“I forgot my homework at school.”
While a student’s forgetfulness can lead to poor grades, it also can add up to costly materials littering the bottom of a crammed locker. This has been an issue with my little brother in the past, as his “forgetfulness” will get the better of him at the end of the school day.
Paper cost and waste is a problem plaguing every school district. Yet in spite of this, school administrators are slow to implement technological advances because of high upfront charges and the uncertainty that comes with switching to a new product. New computers, school administration software, and other educational tools represent risks to a lot of school administrators.
But there are some schools that are taking the plunge — and the results are tremendous for everyone involved. For example, thanks to efforts made by my brother’s school to adopt Google Apps for Education into their system, he no longer has the excuse of “forgetting homework.” And such a small change is a relief to teachers and students alike—in my brother’s case, my family no longer has to worry about gluing his assignments to his body before he leaves home for the day.
New online systems make any assignment available from anywhere. All a student needs is an internet-accessible device to get the homework uploaded earlier by their teacher. Embracing technology both opens the doors of efficiency and provides a buffer against the costly black hole of the average middle school student’s locker.
Google Apps for Education is a cloud-based software system, similar to the one my brother’s school adopted, which allows streamlining and collaboration between students and teachers by digitizing many traditional assignments.
If your school has not yet,” here are four good reasons to get on board with Google Apps for Education and revolutionize your school’s educational experience.
Anyone who has been through the public education system knows there is never enough money to satisfy all the needs of administrators, teachers, and students. Unfortunately for public schools, they are not run by John Hammond and cannot afford to “spare no expense.”
Luckily, Google can help schools cut costs without sacrificing educational quality.
This is because Google Apps for Education is completely free for nonprofits and educational institutions.
An individual school spends anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 a year on paper alone. Google Apps for Education can slash that dramatically by transitioning teachers to a less paper-dependent system. Teachers and school administrators can assign work, keep in contact with students and parents, and conduct presentations all without the use of paper. With universal access from any internet-capable device, students and teachers can engage without the waste of paper fossilizing at the bottom of lockers and book bags.
All options in the Google suite, such as Docs and Slides, are integrated with Google Apps for Education and provide students and instructors with the ability to openly collaborate, comment, and ask questions on assignments, lessons, and projects.
When I was younger there was nothing worse than being stuck on a specific homework assignment because I was confused with some part of the work. The convenience of being able to ask the teacher questions online erases that uncertainty and gets students the help they need when they need it.
Adding to the convenience of the tool, Google Apps for Education has a mobile “Classroom” app which allows instructors to create and post assignments that students can access.
These features even allow for homebound instruction, rendering the days of sending friends to gather assignments from teachers a thing of the past.
And the kicker? Teachers only need to take minutes to set up their classroom — without bothering the IT department.
2. 24/7 Help and Support
With all this additional technology, and classroom availability, surely the maintenance and and support for Google Apps for Education must be massive and daunting, right?
Not only is Google fully prepared with their own Google Experts to assist in training your IT and faculty, but they also provide 24/7 support to all of their users. With Google offering both Fundamentals Training as well as Advanced Training, you can be sure your staff will be well prepared to use this new software in the classroom.
The Fundamentals Training, in addition to the basics, walks teachers through the transition to a “mostly paperless classroom.”
With Google Apps for Education, the vast majority of maintenance, patch work, and system support is handled by Google itself, rather than the school. This leaves more time and hands free to deal with any tech and education issues onsite.
Rather than having to depend on busy local IT staff, teachers can simply reach out to Google’s team by email or phone to have major issues resolved within 24 hours.
Even with all of the support available to its users, Google boasts a 99.9% uptime, leaving very little room for error on their end and ensuring your tools will work when you need them.
3. Time Saved
For all students, teachers, and administrators, time is a valuable resource that everyone always seems to be running short on.
Luckily, Google promises to its customers an average of 52 teacher hours saved per year using its education systems, leaving more time to spend on quality lesson planning, lesson implementation, and collaboration with students.
If your school hasn’t begun looking into or implementing these programs, now is a good time to start. With almost 100,000 public schools in the United States, an average cost-per-student of $6,704, and only 528 schools currently using Google Apps for Education, our education system could certainly use this upgrade to a more modern and efficient system.
The technology is there, free, and widely available. Schools just have to adopt it.
Has your school been introducing Google or other cloud-based software to your teaching and administration systems? Let us know how it has been working out for you in the comments below!
Images by Abby Kahler