An Introduction to Google Apps for Education


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Google Apps for Education is a cloud computing package. It provides access to products powered by Google but administered by your organization. Doing so, the school accepts responsibility of how the services are used by their end-users, as well as for the data stored. By providing organisations with control, schools are given the power to easily create and manage both staff and student accounts.

In many respects, Google Apps replicates the basic functionalities of Microsoft Office. The difference though is that it allows collaboration and sharing at the click of a button anywhere, any time.

Examples of the activities in which you can use Google Apps:

  • Planning & Organisation: Unlike having a document on a projector with everyone watching on, Google Apps provides a means for everyone to work together in real-time.
  • Data Collection: Although Google Sheets does not have all of the intricacies of Google Sheets, it allows for quite a bit. From gathering test results to collecting data, there are many different possibilities for sharing and sorting.
  • Goals and Portfolios: Using Google allows students and teachers to collaborate in regards to supporting goals and maintaining a digital portfolio of work.
  • Feedback: Whether it be adding a comment, filling out an exit ticket or completing pre-test, Google Apps provides many ways to gain and give feedback.
  • Templates: Although most simply make copies of files, Google Apps also allows you to create templates that the whole organisation can then access.

Many of the queries and questions about Google Apps relate to the internet and ease of access. However, these concerns can be overcome by setting up offline access by downloading the Google Drive application and opening documents through Chrome. Although you are unable to work collaboratively with them, you are also able to edit Microsoft documents. Lastly, like Global2, Google Apps provides different possibilities for adjusting access to different groups within the organisation. This can all be done through the Admin Console.

Further Reading

Google Apps for Education: Common Questions – A great collection of responses to everything from advertisements and COPPA to security and filtering.

Education on Air Online Conference – Although not directly related to GAFE, this collection of online presentations is a great place to go when looking for more learning opportunities.

Maybe You Should Go Drive by Chris Betcher – An introduction to Google Drive in a step-by-step format. One of many presentations found at Betcher’s Summit Stuff.

Introduction to Google Drive 2014 by John Pearce – A collection of videos unpacking the four core applications that make up Google Apps: Docs, Slides, Sheets and Forms.

Why schools are going Ga-Ga for Google and Transformed learning with Google Apps for Education by Anthony Speranza – Two posts outlining some of the benefits, including some of the potentials for transforming the way students learn in and out of the classroom.

Moving to the Cloud? What should you consider? by Jenny Luca – For those concerned about moving to the cloud, this post addresses many of the questions and concerns.

Going GAFE from Scratch, My Thoughts and In Search of One Tool to Rule Them All by me – Here a couple of more detailed reflections on GAFE and how to go about introducing it.


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An Introduction to Google Apps for Education by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “An Introduction to Google Apps for Education”

  1. Great quick Share Aaron.

    As we both know the possibilities of what GAFE brings to a classroom teaching and learning environment is, with a little imagination, limitless.

    I am currently going through the setting up of GAFE at the moment and will be ‘rolling’ this out to 2500 staff and students in the coming week. To then see what comes of it will be very exciting and just one aspect of this is that many students at my setting, especially within years 9-12, have their own device that is not bound by an O/S or specific platform.

    To have students, as you rightly mentioned planning and organising, collecting data, collecting and sorting information, giving and receiving feedback and so on will be very powerful for not only the learning processes in place but also for the current modes of pedagogy that will inevitably change, for the better, due to this integration.

    1. Thanks for the comment Corrie.
      I agree that the potential is limitless. I think if anything it is only limited by our own imagination.
      Having pushed GAFE and ICT for the last five years, I have started a school-based blog influenced by your iPad blog to push all things eSmart (http://ebox.global2.vic.edu.au/). A repository of all things ‘e’. Will see how it goes.
      2500 people seems daunting, but exciting at the same time. Good luck and look forward to following the journey. Talk soon.

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