18 March 2008
We’ve reached the last of our questions put to Google. In our final question, Sinclair Mackenzie, a Physics Teacher from Thurso High School, asks about the internet safety aspects of using Google Education Apps in schools.
A recent BBC Panorama programme highlighted children’s lack of awareness regarding safe use of the internet. I have also found that school management are reluctant to give permission for online collaboration activities such as Google Apps or wikis. This was echoed in discussions over a recent GTCS consultation document. What actions are Google taking to allay the fears of parents and educators with respect to internet safety? – Sinclair Mackenzie
Google takes internet safety issues very seriously – after all the internet is at the core of everything we do. In general, hosted software is extremely reliable, safe, and secure and we have multiple and extensive safeguards in place to protect our users’ data.
We understand that each school needs to make its own decision about the systems that it makes available to its students but we have found that most schools take a very pragmatic approach to providing their pupils with this kind of technology. The overwhelming feedback has been that using online communication and collaboration tools has been extremely useful in improving communication and working practices both amongst students and teachers and parents and teachers.
17 March 2008
In our penultimate question to the UK Google Education Apps team, Doug Belshaw had a question about Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).
“As many of Google’s products form the basics of a VLE, will Google be officially entering a targeted VLE solution over and above Google Apps for Education?” – Doug Belshaw
Currently we have no plans to develop a Virtual Learning Environment solution but we have found that many schools and universities are very successfully using Google Apps communication and collaboration tools alongside their existing VLE.
14 March 2008
We had a tweet from Joan Badger, co-presenter of the Smartboard Lessons Podcast. Joan’s question was “I love Page Creator! Any chance on getting a table feature? (also, I’d like to work for Google! lol)”
Great! We love Page Creator too and we’re glad you’re such a fan – we’ll let the Page Creator team know about your request.
13 March 2008
Carolyn Foote is a librarian at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas She used Twitter to pass her question to the EdTechRoundUp team.
“Why are Google Apps for students over 17/18 as per the sign up agreement–many useful features for younger students?” – Carolyn Foote
Students of any age can have access to Google Apps, it is at the discretion of the school who they want to allow to use these services.
12 March 2008
DK from Mediasnackers got in touch with us through Twitter. He suggested we ask Google the following;
“Why focus just on education, surely these online tools can be used in the charitable, youth-work, voluntary sectors?”
Google replied:Great point – this is a view we share too! That’s why there are three versions of Google Apps – Standard Edition (free for all businesses and organisations), Premier Edition (£25 per month with support and more email storage) and Apps for Education (all the advantages of Premier Edition for free to the academic sector). As mentioned, Apps Standard Edition is free and this is an excellent tool for charities and the voluntary sector to supply essential communication tools such as email, calendar and documents to organisations that otherwise might not be able to afford it.
11 March 2008
On day 10 of our series of answers from the UK Google Education Apps team we feature a question asked by Dave Stacey who teaches History at Olchfa School. He asked “Are you considering creating two tiers of user as quite a few schools have requested, one for students and one for teachers?”
The flexibility of Google Apps means that both students and teachers alike can use the product in the way that most suits their individual requirements. So, for example, we’ve seen that Google Talk is used by both students and teachers to answer homework queries and Google Calendar is used by teachers to share inter-departmental meetings and for students to be able to find out what’s going on throughout their school term. Equally, Google Docs allows you to control who you invite to view and collaborate on a document or presentation so that teachers can keep documents confidential if they need to. In this way, students and teachers should be able to tailor their use of Apps to reflect their own needs.
Today a school can choose if they want to offer different services to students and teachers by registering two separate domains. It is our belief, however, that to truly capitalise on the collaborative aspects of Google Apps (eg. homework) teachers and students should both have access to the same services.
10 March 2008
This is day 9 in our series of 15 days of Google answers. Neil Winton, Principal Teacher of English at Perth Academy (that’s Perth in Scotland, not the Australian one) wanted to know “How does Google Earth decide which areas are to have their imagery updated and the resolution improved? (And how often does this happen?)” – that’s two questions, Neil!
We work with a number of satellite imagery partners from around the world who provide us with the amazing imagery in Google Earth and we update that imagery in Google Earth on an ongoing basis, depending on when it is available to us. If you want to be kept in the loop about new updates to areas around the globe then check out the Lat Long blog here: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/
7 March 2008
Our question for day 8 was set by Darren Kuropatwa, a Maths teacher in Winnipeg, Canada. Darren asked “Will Google be hiring educators to help develop pedagogically sound practices and models of practice?“
We’re actually working with UK teachers already, in fact they helped us create the lesson plans that are featured on our Google UK school website and which apply to various key stages. Of course if you have suggestions about other practices, or things we can do to improve the schools website as a resource for teachers then please join the discussion group and let us know. You can find the school site here: google.co.uk/schools
6 March 2008
Doug Belshaw asked a question about Google Presentations. Doug teaches History at Ridgewood School in Doncaster.
“What do Google Presentations offer that Slideshare, etc. does not?” – Doug Belshaw
There are lots of great products out there on the web which ultimately means more choice – this can only be a good thing. Our aim with the presentation feature of Google Docs has been to take the functionality that people use most often and turn it into a product that is simple and easy to use. The main benefit is that you can create, edit and share presentations with a number of people simultaneously, which eliminates having to email the document backwards and forwards and losing track of which version you are working to. Equally, the size of some presentation files can be quite big so a simple link to access the document is much easier than trying (and failing) to email around a large file. We launched presentations in Google Docs in response to strong user demand for presentation-sharing but updates and improvements will continue to roll out over the coming months. Again we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our tools and we welcome your feedback.
5 March 2008
Today we have another question from Dave Stacey from Olchfa School.
“Why are there differences between iGoogle and the personalised front page?” – Dave Stacey
The needs of the education sector are slightly different to the needs of the consumer, hence the difference. However the you can personalise tha start page and add tools and gadgets to reflect individual activities and jobs. We’re certainly interested to hear from people about their use of iGoogle and the start page and what they would like incorporating into both.