Pros and Cons

Google Apps, Education Edition

  • FREE
  • All available tools are integrated
  • Access to specific tools managed by school administrator (ie, deny access to email, chat)
  • Administrators can assign user names and passwords and grant/limit access.
  • Can limit access to own domain
  • Access tools from school or home
  • Consistent platform for productivity tools
  • Updated:  Not limited to Email, Docs/Spreadsheets, Sites, Calendar, Mobile, Wave, Groups, Chat, Start Page, and Contacts -- but other services are not fully supported
  • Encourages collaboration among faculty & students - especially if using same domain for email (easy to remember).
  • Your administrator can add additional services from Google Enterprise partners that have developed tools exclusively to use with Google Apps (such as EasyBib, Aviary, BrainPop, etc)
  • Schools have used with students under 13* if they create AUP consent form, sent home to parents, and returned to indicate they accept (or not)
    their child (under 13) using Google Apps.
  • Google Docs Does Not Violate CIPA (or COPPA*)

*When offering online services to children under 13, schools must be cognizant of Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  COPPA is a regulation that requires parental consent for the online collection of information about users under 13.  Per the Google Apps Education Edition Agreement, any school administering Google Apps Education Edition acknowledges and agrees that it is solely responsible for compliance with COPPA, including, but not limited to, obtaining parental consent concerning collection of students' personal information used in connection with the provisioning and use of the Services by the Customer and End Users.

  • Must have dedicated Domain for application
  • New features are not integrated right away (ie, themes)
  • Must have reliable Internet access; occassionally have access issues if too many people are trying to edit a document at the same time
  • Concerns about privacy and information being stored on Google's servers.
  • Must lock Start page/ Sites to prevent student access to inappropriate widgets
  • Sample Start page
Google Tools and Products

  • FREE
  • All tools are integrated
  • Access to ALL Google tools (ie, Reader, Maps, Blogger, etc)
  • Can use ANY email - not limited to Gmail
  • New features and products are released often (Google Labs)
  • Allows for personalizaton - like a custom iGoogle page
  • Access tools from school or home
  • Consistent platform for productivity tools
  • Free storage: Picasa Web Albums offers 1 GB of storage for photos and videos only. Gmail provides 7+ GB (and counting) which is reserved just for Gmail messages. Docs gives you 1 GB for everything: all of your docs, spreadsheets, presentations, and uploaded files.

  • Requires a Google account
  • Must be 13
  • Students can forget passwords or change email anytime - school has no control.
  • May need phone number for new Google account verification (this is problem when one IP address requests several accounts)
  • Access to inappropriate widgets on iGoogle and Sites
  • Must have reliable Internet access (unless you use Google Gears - A Firefox and Internet Explorer extension that allows to navigate on compatible websites offline and synchronize when going back online).
  • Concerns about privacy and information being stored on Google's servers.