Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Google Apps Agreement for Wisconsin Schools

Schools can free up money and staff time while helping students and staff use current technology and collaborate more easily, under a new agreement between the Department of Public Instruction and Google.

Google Apps for Education is a suite of software normally free to schools but requiring a contract. The DPI resolved potential contract issues at the state level so that any public, PK-12 educational institution can use Google Apps via a simple consent form.

Partnering with the department, the CESAs will provide trainings, beginning this summer, both on technical implementation and on using the tools for student learning.

Google Apps' uses include email, document collaboration, closed-loop video sharing, private blogs where students share their work and reflect on their learning, and more.

Housed on Google's servers, the applications let districts reduce maintenance costs associated with existing solutions.

As districts move forward, the DPI expects to negotiate volume discounts from Google for desired add-on elements and services.

After going Google in 2007, Oregon School District "saved tens of thousands of dollars," improved collaboration, and introduced students to up-and-coming technology, says Technology Director Jon Tanner.

Janesville educators use Google Apps to run paperless classrooms and distribute a school newspaper.

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