What is Google Apps?
Google Apps is an interesting tool that can be used in different fields including education. It is a service that provides independently customizable versions of several Google products under a domain name provided by the customer. The following are some of the tools teachers and students can use to maximize learning/teaching: Gmail, talk (IM), groups, calendars, docs, sites, and videos. Among the different uses Google Apps offers to teachers and students are to be able to communicate on real-time and to share documents. For example, by using a couple of clicks, a teacher can share a document with every student in his/her class. Students can jump in and make edits at the same time. Google Apps is also designed to keep your data safe and under your control. All data you put into this Apps is yours and it is automatically saved in the cloud powered by Google servers which makes it easier to access it from anywhere.
Google Apps is a service that allows schools to be part of the educational shift. Educational technology needs to catch up with the digital demands of today, and Google Apps is a useful tool in this unavoidable process. Google Apps possibilities seem to be endless. It provides support to e-learning and online collaboration. Once implemented in the classroom, it increases efficiency, students’ engagement, and collaboration. By using the real-time features, the going back and forth using email is eliminated. When removing time-consuming bottlenecks, teachers and students can spend more time on learning and teaching. Google Apps helps to reduce an organization’s overall expenses and its environmental impact. In addition, Google Apps is powered by Google’s energy-efficient data centers, therefore it’s less energy and carbon-intensive than on premise servers.
The only indirect down side I believe Google Apps has is students’ access from home or other places. I thought about this since I work in a school that serves a socioeconomic disadvantaged population. A significant amount of students do not have access to technology at home. Unfortunately, this situation is not rare, and it becomes a challenge when trying to implement such an effective tool as Google Apps. Even though these challenges are going to rise, I definitely believe Google Apps is worth the hype. I don’t have the answers on how to resolve some of the issues regarding students’ access from home, but I’m pretty sure it will be addressed one way or the other. The 21st century education is inevitably attached to technology and all efforts should point to the implementation of educational technology.