Several teachers have commented: Where has Google Apps been all my career? And for many students, Google Apps has resulted in improved learning and engagement.
Edmonton Public Schools (EPS) wanted to extend its innovative programs by providing students and teachers with easy-to-use online collaborative tools. Although the district already offered school-hosted email accounts and client productivity software, access to technology was limited, as was the use of online collaboration tools. Although students could connect to the district’s wireless network, they could not use software or tools without secure VPN access. Teachers were also struggling with different operating systems and software. They wanted to build a cohesive, collaborative learning community, so that students could work more easily with peers, and interact more productively with teachers.
EPS ran a pilot program with Google Apps for Education, then slowly expanded the program. They found that it met and even exceeded their expectations, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Since moving to Google Apps, collaboration has flourished across the district. Students and teachers are blogging about novels, working out math problems with Google Spreadsheets, sharing research projects and surveys using Google Docs, and creating sites with links, pictures, and videos with Google Sites. Google Apps has also solved the issue of dealing with different operating systems and software across mobile devices. Sharing and collecting material is more seamless and efficient for teachers, who are also better able to track homework and assignments. Above all, Google Apps has boosted student creativity and their enthusiasm for learning and collaborating.