Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Google Apps Reprise

Why Google Apps?

Google Apps Quick Tour

What Students Think of Google Apps

Question: Are there any reasons that K-12 schools should not use Google Apps?


Ed Latham said...

by Ed Latham

I have been using Google apps in my trainings with teachers and in collaboration with trainers around the state. It is so convenient to be able get to my work no matter where I am or what hardware I have access to. As long as I can get to the web, I have my files. They have even added some offline applications that let you work on your google doc applications when you are not online which is awesome especially for kids that may not have Internet access at home. There are a few quirks in that offline system, but many who have tried it have reported good things for something that is still in the implementation stage.

I have always complained that major computer corporations use students for 12 years of corporate advertising (use of the product being required in classes) and the school systems still have to pay for the products? If this is not double dipping at education's expense I don't know what is. Not only do they get the money from the software (of course they will claim at huge discounted prices for education) for each user for 12 years, they are also supporting the conditioning of students to use the product after they leave school. It does not matter if the product is hardware or software. If I use a product for 12, impressionable years, I am very likely to go out and get those same products when I am off on my own and yet schools still pay for this?

I highly support cloud applications like Google Doc and ZOHO for educational purposes. I would encourage any educator that is thinking about using either tool to contact me if they would like someone to help them transition away from the corporate sale per seat model to the cloud model. I am sure the cloud companies will make some money eventually on this model, but for right now most of their profits are from advertising and extended features that most education settings don't need yet. Even if a school determined they want the extra features, the prices are still so much less than purchasing the core software everyone feels they have to have in the classroom. I have heard some claim that the expense on "traditional" software is justified because of the support available. Those of you who read this blog often know just how quickly people can respond to problems that are just talked about online, never mind the ones that are actually reported. Last year I blogged here about how nice ZOHO was but added there were a few "adjustments". One of the lead developers immediately jumped on that and other issues I mentioned and "got er done". Try that with a major corporation that cranks out the next version of the software when the profit margin dictates a new release is due. Just my thoughts, I welcome questions and comments you may have.

Sarah Sutter said...

Well said Ed! Web based, cross platform, free/open source apps are definitely the wave to be on. The responsiveness of some of the developers for things like ZOHO and Diigo, Voicethread and others is just amazing - they react to the needs of the community using the tools very quickly.