Why Google? From ORVSD:
Use of the Google Suite and similar tool sets in educational settings is not new or unique but it is imperative. Students today and forever in the future need to learn to collaborate, manage their behavior in online settings, and practice safe and secure attitudes online and tools like those included in the Google Suite help them learn and practice this. Students in Oregon and all over the globe need to be forming and exercising good online habits from a very young age.
Access and Ease of Use
It is important now more than ever, for schools to augment instruction in the use and utilization of online applications to make sure students have the skills necessary to survive in a digital environment. Because there are age appropriate uses of the internet at all grade levels we must keep access for all students and teach them to think and work within the parameters. If these tools are blocked for one group of students they will be blocked for all making it impossible for educators to teach and practice under conditions so essential to college and career readiness today. Though under the statewide contract, districts can manage tools for their students, it is recommended that all facets of the Google Suite are left open so access is granted for everyone. Districts should treat fear and unfamiliarity with training for both teachers and parents rather than creating barriers. Obstacles to these tools will only isolate students and when they finally have access they will not have the skills to effectively employ these tools crippling them in both higher education and the modern day workplace.
Application of Google and other online tools isn't new education in Oregon. Innovative teachers who care deeply about students and their futures in the 21st century have enlisted digital tools since their inception. In attempting to keep with the homeland security and child protection laws in the United States teachers have had a difficult time logistically when using online tools even outside the Google Suite. They have been forced to be creative in regards to the settings and arrangements on these accounts. The statewide contract with Google eases this burden for educators around the state allowing them to focus again on which they are truly gifted: Instruction in critical thinking and problem solving. Rather than worrying about how to set up these accounts in order to give students maximum access while keeping them safe teachers can simply utilize these tools for instruction.
To be very clear, under the Google/Oregon agreement, the targeted advertising present in other iterations of Google Apps is turned off by default. Education around the ubiquitous advertising on the Internet is a very important part of becoming information literate. Students, parents and teachers should take part in training around understanding how and when vendors are using the Internet to covertly and overtly promote products. Though students won't see the normally overt advertising in their instances of Google, there are many other methods for advertising online to minors. Districts are encouraged to repeatedly point out this type of sponsorship to students in an age-appropriate manner. Covert advertising is simply part of being a member of the 21st century society.
On data mining - COPPA
Google agreed to FERPA requirements and to the status of "school official" where appropriate. Oregon retained its responsibilities under COPPA for student protections.
To be clear, COPPA states clearly that advertisers cannot collect information from children under the age of 13 without parent consent. This law has nothing to do with children being advertised to.
The state of Oregon will delegate the administrative functions to each district. The services meet federal requirements only if operated correctly by the district. The control of the data currently and in the future is up to the administration in each district. That is and will remain true under the Google contract if you run services from a server in your machine room or have someone else do it. Moving to the statewide Google contract does not absolve the district from following proper guidelines in relation to data collection and storage of information.
Archiving will remain a district responsibility. As districts begin tackling this issue through the suite offered through the statewide contract with Oregon, there is no law saying children cannot have access to email or chat. Google and other online applications are simply tools for learning. Equate them to a piece of paper or a pencil. These tools give students venues for practicing what they've learned, to store information, and to share their learning with broader audiences. In order for students to learn all they need to know about information literacy and citizenship they will need to be exposed to digital environments from a very young age. Blocking students from any of the Google tools will only make it more difficult for the innovators in education.
We're not making any formal recommendations as policies vary greatly from district to district. We're happy to provide assistance in getting the domain set up, but choosing the solution that best fits your district's policies is up to you. The Postini archiving service is not part of the agreement. Postini’s service is available as an add-on from Google at a discount. It is not mandatory to purchase the archiving add-on to maintain compliance with archiving policies, as there are several ways that archiving may be done that do not depend on the Postini service.
What's in the Google Suite and what can I do with it?
The features offered through Google are updated frequently. As this is written, the following features are available in Oregon's version of Google Apps. These apps are considered above the fold (you’ll understand the reference if you look at available services in your control panel). The above the fold services are covered under the ODE/Google contract.
- Gmail – Get 10GB of storage, protect against spam and viruses, built-in instant messaging, voice and video chat, IMAP and POP message access, and more.
- Google Calendar – Share calendars and schedule people, groups, rooms and resources easily.
- Google Talk – Free instant messaging, calling (VOIP), voicemail and file transfer.
- Google Message Security- Email filtering for inbound and outbound messages. Postini also include predefined and customizable filters for email. Archiving services on a per mailbox basis are available at a cost. The Oregon contract does not include any kind of archiving of messages for free at this point in time. There is a free solution in pilot.
- Google Drive & Docs – Create and share a variety of online documents, from word processing and spreadsheets to forms and presentations. Google Docs works with any operating systems or client software your students or faculty use.
- Easily import or export traditional file formats into Apps.
- View docs on the go with any web-enabled mobile device.
- Publish files to the web for anywhere, anytime access.
- Edit and view content simultaneously with documents hosted online - no more version tracking or emailing attachments.
- Set privacy levels for who can view and edit documents.
- Google Spreadsheets - Easily gather data into a Google Spreadsheet using simple but powerful Forms.
- Prioritize group opinions and questions using Google Moderator.
- Customize document templates or your campus in Google Docs.
- Create descriptive URL shortcuts using Google Short Links.
- Google Video – Securely share 10GB worth of videos that anyone can comment on, tag and rate.
- Google Sites – Effortlessly build shared websites that include videos, images, gadgets and documents.
- Google Groups – Students and faculty can create their own moderated forums and mailing lists featuring strong sharing and management controls
What are the key benefits?
- Easier calendar sharing — Google Calendar lets you and your team quickly and easily share your calendars with each other and specify the details you want to show. Calendar sharing is a great way to keep each other informed about your schedules. Now it's easier than ever to find out if someone is in a meeting, on a business trip, or on vacation.
- Integrated chat — With the Google Talk instant messaging application, you can communicate instantly with other people in our organization right from the Gmail interface. In addition, all your chats are automatically saved, so you can always retrieve important information later.
- Real-time collaboration — Using Google Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and more, that you and your team can view and edit at the same time. You can still use your Office 365 products as needed, but now you'll have more options for storing and collaborating on your documents.
- Easy-to-build team web sites — With Google Sites, your team has the ability to quickly publish a robust internal web site on which to gather all sorts of shared information, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, files, and videos. You can even embed Google calendars, discussion forums, and other gadgets on your site!
- Powerful video sharing — Using Google Video for business, you can easily share videos with your team or throughout our organization for a whole new level of communication and collaboration.
*Find more information about Google for Education security and services here.*
*See a PPS and Google Apps for Education slidedeck presentation here.*