This is a guest post from Jesse Langley.

Whether you are a student of traditional schools or online schools, your use of technology grows with the growth of technology. The use of personal computers has made it easier for students to get their work done as well as keep up with the news. Now universities themselves are stepping further into the tech world with the creation of Google Apps for Education.  But these new technologies are accompanied by new concerns. Universities have been incorporating online tools for a while—most students are familiar with blackboard software used to keep in touch with teachers and classmates as well as to join the conversation in class specific forums.  Google has joined the fray with a couple of familiar apps that should make online training and traditional learning easier and safer.

There are a few downsides to Google Apps for Education, though, that haven’t been completely worked through.  When many students transfer or graduate, their student Gmail accounts are frequently deleted.  Since all of the following Google Apps are linked to their log-in, all of the work and projects they’ve finished could disappear.  Additionally, privacy issues are always fraught with controversy when schools adopt new technologies.  These issues will likely be addressed at some point.  New technologies always raise concerns initially.  In spite of these concerns, schools that use Google Apps for Education seem to have experienced no real problems so far.

Google assures that security and privacy are two of the many issues they dealt with when creating the suite for schools. There are no ads being sent through the optional Gmail accounts to students and teachers. Google also has a full team of experts who monitor all issues dealing with information, application and network security. All applications undergo routine checkups to make sure they are secure and running smoothly. Google Apps work hard on its security as well as keeping the system open for school administrators to integrate it into their existing IT platforms.

Below are the Google Education Apps. All apps are free to students and faculty and many of them will be very familiar to both:

  • Gmail for Education is a spin on the popular email service. Gmail for Education is fully customizable for every school; they can add their logo, school colors and even domain name. The service comes with 25 GB of storage and an advanced spam filter. Gmail for Education also features IM and voice and video chat.
  • Google Docs is a great application for collaboration—something that many teachers and students have been waiting for. Students are able to do group projects more easily. It also is a big hit with teachers and has been incorporated into many of their classes for classwork.
  • Google Sites is an application that allows students or teachers to create websites for classes or teams for quick information sharing. Google Sites is also able to take Google Doc files and Google Calendar files and incorporate them onto the site.
  • Google Video is an application that allows users to share videos to group members and teachers. The videos can be class projects or simple messages to classmates.
  • Google Talk is an instant message application that also has video and voice messaging.
  • Google Calendar is another collaboration application that allows students and teachers to update important dates for tests and due dates. Students can also share amongst other students or group members dates that matter to them.

Google Apps for Education has created a very feasible system that helps students and teachers in their classes. The tools make it easier for students to collaborate with each other and to keep in touch with their teachers, and the ability for administrators to customize certain functions allows schools to keep their identity. All in all Google Apps for Education has raised the bar for academic excellence amongst the online community.

This is a guest post from Jesse Langley. Jesse lives near Chicago with his family of four. He works as an IT consultant and writes for Technected.

 

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