what each Google Education App is, and what they can do to assist you in your education journey.

Google Apps, such as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, may be familiar from your business dealings or from “everyday life” getting in touch with friends and family. But did you know that there is a Google Apps Education Edition, which includes all these apps, plus Google Sites, which allows for the creation of a classroom website?
Here’s a summary of the educational version of Google Apps:

  • Gmail offers faculty, staff, and students each an email account with 2 GB of storage. It’s designed so the chat function can be disabled if student IMing is not desired in these accounts.
  • Google Talk allows both voice calls and instant messages for collaboration across distances.
  • Google Calendar helps with making sure students have access to the schedule of school events and a good way to schedule after-school meetings that won’t conflict with sports practice, music lessons, study groups, or other activities.
  • Google Docs allows students and teachers to create collaborative documents in real time within a browser window and to store documents in a place that is accessible to everyone in a group.
  • Google Sites—which can include other docs, photos, a Google Calendar, and attachments—can help students keep up with homework, celebrate the class’s accomplishments, and keep everyone on the same page with upcoming events. It can also be used to build project websites. It includes 100 GB of storage
  • Google Video for Education is an image hosting and sharing service for digital video and provides 10 GB of storage.

Google (fortunately) sets different privacy standards for Apps for Education (and it’s actually too bad that they don’t apply the same standards for all users of Google products). Nevertheless, you should read them yourself. You can find them here: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/privacy.html
Google also does not charge for these services and does not post ads of any kind on them. Schools currently using Google Apps for Education include Brown University, Northwestern University, Trinity College Dublin, the Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada, etc.
Other important information that could help you decide about using Google Apps for Education:

  • Google promises a minimum of 99.9% uptime.
  • K-12 schools and institutions of higher education must be accredited to qualify for a free Google Apps for Education account.
  • Non-profits (501(c)(3) organizations with fewer than 3000 users are eligible for Google Apps for Education. Larger non-profits get a discounted price.
  • Google Message Security is available for free to K-12 schools and districts, but only for a limited time. More information is available here: https://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=151966
  • It takes about 6 weeks to implement a deployment of Google Apps.
  • It is possible to migrate email from existing accounts to Google Apps.
  • It is possible to use an existing school authentication system with Google Apps.
  • In addition to online answers, phone support and priority email support are both offered for Google Apps for Education users, but phone support is limited to certain issues.