As a district technology leader, I always thought that the free version of G Suite would provide us everything we need to meet the instructional needs of students. However, we have seen in 2020 that teachers’ and students’ teaching and learning needs are now forever changed by a global pandemic.
For years, Google for Education (G Suite) has provided schools the much-needed tools for communication, collaboration, and creativity. Teachers and students alike use Google’s suite of products as an essential component in teaching and learning every single day.
Over the last 10 months, schools around the world have seen the need for G Suite more than ever, in particular the use of Google Classroom for delivering assignments and other key information to students. Classroom, combined with Google Meet, gives teachers the ability to hold synchronous class events where important information and instruction can be delivered in real-time or be recorded for students to watch at a later date.
As Google continued to improve products such as Google Meet and Google Classroom, they began to offer (and continually improve) these products with features that require districts to invest in an additional cost based on student enrollment. These Enterprise features not only help teachers and students, but they also offer district technology departments an enhanced insight into eDiscovery, security, and analytics that districts need to better keep users safe and measure the impact of use.
As a district technology leader, I always thought that the free version of G Suite would provide us everything we need to meet the instructional needs of students. However, we have seen in 2020 that teachers’ and students’ teaching and learning needs are now forever changed by a global pandemic. This led us to investigate and test the affordances that G Suite Enterprise for Education (GSeFe) would provide to our teachers and kids, especially all of the fantastic new Google Meet features it gives our teachers:
Google continues to make more features available, and I’ve been very impressed at the rate Google has developed new features for Enterprise for Education. Google has always listened to feedback from teachers, and they have proven they are doing so more than ever and acting on it. We have found this to be a very worthwhile investment as a district to help our teachers more effectively use Google Meet for synchronous and recorded instructional activities.
Enterprise for Education also adds some new layers into Google Classroom to help teachers, such as the new originality reports that are now available to help with plagiarism detection. An upgrade to G Suite Enterprise for Education removes the limits of the free version.
While a pandemic drove us to make these improvements to our G Suite environment, I would argue that these improvements will be very useful to our teachers and students even in a post-pandemic educational environment.