Many people have asked just how can you obtain a Google Apps for Education account. The first step is your school must order an account for the education institution’s domain. It must be an .edu domain name, and the school must be listed as a non-profit. Other non-profits can get a Google Apps for Education account, but it’s not an education account as the education accounts contain Google Classroom.
Normally the person who will sign up for an Education account with Google will be the school’s IT staff. They are the only ones who can create the process as there must be some technical changes made to the school’s domain to ensure the person requesting the Google Apps for Education Account is a representative for the school. This protects you as it prevents just anyone from hijacking your domain account
Google Apps for Education
There are several apps associated with the Google Apps for Education accounts, and they include:
- Google Classroom – This is pretty much a full-fledged Learning Management solution. You can create classes, assignments, tests and other items you would expect to have to deliver online instruction. There is also an app, named Open Online Education that helps you plan out your course to make sure you are using the features in Google Classroom
- Mail – This is self-explanatory its Gmail for your campus. You can offer the email to your Students, Faculty, and Staff. Your IT staff will need to develop scripts to create and keep accounts in synchronization between Google Apps and your student information system.
- Google Drive – This allows you to store your files, for the other apps, listed below. As well as any other files you may want to save and share with students. The amount of space available is limited to your domain quotas, but additional space can be purchased as required.
- Google Forms – This is a subset of Google Drive, which allows you to create surveys, tests, and other forms where you may need to capture data from someone. This is one of the most useful features of Google Apps.
- Google Calendar – A calendar o keep track of your important dates.
- Google Vault – This is an archiving solution only available with the Google Apps for Education accounts and other business accounts. It’s very useful to maintain compliance with e-discovery type requests your school may receive
- Google Docs – Think Microsoft Word, well not quite, but it’s still very helpful and fully compatible with documents created in other document processing applications
- Google Sheets – Has a lot of the features of Excel, but if you are a power Excel user, you will find the formulas and features lacking, but for simple spreadsheets its quite useful
- Google Slides – Lets you put together presentations. A lot like PowerPoint
- Google Sites – This allows you to create small websites on the fly. It’s very easy to use. It’s a lot like the Sharepoint features in Office 365. There has been a lot of chatter that Google may be returning this application sometime in the future.
If you have a Google account now, you will notice a lot of these items you already have. In fact, except for the Google classrooms functionality, you can get all the other features just by signing up for a Google account. You can also get a feel for how the Apps Domain feature works by signing up for a Google Apps for a business account as it’s the same interface. They have different versions some of which coast money, but you can sign up fro free with limited functionality. Last time I checked you could have several accounts for free and for a small company you may even use the Google Apps for domains as your primary email and provide email to your employees based on your domain name.
Google Apps for Education is a great suite of applications, and many educational institutions can enhance their offering to students for a very affordable price. Free for non-profit educational institutions. So get started with your Google Apps for Education training today. It will take a while to plan your move to Google apps properly, but it will be time well spent.