What is Google Apps for Education?
Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is an integrated communication and collaboration solution, hosted by Google and managed by Walled Lake Schools. GAFE collaboration tools will make it possible for students to work together in a digital environment on assignments and projects via the web, all within a secure “closed system” online environment. Google Apps for Education provides an online storage space for files, eliminating the need for flash drives between home and school, and allows for electronic submission of assignments directly to the classroom teacher. Instructional integration of digital tools and online collaboration is part of the new Common Core State Standards, adopted by the state of Michigan. Additionally, the applications and features of GAFE provide us with a framework for embedding the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) within the core subject areas.
GAFE is made up of a suite of free online applications. These applications do not reside on the computer, itself, but rather they are accessed through a web browser. This is considered working in the "cloud". The benefit of this structure allows flexibility in accessing documents and projects from ANY computer or mobile device with Internet access. Staff and students can access their school documents from the lab, the classroom, the public library and from home.
Walled Lake Schools GAFE domain is set up so that students cannot share files and send/receive email to/from the public. File sharing and email correspondence can only occur with Walled Lake Schools’ teachers and students.
How much is Walled Lake paying for this?
Google Apps for Education is free. Google offers its services free to all public schools.
What if I don’t have a computer. How is my child going to get to use it?
The use of GAFE is part of Walled Lake Schools’ teachers instructional practices. Students have many opportunities to work in their Google Apps account during the school day. Because Google Apps for Education is safe and web based, it can be accessed from computers at the public library or from other places where the Internet is available using a computer or mobile device with a browser.
How will my child access Google Apps for Education?
With teacher guidance, students will learn how to access their GAFE account at school. Students log in by going to http://www.google.com and clicking the Sign In button. The student will use his or her full GAFE email address (ie AB1234567@students.wlcsd.org) and password (ie A123wlcs).
Why can’t my child e-mail me with this account?
Google Apps is a “closed system.” It will not allow students to send or receive email outside of the Walled Lake Schools Google Apps domain. You will not be able to email your student at his or her gmail address, nor will they be able to email you.
Do these apps work on an iPad or other tablet?
GAFE can be used with any Internet connected mobile device with a browser. However, we have found that not all features are available using when using a tablet.
What is a Chromebook? Does it work well with GAFE?
A Chromebook is a personal computer running Chrome as its operating system. They must be connected to the Internet in order to function. Chromebooks can run web-based applications only. They boot up quickly, are less expensive than traditional laptops, have a long battery life, and do not get viruses. Chromebooks have been used in the Walled Lake Schools for a few years and feedback from teachers and students has been positive. Google Apps for Education works very well on Chromebooks.
Are there advertisements on Google Apps for Education like there are in Gmail?
No, all advertisements are turned off for schools using Google Apps for Education. Google does not collect information from GAFE users for use in advertising.
Online security – How protected is my student from outside people?
What student information does Google have?
Even though Google is not charging a fee for their services, they have contracted to provide online data storage and use of Google Apps and to keep all data confidential. Google also agrees not to use confidential information for any purpose related to Google Ads. All Google advertising is turned off for Google education domains by default. Google continues to adjust safety features as the need arises. For more information about student privacy in Google Apps for Education, please visit their website.
Does Google have access to the files in my child’s account?
The Google Apps Terms of Service agreement with Walled Lake Schools contractually ensures that our institution (students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data. Google will only access content stored on Apps when an administrator from Walled Lake Schools grants Google explicit permission to do so. One example would be to investigate inappropriate use.
Does my child retain copyright of their creations?
Google Apps for Education users own their data, not Google. The data schools and students put into GAFE is theirs.
What protection will Walled Lake Schools provide so that my child is not accessing inappropriate content on the web?
There are no advertisements used with Google Apps for Education. GAFE is an online collaboration tool that is accessed using a web browser and requires a login and password. While logged in and accessing the web from while at school, all web access is subject or our district web filter (iboss) which blocks inappropriate content. Activity on the internet is filtered throughout the entire district and cannot be circumvented in any way. All connections to the Internet are reviewed on a daily basis for appropriateness.
Is student email safe?
Email is available to students beginning in grade 5. All student email accounts are filtered to only send and receive within our district domain. It's safer for students to learn how to use email on our school domain where we can offer protection and guidance.
What will prevent students from using GAFE to send inappropriate information or bullying each other?
Even without the advantages afforded by technology, students can say mean things, write nasty notes and act like bullies on the playground. They can do the same things using Google Apps but because their email is archived they cannot cover up their tracks by simply deleting emails or claiming that an email was forged. GAFE includes a feature to see revision history (who and when revisions to documents were made). The use of GAFE combined with mail archiving allows us to hold students accountable for their online behavior. This lets us provide the advantages these tools offer to almost all students who will use them appropriately and respond effectively to those who don’t.
What Chrome apps and extensions are available and how can I expect my child’s teacher to use them?
Walled Lake Schools GAFE will provide students with secure and easy online access to documents, spreadsheet, presentation and communication tools that can be accessed easily from home or school and enhance teacher and student collaboration in the classroom and beyond.
Teachers can use GAFE to facilitate group projects and use the revision history tool to see the level of participation of each student in a group. Teachers will be able to give feedback to students directly in documents shared with a teacher. Turning in assignments will be as easy as sharing files with the teacher, or by emailing it to the teacher through the student’s Walled Lake Schools Google Apps eMail account.
In addition to the basic productivity suite (Documents, Presentation, Spreadsheet, Gmail, Calendar), there are Chrome apps and extensions that are available from the Chrome web store and can be used with GAFE. Google Apps for Education allows school districts to manage Chrome apps and extensions for teachers and students. Apps and extensions are available when logged onto a WL Google Account. Not all Chrome apps, extensions, and add-ons that exist have been made available within Walled Lake’s GAFE system due to privacy and security concerns that cannot be monitored. A process is in place for teachers to recommend Chrome apps and extensions; these apps are added to the district “approved” list after a review for educational merit and a check of user and privacy agreements.
Can you prevent another student from deleting a shared file?
The owner is the only person who can permanently delete a document. Once a document is deleted, no one can access it, including those with whom it was shared.
How will the use of GAFE be reflected in a student’s grade?
The use of GAFE will not in itself impact grades. Consult with your child’s teacher/s about individual class requirements.
What is the difference between Google Apps and Chrome Apps?
Google Apps are part of the GAFE package and are primarily a productivity suite (Documents, Presentation, Spreadsheet, Gmail, Calendar, etc.) similar to Microsoft Office. These products are created and updated by Google. Within the Walled Lake GAFE system, products created in these applications can be shared amongst other members of Walled Lake’s system. A Chrome App, however, compliments the GAFE system, but does not necessarily offer the same collaboration piece that Google Apps have. These are usually created by a third-party programmer and ask for permission to use elements of the Google Apps. Additionally, some Chrome Apps have paid components components available outside a basic free access, but students are not required, expected, or even encouraged to subscribe to any of these premium services. All Chrome Apps available within the Walled Lake GAFE environment have been screened by district personnel and examined for their policies. No Chrome App or extension is made available within the Walled Lake system for use until it has undergone this screening. Additional information can be found here.
How is the integrity of my child’s work protected in a collaborative project?
Within a shared Google App, all revision histories are maintained and can be viewed and/or restored at any point. A teacher or a student can view the revisions as well the contributions by each member at any point.
Are there any policies in place related to GAFE?