In school year 2011 Oak Hills made a full transition to Google Apps for Education (GAFE). In addition to an administrative role (I was an administrator of our GAFE account), I was part of a team that provided a considerable amount of training to district staff.
What is Google Apps for Education?
Why Move to Google Apps for Education?
While there were a number of reasons, three principle advantages were pretty clear.
Anywhere, Any Device
Because we are a BYOD district, we needed cloud based productivity tools that worked on any device. Google Apps works on computers, tablets, and smartphones regardless of their operating system.
Real Time Collaboration
Students and staff can collaborate in real time on one project. No more emailing files back and forth and wondering if you had the most recent version. Group projects are more productive as everyone contributes at the same time.
Google Apps for Education is free. Microsoft Office is not. Our district saved a considerable amount of money with the switch.
The Transition Plan
A transition team worked to develop a implementation plan for the district. The full transition plan, including responsibilities, can be found here:
Google Apps first served as an answer to a need in the classroom, but in my new position as eLearning Course Developer is has proven a critical tool in accomplishing my job. Having the ability to simultaneously work on projects with a diverse group in real time is incredibly valuable.