At St Joseph’s, we have made use of GSuite for Education for Teachers, but have rolled it out to all students. This means that students receive an @maristsj.co.za email address. This gives them access to all the tools that G Suite has to offer.
What is GSuite for Education?
It is an integrated communication and collaboration solution, hosted by Google and managed by us. This robust service provides the ability for students and staff to communicate, store files, and collaborate in real time from school or home, all within a secure online environment. Some of the other components are services you are likely familiar with such as Gmail, Drive, and Calendar.
But there is so much more available to us as an Educational institution. Focusing on collaboration, Google provides services such as Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and so much more.
What is Google Classroom?
It is a blended learning platform for schools that aims to simplify creating content, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way, helps you keep classes organised, and improves communication with students.
Why are we utilizing this service?
- Google is the leading innovator in the EdTech space.
GSuite for Education is constantly adding new features, updating and innovating and, as it is entirely online, as the new features release they are automatically available. There is no need for us to download and install updates, or pay for a new version.
- GSuite for Education removes compatibility issues.
One of the great struggles for a school can be the large amount of different programs and versions of programs that students may use at home. It is possible for a student to write a document at home in a newer version of a program or a completely different program than what the school has on our computers. This can pose a challenge for the student who needs to open, edit, or share that document when at school. With GSuite for Education, no matter where you are the program is the same. Being entirely web-based, students get the exact same program at school, at home and at the public library and anywhere else.
- GSuite for Education allows for anytime, anywhere access.
GSuite for Education is a web-based program. It simply runs right in your web browser. As long as you have access to the Internet, you have access to GSuite for Education. This means that students can access, edit, create, and share all their GSuite for Education from any computer whether at school or at home or the public library or on vacation at Grandma’s house.
GSuite for Education is also accessible on tablets and smart phones. Being web-based also means that students no longer need to store files on flash drives or other media to transfer documents between school and home. Anything they work on in one location is accessible in another. Of course, students can still export to a flash drive if needed.
- GSuite for Education allows for collaboration and sharing.
Another benefit of being web-based is collaboration. Students and staff can share any of their work with other students or staff as needed. When shared, a file can be read-only or the creator can grant edit access by others. This makes it easy for students to do group projects and all work together on the same document or presentation, with no need to merge separate files together later. Sharing also allows students to turn in their work digitally, saving money by removing the need to print.
- It is more important to teach technology skills than just teaching use of specific programs.
A final thought to consider is just what needs to be taught when it comes to tech skills. Most productivity programs work about the same. For example, if you know how to create a numbered list in Microsoft Word, you will have no problem doing the same thing in Google Docs. The same is true for most productivity tasks. GSuite for Education is an excellent suite of programs for teaching these needed productivity skills that can be used with any program.