Oregon makes Google Apps for Education available statewide

Oregon makes Google Apps for Education available statewide

Summary: Oregon becomes the first state today to offer Google Apps for Education to all of its schools. Adoption is voluntary, but could save more than $1.5 million per year.

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Oregon education officials announced today that it would be the first state in the country to offer Google Apps for Education to all of its K-12 schools. Although adoption at the school level is voluntary, the state is hoping to save $1.5 million each year on email costs. Cost savings, however, are secondary to the goal of providing students and staff with access to state-of-the-art cloud-based communication and collaboration tools.

According to State Schools Superintendent, Susan Castillo,

“Educators and students now have access to the same cutting-edge technology used in the business world with added federal student privacy and confidentiality protections...In a time of dwindling resources, I am grateful for Google’s partnership. Our students have a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the workplace by using workplace technology in the classroom.”

Interestingly, Google and the Oregon Department of Education partnered to create "a unique user agreement that met state legal requirements and provided adequate compliance around federal student records and safety protections." As with Google's Apps provided to schools and businesses elsewhere, schools and districts in Oregon will be able to have their own domain(s), provision roles and capabilities to students and staff, and manage user security with integrated Postini features.

This effort is part of a larger public-private partnership called Accelerate Oregon that has brought funding and technology from Google, Intel, SMART, Cisco, and others together with Oregon schools. The goals for partners include being able to

  • Influence the developing skills of your incoming workforce
  • Build out technology partnerships in our schools
  • Open sales channels and demonstrate corporate social responsibility

Sounds like a win-win to me. Corporate partners get incredible exposure and help build a skilled, modern workforce while schools receive grant funding and technical assistance for everything from SMART board rollouts to Google Apps implementations. As federal and state funding become increasingly dismal, particularly for any schools not willing to buy into Race to the Top, such partnerships between industry and schools will become vital to ensuring access to technology and professional development.

Topics: Apps, CXO, Cloud, Collaboration, Google, IT Employment

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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11 comments
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  • Sounds great! We need to flush MS Office in schools.

    NT
    DonnieBoy
    • Why?

      It's all around better then Google Apps with out a doubt.

      Funny though, as 2 local private schools here are flushing Google Apps after 2 years, going with MS instead.

      They found that even after two years, Google Apps really did "nothing for them" in the sense that they still needed MS Office for it's functionality that Apps couldn't do

      But those people just kept using MSO. If they removed that from their systems, then they would be left trying to find some suitable replacement for it, at which point Apps didn't make any sense at all since it can't do alot of things that MS Office does.
      John Zern
      • No reason to teach obsolete technology in schools, a waste of money and

        student time. The future is formatting for
        viewing documents on a computer screen, and
        sharing online. That is what students need to
        learn.
        DonnieBoy
        • "Obsolete technology"?

          Still haven't any idea of what you're talking about, hey DB?
          John Zern
      • MSO is too expensive, and kinda old school

        Honestly neither is a particularly good choice for everyone.

        MSO is bloated, and too much program for 80% of users who just need a basic word processor, spreadsheet, and perhaps presentation app.

        Google apps gives me the creeps because at some point, they will abandon the "don't be evil" mantra and will be as bad or worse than MS, Apple, Oracle, or <insert oppressive proprietary vendor name here>.

        Making desktop software irrelevant, as well as the desktop OS, is a step in the right direction. This comes about by coding to published standards, NOT de-facto "standards".
        piperdown
      • Why, indeed.

        Why choose one or the other? Why not use both? On
        the one hand, MS Office is the overwhelming choice
        for businesses. On the other, kids are online...
        a lot. Apps takes advantage of their social
        nature and allows students the ability to
        collaborate where they happen to be. The schools'
        job is to ready the student for the workforce and,
        to an extent, life. Schools need to teach both
        traditional office suites and online apps. In the
        "real world", we have choices. Why should school
        be any different?
        Adam S
  • Google thanks you, Oregon,....

    for introducing all those tender young minds to the wonderful
    world of data mining and ubiquitous targeted ads. Enjoy those
    free apps, and thanks for the clicks.
    Userama
    • @Userama

      Actually, the ads are turned off by default for all users under the Oregon
      agreement.
      gchaix
      • But.....

        when those kids get out in the real world, they will be much more
        likely to become Google app users, right? Google ain't dumb!
        Userama
        • If the schools decide to use it.

          I'm sure many may not want to be burdened with Google Apps.
          John Zern
  • RE: Oregon makes Google Apps for Education available statewide

    Well at least one state is smelling what Google can do
    for you. Good job Oregon!!
    cdanehower