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Reflecting on a school year with Google Apps for Education

Posted by Dana Nguyen, Google Apps for Education Team

As school lets out and summer vacation begins, the Google Apps for Education team has been reflecting on what we've learned from our users over the past school year. We wanted to share some of the great stories we've heard from students and teachers in Colorado, Canada, Brown University, and Iowa.

Littleton Public Schools (LPS) in Colorado decided to "go Google" in the fall of 2010 and students are giving Google Apps high marks for working on collaborative projects. High school sophomore Kylie shares, "we no longer have to exchange contact information because everyone already has a Google account and it is saved in our contacts. We are also easily able to create either a Google doc or group for the project, and can invite the teacher as well to look at our work." Other LPS students Rachel and Bekah find that editing together in Google Docs "improved our writing by sharing with others and making comments at the same time" and working with documents stored online made it "easier to be organized and bring home assignments." And 5th grade student Jonathan likes Google Apps for the practical reason that "you don’t have to worry about paper getting lost and having your things get torn or ripped."

Before and after the faculty and staff at Littleton Public Schools have "gone Google."

Teachers from Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada are finding that Google Apps is increasing students’ engagement and saving teachers time. One teacher notes that "students love having the option to complete assignments online and homework completion has improved drastically." Another educator observes "moving to a web-based platform has made distributing, sharing, and collecting material seamless. It has significantly decreased my workload and planning, as I do not need to create several different versions of things."

Brown University’s undergraduates moved to Google Apps in the summer of 2009; the rest of the campus migrated the following year. This May, Brown asked the entire campus community -- faculty, staff and students -- to evaluate their satisfaction with and use of Google Apps. The results are overwhelmingly positive: nine out of ten members of the Brown community said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with Gmail, and overall satisfaction has actually increased since the initial deployment. The detailed survey results are available at

At Clear Creek Amana Middle School in Iowa, the benefits of Google Apps extend beyond organized lessons. The "Creek Squad," a tech support team made up entirely of student volunteers, helps teachers and administrators get the most out of the technology at their fingertips. With Google Apps, it seems, the students really have become the teachers!

While school may be out for students and teachers, we're excited to spend the summer coding away to make sure that when classes start again in the fall, Google Apps is better than ever.