How Google Apps for Education Is Helping Higher Ed Institutions

Google Apps for Education is giving higher education institutions a chance to take advantage of their products, including e-mail and Google Docs, for free. The goal of these apps is to help increase communication and promote collaboration on campuses.

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What Google Apps Has to Offer

Described as an 'integrated communication and collaboration solution,' Google Apps for Education is already being used by schools like Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame. One feature that the program offers is Google's Gmail, which includes an instant message feature if schools decide to have chat activated. Users can also create different mailing lists using Google Groups to help make sending communications to particular groups of people easier. For instance, professors can create lists for each class they teach so they can more easily send out mass messages to a particular class.

Through Google Docs, users can share and edit documents and use a commenting aid. Settings also allow schools or professors to set privacy levels so only certain individuals can view and/or edit the document. Web pages, such as for classes or student organizations, can also be created through Google Sites.

Google assures schools that all of the information is kept private and secure. It also notes that it provides customer support, meaning schools won't have to feel lost as they begin to implement Google Apps for Education or as questions come up in the future.

Why It's Good for College and Universities

Probably one of the main factors for colleges and universities to consider when deciding to use Google Apps for Education is that it is free for qualifying institutions. Schools will be able to take advantage of the many different features without having to find money in their budgets to pay for it. In fact, schools might even be able to save money that they would typically have to spend on creating and maintaining things like e-mail systems.

Google also explains that using its products helps schools use their time better. Instead of using time and resources to maintain these communication systems, colleges and universities can use the time to handle other aspects of running their schools.

Google Apps for Education can also help educators further integrate technology into their classrooms. Professors might be able to create special Web pages for their classes using Google Sites, which could be a way to keep students informed or create additional opportunities for student discussions. Additionally, Google Documents could make it easier for students to collaborate on group projects.

These aren't the only educational services offered by Google. Check out the Google Art Project.

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