Google Apps for Education

Why Use Google Apps for Education?


What is Google Apps for Education?

Google Apps for Education or GAFE is is a suite of free, web-based programs that includes email, document creation, shared calendars, and collaboration tools, hosted by Google and managed by the South Hunterdon Regional School District for its schools.  GAFE will provide the ability for SHRSD students, faculty and staff to communicate, store files and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time from school, work, home, or any place with an Internet connection.  For added security, K-8 student email activity will be limited to teachers and peers with an shrsd.org account, thus creating a "Walled Garden” environment.  This feature can be edited to allow specific outside addresses in the event of a class project or other district approved need.  An example would be to confirm an email a password reset or subscription to an online textbook or approved online service/app. Click here for additional information on the benefits of GAFE.


How will it be used?  

Google Apps will provide the ability for students and teachers to store files and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time from school, home, or any place with an internet connection.  Apps such as Google Classroom can be implemented by teachers to make class announcements, post resources and to better assign, comment on, collect and grade student work.


What can my student/child do with Google Apps?  

Students will have easy access to real-time document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation tools within their Google Drive. Students will also have additional storage for other files they may need to use between home and school. Additional apps can be utilized for a variety of purposes from photo, video or audio editing to language learning, to dictation and text-to-speech screen reading, or for typing, math and reading skill building, to name a few. The benefit is that these tools are Internet based and accessible from a variety of devices whether at home, school or elsewhere.


Why is the school district using GAFE?  

"Digital Citizenship” and “21st Century Skills” are concepts which help teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship and 21st Century Skills are more than just a teaching tool; using these tools can be a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology.  Students learn how to use these tools in a responsible and creative manner so that they may develop the skills necessary to use them in a world where technology is ubiquitous.  The two websites below provide insightful information on "Digital Citizenship” and “21st Century Skills”.


Why do students need e-mail in elementary school?  Isn’t there another way to communicate?

Providing elementary students with a closed email address will allow for streamlined collaboration among their peers and teachers, and provides a consistent access to digital tools that can be accessed from home and at school.  This will also allow email to become an instructional tool and allows elementary students to participate in authentic online learning in a safe environment.


What is the value of Google Apps for Education (GAFE)?  

Students and teachers can open and edit their documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. quickly and collaborate with one another or their teachers within this secure online environment.  With GAFE, students no longer have to worry about saving files, storing files on a USB key, attaching and sending files by email.  Anytime, anywhere access with GAFE provides users the ability to be productive at school, home, or even on their mobile devices. Because GAFE runs in a web browser, students can work from almost any family computer without having to purchase new software. Students and teachers can easily upload files from their home computer and share with any SHRSD GAFE account holder on PC, Mac, and Linux machines.  GAFE also supports popular formats such as .doc, .xls, .ppt, and .pdf. Files stored on Google Drive are always accessible and backed-up online. GAFE's commenting feature is ideal for teacher and collaborator's feedback on documents and/or presentations. Revision history allows users to review document edits over time.  For more information please see - http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/benefits.html

Costs and Fees


How much is SHRSD paying for this?

Google Apps for Education is free to SHRSD.


Computer Access

What if I don’t have a computer, how is my child going to get to use it?

The use of Google Apps for Education is part of the instructional program and students have many opportunities to work in their SHRSD provided Google Apps account during the school day. Because Google Apps for Education is web based, it can be accessed from the public library or other places where computers are available.


Should I get my child their own computer?

The use of SHRSD’s Google Apps for Education does not require students to have their own computer or any other personal device.  That is an individual family decision.


How will my child access SHRSD Google Apps for Education?  

With teacher guidance, students must first activate their GAFE account and use their school assigned password to log in. Once the student has an active account, there are a variety of ways to access GAFE:

  • Go to google.com and log in using his or her full GAFE mail address (firstname.lastname@SHRSD.org) and password.

  • Many web browsers support the use of GAFE however we strongly recommend using Google’s Chrome browser which can be installed for free on most of today’s devices.


Will my child be required to access GAFE at home?

The instructional use of SHRSD’s Google Apps for Education at home is optional but highly recommended to fully utilize the capabilities of GAFE and the Internet.  As Internet access becomes more and more prevalent in all student homes this requirement is likely to become necessary.  For families utilizing the Free and Reduced Lunch program who do not have Internet access at home, please visit InternetEssentials.com for information on a special program to get home Internet.


Why can’t my child e-mail me with this account?

SHRSD’s Google Apps is implemented as  a “Walled Garden” for certain age-groups. The "Walled Garden" will not allow our younger students to send or receive email outside of the SHRSD Google Apps domain.  Even parents, relatives or friends will not be able to email students at his or her @shrsd.org address, nor will students be able to email them.


My child already has a Gmail account, why can't they use that one?

SHRSD’s Google Apps will work only within our secured environment.  An outside Gmail account would not provide the student to email, collaborate or share with teachers or other students in the @shrsd.org domain.


Do these apps work on an iPad or other tablet?  

Google Apps documents may be edited using a mobile device or browser. Google’s Chrome web browser is recommended and available for installation on most modern devices including smartphones, ipads or other brands of tablets. Although a Chromebook, desktop or laptop device is preferred and provides easier especially when typing due to their keyboards and larger screen sizes.


Parent Access

Can parents use it?

Only SHRSD employees and SHRSD students will be provided an SHRSD.org Google Apps for Education account. Parents can create a free Gmail.com account to use Google Apps and add-ons also.

 

Can I see what my child is doing on Google Apps?

Will there be a Parent view account?  No there is not a Parent view account.  Parents are encouraged to explore Google Apps with their children by logging in together. Your children can show you what they are currently working on in class, as well as items that have been “turned in” and commented on by the teacher.  Additional apps that will be used educationally are often available for a variety of devices with increasing regularity.


Privacy and Security

Online security – How protected is my student from outside people?

SHRSD takes security and privacy of student information very seriously.  SHRSD Google Apps is not accessible by anyone outside of SHRSD, so your student will be able to work and collaborate in a safe and secure online environment.  


What about Privacy?

SHRSD is responsible for protecting and safeguarding the confidentiality of student information.  SHRSD has contracted with Google to provide access to Google Apps for Education to its users (students and staff) in a closed and secure environment that is not accessible by anyone outside of SHRSD. Google Apps is governed by detailed privacy policy and security measures which FCPS has reviewed and is satisfied they appropriately protect the privacy of its users of these tools.  Under our Terms of Service Agreement with Google, like SHRSD, they are obligated to comply with FERPA regulations.  Additional information about GAFE security & privacy may be found here.


What assurances has Google given the District that they will not collect data on my student?

SHRSD has a signed agreement with Google based on the terms of this agreement. Please see Section 7.  SHRSD Google Apps for Education is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children's Online Privacy Protection Act  (COPPA.)


Does my child retain copyright of their creations?

The same copyright rules apply to content in GAFE that would apply to any other creation, provided the student is the sole owner.


What protection will the District provide so that my child is not accessing inappropriate content on the web?

The Privacy terms of Google’s contract with SHRSD, which will not be altered without notice, guarantee a free and ‘ad free’ environment within the Google interface. Google does not request any personal information from students and the District does not provide personal student data (ex.birthdate,address,phone number, grades, test scores) to Google. All personal information about students within SHRSD systems is governed by SHRSD BOE policies.