As giddy students in the US are beginning to enjoy their summer break, we're feeling nostalgic looking back on the school year and are equally inspired by all the teachers we've had the chance to work with.

For example, the educators at Fairfield County Schools -- a rural district in South Carolina -- are committed to helping each and every student achieve success in academics and dedicated to helping them pursue their personal passions. The IT team may be small, but their achievements are not. And while the district is using Google for Education tools, it’s really the teachers there that make the difference.

It's because of inspiring educators, like those at Fairfield, that we work closely with teachers to build new tools made just for the classroom — to enable them to spend more time teaching & less "tech-ing". And we’re now expanding the availability of these tools, giving even more teachers new ways to engage students when school starts in the Fall.

One destination to find the right content for students
To make it easier for teachers to find content that inspires their students, we announced last week that we expanded Google Play for Education — creating a single destination for US K12 schools to find and distribute educational content — whether students are using Chromebooks, tablets, or both. Schools that use Chromebooks can start using the site for flexible book rentals, to distribute a selection of free Chrome apps and to share YouTube EDU videos. Administrators for Chromebooks can enable Google Play for Education today by visiting If you do this by July 15 you’ll get a $20 credit for your school to use for book rentals. Learn more.

New tools to enhance Google Apps for Education
Last month we announced Classroom, a new tool coming to Google Apps for Education. We designed Classroom side-by-side with teachers to help them better engage their students and make time-consuming tasks like managing assignments easier. Classroom is currently in an invite-only preview but we are working to make it available to all Google Apps for Education schools in August. In the meantime, teachers can view the demonstration video. Administrators will also gain a new tool that saves them time: Google Apps School Directory Sync. It allows a school to export data from their student information system and quickly sync it to their Google Apps for Education domain. With this tool, it’s easy to create users, organizational units, and Google Groups, and also to keep everything in sync. Learn more.

More value and flexibility from tablets
Based on feedback from schools, we’ve made a few changes to help schools gain more flexibility to meet classroom and student needs with tablets. Schools told us they want students to be able to share devices so we’ve made some changes and now our tablets can be shared with up to 5 students. We’ve also taken the first steps to make tablets compatible with standardized testing for the 2014-2015 school year, releasing a single-task-mode tool for developers so they can design apps that restrict the device for assessments only. Partners like Pearson (a PARCC assessment provider) have already started implementing this functionality with their on-line assessment delivery system, TestNav. Learn more.

Connect with other teachers
Educators at the ISTE conference can visit booth #2414 to demo Google for Education and see over 50 presentations in our teaching theater. If you are not at ISTE, follow along online by searching #googleedu. We’re asking educators to share tips each day to surface great ideas for when school starts.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Eduardo Gomide, CEO of Foreducation, an organization created to deploy and manage the use of Google technology in the classroom. Eduardo is also the grandson of the founders of Colégio Mater Dei, a leading private school in São Paulo, Brazil. Today, Colégio Mater Dei is part of Weducation, a K-12 educational group comprised of seven campuses, 550 employees, and 3,000 students.

Since 1962, Colégio Mater Dei has been a family-run school that prides itself on its adoption of innovative technology. As part of our move to incorporate technology into the academic environment -- inside and outside the classroom walls -- we started using Google Apps for Education in 2013 after noticing that teachers and administrators were using Gmail and Google Drive on their own. We’re already seeing great results; since introducing Google Apps to math and science classes, teachers report that our students are earning better grades on assignments and tests and are more engaged.

Now, we’re taking things even further by creating the first ever physical Google Learning Space, a collaborative learning center where students of all ages come to read, learn, and share using technology in a specially designed environment. The colorful space is equipped with two Chromecasts, which students use to project assignments, presentations and videos from their laptops and tablets; two Smart TVs; a sound system; and a high-performance wireless network. The room is set up to accommodate a variety of learning activities -- students can choose from beanbags for independent reading, stools for guided instruction, or mats for interactive group work.

In the Google Learning Space students can use the Google Apps they already enjoy using to home, while they are at school. As Mater Dei high school student Thiago Pinheiro says, “Google tools make my life easier and more versatile because I can work wherever I am without worrying about storage, access or the possibility of losing something.” At the elementary level, all students are using educational apps with Google Play, a portal for Android apps on tablets.

Watching students improve their test scores and grades with Google tools has been incredibly rewarding, but the biggest impact of going Google is the new level of enthusiasm students bring to the classroom. When students are more engaged, they learn better -- our kids have proven that to us. Creating a learning environment in which students are truly engaged with technology distinguishes Mater Dei as what we like to think of as a school of the future.


Around the world, schools are finding innovative ways to use technology to break down the traditional walls of the classroom, while overcoming the challenges of higher academic standards and tighter budgets. Today, we’re pleased to share the stories from two schools in Wales who’ve gone Google to help them meet the demands of a modern-day education system.

Gowerton School in Gowerton Village serves 1,135 students aged 11 to 18. The IT team migrated students and educators from on-premise email to Gmail and Google Apps. Industry experts recognize them as one of the first schools in Britain to embrace cloud technologies.

The school’s entire curriculum – from geography to cooking – is taught with Google Apps. Students can access assignments, lesson plans and other learning resources through Google Drive, while teachers can provide immediate feedback through Google Docs. This has brought about significant teaching and learning benefits including greater collaboration and more tailored feedback.

Additionally, the move to Google allowed the school to re-invest cost savings from using cloud-based technologies. Gowerton saved £30,000 (US$50,000) in licensing and server maintenance, allowing them to buy numerous Chromebooks. Chromebooks are ideal for Gowerton because they’re easy to maintain and can be used by anyone without much training.

“We’re very keen to deploy more Chromebooks. Students love them because they are intuitive to use and give them instant access to Google Apps,” said Darren Long, Teacher of ICT and ICT Coordinator at Gowerton. “They’re also great from an administration point of view. We experimented with laptops for a while but found they were too expensive and high-maintenance. With Chromebooks, we don’t need to worry about maintenance, updates are automatic, and they are good value.”
Students at Gowerton School using Chromebooks
Coleg Cambria in North East Wales has also gone Google. Coleg Cambria is one of the largest colleges in the United Kingdom, serving more than 7,000 full-time and 30,000 part-time students. Previously, students used Microsoft Live@edu accounts  but as the college expanded, the IT team struggled to support all the new accounts from a time and cost perspective. The problem was solved when the IT department moved everyone to Google Apps and installed Chromebooks around campus. Thanks to the remote, web-based management console, Coleg Cambria found Chromebooks easy to deploy to a large, growing body of students. Furthermore, the IT team no longer had to spend time going to each computer to install an update, since Google pushes these automatically.

With Google Apps, students and teachers are more proactive when it comes to learning and teaching. Teachers find apps from the Chrome App Store and incorporate them in lesson plans. Assignments and resources are saved to students’ Google Drive accounts. As a result, students can simply log into their Google accounts to access their own virtual “classroom.”

“The freedom for students and tutors to find and work with interesting applications -- anything from anatomy to mind-mapping -- has changed the way they think about learning and teaching,” said Mark Brandish, Head of IT Services at Coleg Cambria. “Traditionally students and teachers have just taken what we’ve provided. Now we’re a facilitator, giving them access to tools that allow them to be more innovative.”
Students from Coleg Cambria using Chromebooks outside the classroom 
You can read more stories of how passionate educators and talented students are using Google for Education in their learning environments. We’re excited to hear such stories of how technology helps prepare today’s youth for a better future.


Editor's note: Today’s post comes from Martin King, Head of IT Services at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College (EHWLC). EHWLC is one of the largest further education colleges in the United Kingdom, with over 21,000 students and 1,000 employees across four campuses in London.

Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College (EHWLC) is one of the largest further education colleges in the United Kingdom. Like “continuing education” programmes in the U.S., further education colleges focus on teaching post-secondary school students the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. As a result, a lot of education takes place outside the classroom. For example, we might help students find mentors from the BBC or Michelin-starred restaurants, or show them how to produce their own music album under the College’s own record label.

Going Google perfectly supported our approach by providing anytime, anywhere access to a productivity suite that encourages collaboration. In 2008, we rolled out Google Apps for Education to students, teachers and support staff. We give every student a Google Apps account for life, so in total, the IT team manages about 75,000 accounts.
We began by using Google Apps in simple ways, such as collaborating on group projects in Drive or sharing assignments and feedback in real-time, even if the student isn’t in class. With our Apps account we can also use other Google products, like Google+ and Hangouts. Teachers use Hangouts to connect students to outside mentors. In one of our technology classrooms, we held a Hangout with someone at Google. That was a popular session.

Google+ has added a new social element, when it comes to learning. With nothing more than a smartphone, teachers and students across all campuses can instantly share photos of college projects, post thought provoking articles and announce college events. The teachers and students have many G+ communities where they exchange ideas and encourage each other.

From an IT perspective, Google Apps was easy to set up. Every year I can deploy over 20,000 new student accounts with 600 terabytes of storage in less than five minutes. Our environmental cost savings are substantial -- in terms of staff email alone, we will be able to save at least £2,000 ($3,365) in energy costs and reduce emissions by 16 tonnes each year, as well as eliminate expensive server disposal costs.

Although we talk a lot about openness, our administrators would not have allowed us to use Google Apps if it didn’t meet the UK’s high standards for data privacy and security. After consultation with UK academic institutions the conclusion was that with Google, we’re actually even more secure. In the past, we had the occasional problem of someone losing a thumb drive with important information, but by storing everything in Google-managed servers, we no longer have to worry about that issue.

It’s been six years since we began going Google and we’re still discovering new and delightful ways to use Google Apps to broaden our students’ learning horizons. This is especially important at a further education college where a lot of education takes place outside the classroom.


Editor's note: Today, as part of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’d like to highlight Lucie deLaBruere, former technology coach and consultant, and all her fellow educators at St. Albans City School, a K-8 school serving 670 students in St. Albans, Vermont. Schools can get started with Going Google and see what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

St. Albans City School has seen its fair share of tough times, especially in the last few years, but we don’t let a struggling economy get in the way of our promise to give our talented students the best learning tools available. We just chose to adopt technology that's both affordable and easy to put in our kids' hands - Google for Education. Google's tools have helped level the playing field at St. Albans City School by bringing teamwork and collaboration to school projects.

Our students face challenges that would normally impede them from using the kind of premium technology available to other students across the country. Many don’t have their own computers at home, split their time between different parents’ homes, or attend after-school programs where they don’t have access to their homework or class materials. In our search for better learning tools that would address these challenges, we discovered we could use Google to provide each student with a digital locker that could be accessed from anywhere.

Students figured out before we did that they needed better ways to work together – many had already discovered Gmail and Google Docs and were using the apps for projects. When we made Google Apps for Education available for the entire school, the students quickly and enthusiastically joined in.

One of the first times that these tools helped provide a game-changing learning experience was when we conducted the “City Lights” project a few years ago. Our 7th and 8th graders used GPS devices, Google Apps for Education, Google Maps, and Google Earth to map locations of every streetlight in the city, then researched the link between crime and the lack of lights. They even presented their research to the St. Albans City Council - all with Google Docs and Slides. They got to experience civic engagement first-hand and watch how their recommendations played in the design of the city. More importantly, it showed students the impact they could have when empowered with Google tools.

I’m happy to say this impact continues today. Every day, students and teachers find new ways to weave Google into learning. Google Drive lets students offer peer feedback on writing assignments. Google Hangouts and Slides bring teachers from countries like India, Canada, and Japan into St. Albans classrooms. Google Presentations helped 3rd and 4th graders create e-books suggesting names and background stories for a new city fire truck. Some of the students shared their views:
“Being able to talk to the class in India was great because it's so different. It was interesting to see what their school was like, what they eat, their culture, and how they live in general.” - Ethan 
"The ‘Around the World in 180 Days’ project opened up my outlook on other cultures around the world. Learning about other cultures was a life-changing opportunity.” - Katherine
I work now with a handful of schools in Vermont, but I still consider St. Albans “my school.” Students there continue to uncover new ways of improving our community, like how they’re teaming up with local bike club members and parks employees to improve trails at the nearby Hard’ack and Aldis Hill recreation areas. This work will also reduce the amount of nitrates and other pollutants getting into Lake Champlain. They’re hiking every trail in the system, and will add coordinates, descriptions, and images into Google Maps. Eventually, students will report on their findings using Google Apps.

Google tools have become so essential to everyday learning that my colleagues and students now cannot even imagine getting through the day without them. Google Apps for Education, along with Chromebooks and Nexus 7 tablets with Google Play for Education, have helped transform St. Albans into a state leader for its use of technology, not just in the classroom, but beyond the walls of the school in the community.

Editor's note: Which teacher inspired you? Was there an educator that went out of her way to see how you were feeling? It’s Teacher Appreciation week, so we wanted to share a story about a teacher that has inspired us. In 2012, we filmed first-year high school teacher Andrea Kornowski two months after she began using Google Apps for Education as an avenue for students to share what was happening in their academic and personal lives. Today we’re following up with Miss K. about her success at Kettle Moraine High School in Wales, Wisconsin, and how Google tools have helped her and her students.

How did you come up with the idea to use Google Forms with your students?
I had been using Google Apps a bit for a few months when I attended a Google Apps for Education Summit. The presenter, Hank Thiele, asked us, “Do you know what’s going on with students outside of the classroom?” That question really made me think. It inspired me to find a way for students to communicate with me. I believed that if students could open up about what motivated them and what they were struggling with personally, they might feel more comfortable coming to me about academics, as well as issues outside of the classroom.

The video about the Forms you created to connect with students received a lot of attention. What was the reaction of students and teachers at your school?
Students were very excited, especially those involved in making the video. The video started a Google Forms revolution. Everyone, from the school nurse to other teachers, wanted to use Forms to connect with their students too. There was a learning curve for faculty, and so we held EdTech Challenge Site Days, personalized professional development, and an Annual KM Technology Day to support school-wide learning.

How has your classroom changed since your students began using Google Apps for Education at school?
Google Apps has opened up the walls of the classroom because teaching and learning can now happen outside of school, too. Last year, my Physical Science students needed extra support writing blog entries. One student who had a lot of trouble with writing, emailed me at 3:45 p.m. before I even had a chance to leave school, right after classes let out, eager to review his blog post. We worked on revising his blog in a shared Google Doc together in real-time using Gchat. This scenario has happened multiple times.

I also have more flexibility with Google Apps. My workload is more manageable because I’m not confined to finishing everything during the school day. I can access lesson plans, student work and email after school hours from home.

How has your role as a teacher changed in the time since you started using Google Apps for Education in your classroom?
With Internet-connected devices in students’ hands, the teacher is no longer the sole owner of knowledge. Students consume Internet content voraciously, but I teach students that they can be creators and sharers of content, as well. I don’t always deliver new content — my Advanced Placement Environmental Science students each research specific topics and add content to class-shared presentations. We also recently created Google Sites to demonstrate the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy. Fifty out of 53 students had never created a website, so this was the first opportunity for most students to publish digital content. As content-creators, students take greater ownership of their learning.

I see how technology is affecting teaching everywhere, and teacher training. I have visited my alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, to share what teachers have to look forward to when it comes to technology.

What is the biggest impact you have seen from using Google tools?
My students are more prepared for college and the workplace because they are using the tools they will eventually use in these environments. I tell students they are allowed to have devices at their desks as long as they are in “Classroom Safe” mode, which means that devices are face-down until they are permitted to use them. Classroom management is a whole different world with the introduction of technology.

What do your students think of using the Google tools?
Using Google Forms, I asked my AP Environmental Science and Chemistry students in grades 10-12 how Google tools have helped them learn and work better. Here’s what they had to say:

  • On Google Drive: “I really like how Google Drive gives me access to all my work wherever I am. I can type a paper on my phone, on the school computers, and at home without a flash drive.”
  • On Google Presentations: “Google Presentations are extremely helpful when it comes to reviewing chapters together because we are able to collaborate and split the chapter into small chunks and share it with everyone.“
  • On the use of technology in class: “The classroom is engaging and we learn a lot about applying things we learn in class to the real world or real life situations/current events.”


Editor's note: Yesterday we announced Classroom, a new tool coming soon to the Google Apps for Education suite that lets teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently and communicate with their classes with ease. Jennifer Holland, a Program Manager on the Classroom team, worked closely with over 90 teachers and more than 1,300 students to pilot and gather feedback on this new product. She recently sat down with some of the educators to get their stories of how they’ve used Classroom and understand the impact it has had on their schools. Learn more or apply for a preview on the website.

As a teacher, how has your experience been with Classroom so far?

Paul Lepore, 8th grade Social Studies teacher, Felix Festa Middle School, NY: Teachers are able to assign work to their students in a flash, therefore maximizing student learning in the classroom. I really think that Google has changed my craft as a teacher for the better. The products are easy to use and allow teachers the autonomy and flexibility they need to engage students in dynamic and constructivist learning activities.

Nicole Marinello, Fontbonne Hall Academy, NY
Phil Halbig, 6th grade English and Social Studies teacher, EA Hall Middle School, CA: We’re using it constantly, and we’ve gone 100% paper-free in under a week.

Laura Barton, Science teacher, Fontbonne Hall Academy, NY: By allowing students to submit their work with Classroom, I can keep track of my sections, view grades easily and mark assignments during any free time I have, without having to carry stacks of paper around. Classroom has made this process so easy and convenient.

Nicole Marinello, English teacher, Fontbonne Hall Academy, NY: Using this has opened the doors to the real world in my classroom. With my juniors, I was able to have them do a research project on brands that appear in Death of a Salesman. They were required to make a commercial and a Google Slides presentation. I used Classroom for the students to turn in their slides. The work generated from this project was incredible.

Tell us more about how you’ve used Classroom.

Jenna Caufield, World History teacher, Fontbonne Hall Academy, NY: I believe it’s important for every student to participate in class. I make sure to call on students even if they don’t have their hands raised. The reality is that some students have a lot of great things to say but they’re anxious about saying it out loud in front of the whole class. Classroom gives the student a chance to have an opinion without having to speak publicly.
Paul Lepore, Felix Festa Middle School, NY

Cathy Cowan, 8th grade, KIPP Bridge, CA: What impresses me the most is that all students feel comfortable communicating using the device, which is not the case in a traditional discussion-based classroom activity.

Elizabeth Fiorella, Math teacher, Fontbonne Hall Academy, NY: I posted an assignment to be done over spring break for my algebra classes, in which they have to watch a video and answer just 6 multiple choice questions. I love that some of them have already turned in the assignment so I can start grading a few of them at a time, rather than all of them at once when we get back from vacation. I also love that the link is right there so that they can just click on it and it will bring them right to the video.

How does managing assignments with Classroom differ from using Google Docs and Drive?

Heidi Bernasconi, 12th grade Marine Biology teacher, Clarkstown Central High School North, NY: With Classroom all the students’ assignments are in one spot for commenting. This is more seamless than if I had just shared a Google folder with all the same resources. The first assignment took a very short time to grade. I was even able to return assignments before the due date, something I can't really do with other tools.

Paul Lepore, 8th grade Social Studies, Felix Festa Middle School, NY: I was grading projects and I had an "aha" moment — I will never use a Google Form as a "turn-it-in-form" again. Classroom is really a faster way of grading. Teachers will really appreciate this.

As a school administrator, what impact have you seen from Classroom?

Toni Ann Piscitelli, Information Technology, Clarkstown Central School District, NY: This latest addition to the Google Apps for Education suite underscores Google’s commitment to providing schools with tools that fit seamlessly into the instructional landscape. And, at no cost for the product and no anticipated cost for training, this product fits seamlessly into our budget.

Heidi Bernasconi, Clarkstown Central High School North, NY 
Mark Surdyka, Director of Technology, Fontbonne Hall Academy, New York: At first we were nervous about starting Google Apps and Classroom all at once with every teacher in our school. But it’s probably better to do it this way with a big bang than in stages, which would’ve taken forever. I see people who barely used technology now using this every day.

Mary Ann Spicijaric, Principal, Fontbonne Hall Academy, NY: When I walk by our classrooms I hear a lot of talking, and it’s not teachers talking — it’s kids talking. And that’s exciting. We’re moving more toward student-centered instruction.

As a student, what do you think about Classroom?

Grace, 9th grade student, NY: I love the easy access to most of my work right from my computer or phone. It organizes all of my work into different sections and I don't have to worry about keeping track of papers.

Lindsey, 8th grade student, NY: It’s very efficient and makes it really easy to share study notes; before only one of us had the paper copy, but now we all can use the same resources to study.

Alexandra, 8th grade student, CA: I definitely love this! It lets us communicate freely and lets us tell our thoughts without anyone description. Also, everyone gets to give there opinion and we are all participating.

Editor's note: Maine Township High School District near Chicago has used Google Apps for Education (GAFE) since 2007 and was one of the first K-12 districts to use the productivity suite. Now the three schools in the district are using Chromebooks as part of their 1:1 program. We talked with Hank Thiele, Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Learning, about how the district’s 6,800 students are using the tools and why he is confident that GAFE is the best tool for his district. For more information, read the case study.

How much money have you saved by using Google Apps for Education?
We’ve saved more than $784,000 over six years. Those are dollars that would been listed directly in the budget. That number doesn’t even include productivity or factor in that Google Apps for Education is a better tool than anything else out there. The key differentiation between Google and the others is how easy it is to collaborate and share in the same space. There are projects we’ve done here where people say “we just couldn’t have done this without the Google tools.” People routinely say “throw that on a site” or “put a calendar invite together.” The way the whole team works with the tools — it’s so seamless it’s scary, in a good way.

How important is security to you? How does that play into your use of Google Apps for Education?
Extremely important. I’m also realistic about my resources and my team’s resources compared to Google. Google has proven that they’re a secure company. They provide the same level of security that they use to protect their own data. I don’t know of any school district that has passed the same rigor of security testings that Google has. I might have a few people on my staff who are experts in Internet security and privacy, but Google has hundreds. There is no way that I can drum up the man hours within my walls to spend on security as Google has in their own walls. So, to me it’s much safer with Google in the long run, especially since the data is in the cloud and not sitting on someone’s laptop on their desk or on a USB drive.

Has Google Apps for Education been helpful from the perspective of disaster recovery and regulatory compliance?
We’re not concerned with disaster recovery because there is continuous backup. We’ve seen more of a benefit from regulatory compliance with legal review and discovery. The biggest thing is the knowledge that there is no losing data — you know it is going to be there. You know that if a lawyer or state’s attorney comes knocking on your door, you can open the Google Apps interface and find it. There’s no fear you will have to produce something that has been lost. The more stuff our teachers put into Google Drive the better things are for regulatory compliance and legal discovery for us.

When it comes to using a service that’s purely cloud-based, what are the benefits?
No matter what happens within our walls, the Google tools are available when the Web is available. A couple of years ago we lost all power for three days at the main data center that provided Internet to our schools. We called the Internet service provider and they said, “Well, we’d love to help you out, but the switches that feed your school are under four feet of water now.” While that was going on, we were working offsite and our Gmail there was fine. If we were hosting email on premise we would have been dark. The last thing you want is to be cut off from the rest of the world and being in the cloud prevented that from happening.

What was the biggest concern when you first moved to Google, and how has it since been addressed?
The top concern was that the price was too good to be true. People worried there would be a bait and switch. I know Google Apps for Education won’t start charging because the public pressure would be daunting if Google did that. I take comfort in that.

The other thing that makes me confident in Google is their program Google Takeout. Google constantly gives me tools to move information into the the system, but it’s also easy to take it back out if I were ever to want to leave. Other companies have not been that forthright.

How is the support for Google Apps for Education?
Google support is as good or better than support for any product I pay for. It’s rare that I have to use support, but when I do I typically get an email response back within hours. On the rare occasions when I do need help, I can send an email or make a quick phone call and, either way, we get help immediately.


Brazil is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, and the state of São Paulo is the economic powerhouse underneath it all. The future of this continued growth rests in the hands of its youth. The state of São Paulo has more than four million students, 5,000 schools and a community of almost 300,000 teachers and staff.

To equip future generations with the skills to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce, we are partnering with the Department of Education of the State of São Paulo to provide and deploy Google Apps for Education across the state, for free.

“We are so excited to be bringing Google Apps for Education to more than four million students of São Paulo,” said Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of São Paulo. “Finally, classes will go beyond the four walls of the school.” We are working to deploy Google Apps for Education to all 4 million students within the year.
Milton Burgese, Head of Education, Google Brazil, speaks about the partnership 
The municipality of São Caetano do Sul, a thought leader across the country and known for both quality of education and life, announced this week that they are excited to be going Google at an event hosted in São Caetano. We will be deploying Google Apps for Education in 67 schools there, reaching 19,000 students and 1,500 teachers.

“I'm sure that the learning process of our children and youths will be improved by the support of new technological tools that are being brought to our schools by Google” said Paulo Nunes Pinheiro, Mayor of São Caetano do Sul.

We’ve also partnered with the Escola de Formação de Profesores (EFAP), a professional development facility, to train all of São Paulo's 300,000 teachers on the use of Google Apps for Education. Helping them master the new technology will help them communicate, collaborate and partner even better with their schools and students. As Herman Jacobus Cornelius Voorwald, the São Paulo State Secretary of Education, told us, “If we want to change our country, we must use education… We need to dedicate time to helping teachers learn by showing them different ways to embrace technology.”

We believe in the power of the web to help people discover, connect, and learn. And we’re thrilled to see Sao Paolo and São Caetano do Sul join Malaysia, the City of Boston and a growing number of other forward-thinking districts around the world who are embracing the web and technology to drive a new, better future for our students.

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Dan Maas, Chief Information Officer for Littleton Public Schools, a school district just south of Denver, Colorado, with 15,000 K-12 students across 13 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools, several alternative programs, a preschool, and 2 charter schools. Check out their case study to learn more.

What motivated Littleton Public Schools to move to Google Apps?
Students today are growing up in a different educational world. Online tools have fundamentally changed how today’s kids learn, interact and work with each other. Moving to Google Apps was a natural step in creating a modern learning environment for our students, because the tools are intuitive and familiar to them. Before using Google Apps, the district was hosting email servers for teachers and staff, but had no collaboration tools and homework was done largely by emailing attachments or making paper submissions, a cumbersome process. Our top priority was to address these challenges.
LPS buildings average 50 years in age, but with Google, the learning is in the cloud.

How is the district using Google Apps now, nearly two years after deployment?
Today, every Littleton staff member, teacher and student in 4th grade and above has a Google Apps account — some schools have even started introducing their kindergartners to the Google tools. Adoption has been incredible across the board: during the 2011-2012 school year, Littleton students created more than 200,000 new Google Docs, and by the spring of 2013 they were averaging over 20,000 each month.

Are there any teachers or departments in particular that have embraced Google Apps in innovative ways?
I'm inspired by literally hundreds of classrooms in our district and how they're using technology to help their students learn. Katie Christie’s 5th grade class at Runyon Elementary School, for example, is using Apps in a particularly impressive way as part of the "Inspired Writing" initiative. The curriculum revolves around a Google Site that houses learning objectives, resources and videos, assignments, student and teacher work. Mrs. Christie posts assignments daily on a Google Calendar, which is embedded into the class’s Google Site and can even be added to a student or parent’s personal Google account. Google Docs lets students do different kinds of creative homework, including using Google Drawings to creating flowcharts for a book report and relying on Presentations to collectively create and speak to a deck about astronomy. It’s validating for us to know that Google holds her work in equally high regard — Mrs. Christie was recognized as a Google Certified teacher last spring.
Even second graders are using Apps for writing projects like pen pals among multiple schools, where kids don't write together several times a year, but several times every day.

Are you seeing any cost savings from using Google Apps?
We’re saving more than $42,000 each year with Apps, since we no longer have to maintain email servers, storage or licensing software. That’s not even including all the time we’re saving our IT team, since they no longer have to waste hours clearing out full email inboxes and resolving downtime issues.

What are you personally most proud of when you look back at how Littleton has changed since moving to Google Apps?
I love seeing how the technology empowers our students. Google Apps are great equalizers – regardless of their home situation, every student has the opportunity to learn with Apps. These tools, paired with the skills students gain in school, are universal and will serve them for the rest of their lives. It’s so inspiring to me and all our teachers to see the students light up and become masters of their own direction.
LPS students create 20,000 Google Docs every month as a normal part of their learning.

One cannot underestimate the power of collaboration. Any given feature set of a software or cloud application will evolve over time, so the specific skills are not as important. But the habits of mind that one develops by working with collaborative documents are truly different than what a 20th century education encouraged. Collaboration means inclusion; inclusion means more brain power applied to a problem; more brain power means better solutions; and better solutions produced by an inclusive process means better overall understanding. What more could any educator hope for?


Earlier this week we announced the release of the Google for Education Learning Center, an online portal that helps educators learn about Google tools for teaching and learning. The Center is a one-stop-shop for hundreds of best practice how-to videos, cases studies and guides. It also includes links to online communities and our newly revised exams. By passing 5 exams teachers can become qualified as Google Educators.

We wanted the bulk of the content in the Center to be made for teachers, by teachers. So we worked with some of our Google Certified Teachers to create it. Today we’ll hear from three of those educators to get more information about their tips and tricks for teaching and training.
Bram: What are your top tips for running successful professional development with educators?

Jennie: My tip for training is to leverage the same best practices you’d use with students. Focus on differentiating for your (teacher) learner, engage them in active learning and allow them to collaborate with one another to make the experience social.

Jay: I have two pieces of advice: start small and give it a go. Pick just one part of your course to enhance with technology or just one tool to use more effectively. Learn something new and give it a go. Get support from your peers, school or PLN. Failing is okay, that’s how we learn.

Kevin: Whether you are teaching or training, clear communication is essential. The best slides have the least amount of text. Make images on the slides focused, keeping words to a minimum, to emphasize the point made in the actual presentation. No one wants to “read” a presentation.

Jennie: It is important to practice what you preach. If you're training people on Google Apps, use Google Apps. If you’re leading a session, create a Google Site to share information. Share a collaborative Google Doc so participants can take notes together and exchange ideas.

Bram: What are your most effective training activities?

Jennie: I have a professional development opener I like to call the "Gripe Jam." While I play the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” teachers write down their gripes and I compile these into a Google Doc. The teachers then vote on the most important ones. This is how we decide where we begin our exploration of digital learning. Crowd-sourced PD is a huge buy-in generator. Many teachers respond better to new ideas when we first listen to their current issues.

Jay: I advise people to keep a YouTube playlist for “Stuff I’ve Learned.” I learn a lot from YouTube videos. As I’m looking up videos and learning new things I add the videos to a playlist with other things that YouTube has taught me. This not only serves as a great repository I can come back to for review, it also helps me to model how and what I am learning. This could be embedded on your professional portfolio site to help demonstrate how you are a contemporary learner.

Bram: What is a top piece of advice about Google tools for teaching?

Kevin: The number one recommendation I have for teachers who assign projects using Docs and Drive is to turn the hand-in process upside-down. Rather than having students turn-in their work at the end of the assignment cycle, have them turn it in at the beginning. The first step in any class project is to have students create their document, presentation, or spreadsheet, and have them share it with you as the teacher immediately. This allows teachers to monitor and support students through the entire process.

Bram: Have any recent professional development experiences really stayed with you?

Jay: Recently I was working with a teacher named Rick, a master teacher with decades of experience who wanted to use technology to improve student writing. We started small with the prewriting process and brainstorming with Google Drawings and Docs. I pushed him a little more. He was amazed when we looked at the Comments feature, which allowed him to provide better feedback to his students and they blossomed. He was so energized and excited about teaching writing again. Even with his vast experience and being so close to retirement, Rick demonstrated my two recommendations: start small and give it a go. He was able to rekindle his own passion and effectively integrate technology. We can all do this.


January is a time for fresh starts and resolutions, and for the last 30 years it has also been the time for BETT, the world’s largest education technology conference. This year’s event will be attended by 35,000 headteachers, educators and learning professionals from across the world. BETT brings everyone together at ExCeL London to discuss and debate the future of education and how technology can help raise standards and tear down barriers in the classroom.

Google has been participating at BETT for the last four years and we are back again, representing the growing and healthy adoption of Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks in classrooms all over the world. More than 30 million students, teachers and staff use Google Apps for Education and 5,000 schools use Chromebooks globally. Whole universities such as Keio University in Japan, cities such as Chicago, States such as São Paulo in Brazil, and even countries such as Malaysia have gone Google in the classroom and lecture hall.

Closer to the home of BETT, we recently deployed 810 Chromebooks in the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA), a non-selective, co-educational state school for students aged 3-16, located across four campuses in Dorset.

“By using Chromebooks and Google Apps, we’ve been able to transform the learning experience for all of our students,” says Alison Appleyard, the school’s Principal. “This open access to online resources is key to students becoming successful independent learners, empowering them to use resources as they see best and giving them the skills they’ll need to be successful in the future.”
IPACA students collaborate on a project together using Chromebooks
IPACA students learning on the web using a Chromebook
For anyone keen to hear how Google is working with schools, we invite you to visit our BETT Google zone at E240. The zone will showcase the full range of Chrome devices, including the recently announced Dell Chromebook 11, Toshiba Chromebook and the LG Chromebase, all for visitors to experience firsthand. Every 30 minutes there will be lightning talks at our on-site teaching theatre (schedule here) where educators from the field will share their experiences of using Google tools for teaching and learning.

For those not at BETT, school leaders can learn more about Chromebooks for Education by visiting our website.


The 2013/14 school year has started, with U.S. educators and their students returning to find much lower budgets available to meet ever-higher aspirations. Three districts shared their stories with us about how Google Apps and Chromebooks help them provide excellent opportunities for students, even in these challenging times.

Huntsville School District, Texas
Third grade students in Huntsville School District
collaborate on a Chromebook
Last year, Huntsville Independent School District struggled with outdated equipment and poor cellular coverage. To address these challenges, they built a wireless network, established free Google Apps accounts for email and word processing, and earned a $100,000 grant, which they used to purchase 350 Chromebooks for grades 6-12. Today over 1,000 students have access to Chromebooks, and high school students even take them home. Charlie Baker, a math teacher, explained the value of Chromebooks at home: “Students can send me a snapshot of the screen to illustrate a problem they’re struggling with. I can use Google Hangouts to help them work through to a solution. Student engagement is higher, and the quality of work has improved significantly."

Merced High School District, California
Although the communities of Merced Union High School District face many economic challenges, the District provides the latest tools for learning. Information Systems Manager Anthony Thomas told us that a year ago, when the district was evaluating computers, students test-drove a range of candidate devices and “voted overwhelmingly in favor of Chromebooks as the most valuable educational tool.” The high school deployment has been so successful that the district aims to be 1:1 with more than 5,000 Chromebooks by 2016. Anthony sees students using Chromebooks in locations all around the school campus, just as they might in a work environment. “The 1:1 Chromebook environment has a major impact on districts like ours,” says Anthony. “Today’s work environment is all about teams, and that’s what these students are learning. They’re acquiring real job skills.”

A student in Queensbury School District works
on his Chromebook
Queensbury Union Free School District, New York
Matt Hladun, Director of Technology for the Queensbury Union Free school district in rural New York State, faces a different challenge. Matt lost a number of IT staff to budget cuts. With 2,500 Chromebooks and just three team members, he really appreciates the minimal support that the devices require, saying “it’s hard to argue with increased student motivation, more efficient teaching processes, better communications, and a saving of tens of thousands of dollars a year in software costs. Introducing Google Apps is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. I’m seeing teaching change, and I want it working everywhere. It is absolutely making a difference.” Matt was also able to establish a “Technology Bullpen” of five teachers in each building who help their peers get the best out of the devices and tools.

To learn more about Chromebooks for Education, visit our website and review the IDC White Paper “Quantifying the Economic Value of Chromebooks.”


(Cross-posted from the Google New Zealand Blog)

As students and teachers go back to school in the northern hemisphere, educators and students in New Zealand are in the final term of their school year. From publishing reviews on the World Cup to collaborating on papers, technology is giving teachers and students new ways and platforms to create, share, and learn.

For example Stephanie Thompson, a teacher from Tawa Intermediate School in Wellington, has her students use Blogger to publish their work and views. As she explains, the ability to personalize the content they create is a great way to keep the students engaged. “My students are Year 7/8 so being able to personalize their blogs is an essential part of this process. For example my kids had the opportunity to take part in a ‘beautify my blog’ session. This is important for them to gain ownership over their blogs.”

By bringing in an element of competition with technology, Physical Education Teacher Tim Gander of Gisborne managed to ignite his PE students' appetite for literature. During the World Cup he had students submit article reviews using Google Forms. The public nature of Google Forms meant that his students were more conscious of the quality of their work. "The boys could see the quality of work which was required and knew that everyone was reading their responses- this led to a bit of competition, with each group trying to outdo each other!"

Last year we told you about Pt. England School and one of their leaders of Professional Development, Dorothy Burt. After learning more about the impact that the team there is making using Google Apps and Chromebooks to empower both students and the community, we visited to learn more. The video below gives you more insights into the passionate teachers and motivated learners and families who make up Pt. England.

We wish everyone the best with their final term and we look forward to hearing and sharing more stories from our teachers and schools. If you’d like to learn more about Google in Education tools you can complete the form on our website to talk to a member of our team.


Today we are pleased to announce that schools and businesses now have a wider choice of devices when considering Chromebooks. This morning our partner HP announced the new HP Chromebook 11, made with Google. At $279 with a super bright display, a light but sturdy shell (weighing just over 2 pounds), and a battery life of up to 6 hours, the HP Chromebook 11 is a new option for schools and businesses.
We would like to share some of the positive results schools and businesses see from using Chromebooks and Google Apps. We recently reached over 30 million students and teachers using Google Apps for Education, and Chromebooks can be found in over 5,000 schools around the world. In Fairfield County, a rural district in South Carolina, these tools enable a greater focus on building critical skills, like student collaboration and leadership.

“Chromebooks have significantly impacted the instructional delivery taking place. Student engagement and time-on- task have increased tremendously. As a result, teachers serve as facilitators to help guide students’ critical thinking, collaboration and creation. Teachers also enjoy using Google Drive to provide immediate and targeted feedback on assignments in real time.”
     ---Dr. Claudia Edwards, Deputy Superintendent Academics at Fairfield County Schools

In business, Chromebooks are a great fit for companies that have adopted Google Apps. In addition, Chromebooks are being used as customer kiosks that help drive sales in retail stores, as employee terminals that connect call center agents to customers, and as shared mobile workstations to track production on manufacturing shop floors.

To learn more about the new HP Chromebook 11 and other Chromebooks, visit the education or business websites and fill out the “Contact Sales” form to speak with a member of our team.


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Canada Blog)

Last week all across Canada, students started a new school year. Educators everywhere have been getting ready for that first bell to ring and for classrooms to fill up. In the spirit of kicking off a new year, we talked with teachers in several provinces who are empowering their students with Chromebooks and Google Apps. We discovered some really inspiring work going on, so we’re sharing a few of our favorite stories here with you.

Grade four students Gabriel and Emily in Edmonton work on their e-portfolio sites.
Photo credit: Edmonton Public Schools
Bill MacKenzie is an Information Communication Technology Consultant for the Upper Grand District School Board just outside Toronto. He first introduced Chromebooks and Google Apps to the district’s 34,000 students two years ago. In deciding between platforms, MacKenzie noted, “What’s different about Google is the collaborative piece. More than one student can work on a project at the same time and share their work with others in the classroom or across the globe. That’s an absolute game changer for us.” Currently, 4,000 shared Chromebooks are deployed throughout the district’s elementary, secondary, and high schools.

IT Director Philippe Lemieux was equally excited about bringing Google Apps and Chromebooks to his French-language public school district in Canada. This fall, all 13,000 students and 38 schools in the Eastern Ontario French Public School Board will be using Google Apps, and over 3,000 Chromebooks will be deployed across the wide-spread school board. While Lemieux was blown away by the potential in Google’s collaboration platform, IT staff benefit too: “Chromebooks are the only thing I can deploy massively without adding staff, without adding resources, without a lot of preparation. It is so easy. We purchase them, we enroll them in our domain, and give them to schools.”

To the west, in Edmonton, Alberta, more than 96,000 students, staff, and teachers are using Chromebooks and Google Apps. Terry Korte coordinates Technology Integration Planning Services for Edmonton Public Schools, where dedicated labs have been replaced by class sets of Chromebooks. Students have access to the technology right in the classroom, and “they’re writing more, editing more, accepting feedback more. Google Apps is a real leveling force across our district.”

We’re excited about what educators in Canada are doing with Google technology and can’t wait to share more about their and others’ work with you throughout this school year.

To learn more about Chromebooks you can contact the Google Education Team through our website. Or learn from some educators: Scott Monahan and Jim Jamieson are Digital Literacy Resource Teachers for the York Region District School Board in Ontario. As part of their board's roll out of Google Apps for Education to over 120,000 users, the two have organized a “Google Camp” for more than 500 of their teachers next month; join their G+ community to get in on the conversation.


In the last few years, educators in The Philippines have moved to provide their students with technology that will prepare them to thrive in their future jobs. A major part of this initiative was the entire Department of Education for the Philippines moving to Google Apps for Education, a cloud-based suite of applications that let teachers and students communicate and collaborate across the classrooms and campuses of the archipelago. Since last September, The Department of Education (DepEd) has already moved 5,000 schools, 200 divisions and 600,000 staff to Google’s services. On top of that the Commission of Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority have also made the switch to Google Apps.
Celebrating the launch of the “Schools Gone Google” program at the University of the Philippines

This week institutions of higher learning in the Philippines are joining the move to the cloud. At the launch of the “Schools Gone Google” program yesterday, The University of the Philippines (UP) and 15 other schools, such as University of San Jose Recoletos and Ateneo de Zamboanga, announced they too would be moving to Google Apps for Education. UP joins over 40 universities in the Philippines that have migrated to, or are in the process of going Google, including AMA Computer University (with 150,000 students and faculty), Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and Silliman University.

We have been humbled to support this investment in the future of the Philippines and have been working with these institutions to help them get the most out of their experience. The “Schools Gone Google” program aims to provide Google Apps for Education to as many education institutions in the country as possible through the Google Apps Supporting Program (GASP). We’re looking forward to seeing where the cloud takes the education sector in the Philippines and continuing to provide students and teachers with the educational support and tools to flourish.


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog and Google Chrome Blog.)

As a parent of three kids, I have the same aspirations as many other parents and educators—to provide them with the best opportunities to learn and discover their passions. For many students, the web has become an incredible resource for the classroom, offering tools to work collaboratively, share and research. School systems of all sizes—from a single primary school to an entire country such as the Philippines—have “Gone Google” in their schools and embraced the web to transform education.

Today the country of Malaysia is going a step further by adopting Google Apps for 10 million students, teachers and parents. As part of this initiative they are also deploying Chromebooks to primary and secondary schools nationwide. These efforts to integrate the web are a central part of a national plan (PDF) to reform its educational system.

To deploy technology across a nationwide school system, computers need to be simple, manageable and secure. Chromebooks are ideal for learning and sharing in the classroom—there’s nothing complicated to learn, they boot up in seconds and have virus protection built in. They also offer easy setup and deployment, which means they’re ready to go the moment a student opens the lid and logs in. And with reduced overhead costs, Chromebooks are a cost-efficient option* to deploy technology at scale.

To date, more than 3,000 schools worldwide, from Edina, Minnesota to Point England, New Zealand, have deployed Chromebooks to improve attendance and graduation rates, make learning more fun and enable students to take more ownership for their learning.

The web gives our children and students new opportunities to access the world’s information and work collaboratively. We look forward to working with national and regional leaders to make the most of the web with Google Apps and Chromebooks and help them provide the best opportunities to every student.

*In research sponsored by Google, research firm IDC found that Chromebooks yield three-year cost of ownership savings of $1,135 per device compared to traditional PCs or tablets, require 69% fewer hours to deploy and 92% fewer hours to manage. Learn more.


With a new academic year comes a new way of learning.
Increasingly primary, secondary, and university students and faculty are using Google Apps for Education, a free suite of productivity tools designed to help people work together better. This also include three top-tier universities in Australia who are going back to school this year with Google Apps. The universities of Griffith, Macquarie and Monash join the community of thousands of institutions worldwide using Google Apps for Education to enhance their students’ learning and to increase organizational efficiency. This community includes 72 of the top 100 schools in the USA and 20 million students and teachers worldwide.

Griffith University is a leading research university with a strong international focus spread over 5 campuses. They were looking for an easy-to-use communication and collaboration platform that offered more storage capacity and a better user interface, regardless of access device or location.

Monash University has a presence in Malaysia, South Africa, India, Italy and China, and benefits from being able to streamline communication among its dispersed students and staff.

“How could you not consider Google Apps in the world we are in today? It, to me, is the best productivity tool you could imagine, in the most intuitive fashion.” 
—Adam Shoemaker, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Monash University

Macquarie University was in fact the first university in Australia, and amongst the first in the world, to offer Gmail to their students, setting up 68,000 accounts back in 2007. Since then, they have switched on more and more of the suite’s features, and in 2012 even became the first Australian university to map its campus 3 dimensionally in Google Earth.
Several students from each of these universities have also been appointed as Google Student Ambassadors this year, and will join students from 25 other universities this week in our Sydney office. They will learn first-hand how Google Apps for Education can help to uncover a new way of learning, and help others on their campuses to use technology for good.

For more information about Google Apps for Education, and to sign up today, visit Or say hello in person June 3-5 at EduTECH in Brisbane, Australia.


Rolling green hills, a skyline of trees and no traffic in sight. Yes, this is Thailand. Today in partnership with the prestigious Mae Fah Luang University, we’re supporting an educational institution famous for its breathtaking natural environment in their vision to become a Green University by going Google.

Through the Google Apps for Education Support Program, 14,000 teachers, students and staff from Mae Fah Luang University will now use Google’s collection of free email and open collaboration tools, including Gmail, Google+, Docs, Calendar and Groups, and be the first educational institution in northern Thailand to go Google.

Being cloud enabled means students and teachers can take full advantage of the web and collaborate wherever they are. No matter if they are on a bus, at home, or enjoying one of the many beautiful gardens on the Mae Fah Luang University campus. Leading-edge technologies, like cloud computing and collaborative tools, have a vital role to play in helping equip future generations with the skills they need to thrive in the workforce of today and tomorrow.

Why is going Google greener?
In addition to supporting learning, the move to the cloud will also help Mae Fah Luang achieve their sustainability goals. Our energy efficiency efforts mean our cloud is greener, ensuring that colleges, universities and businesses that use our cloud based tools, such as Gmail and Google Apps, are greener too. Our analysis suggests that a typical organization can achieve substantial energy and carbon savings—ranging from 65 to 85 percent—by migrating to Google Apps and that an organization using Gmail can decrease its environmental impact by up to 98 percent.

Just 9 months ago, we were excited to announce the first university in Thailand to go Google in Khon Kaen province. Today 13 educational institutions and more than 300,000 students, teachers and academics in Thailand have gone Google, and that’s just the beginning.