Digital learning and Google pair up

Education is irreversibly tied to technology, and affects learning at all levels. The use of the internet for learning is deeply entrenched in grade school, college and graduate school. Each new technological advance leads students deeper into the digital world as their classes often require them to collaborate, attend lectures, research and study online for their classes. The increased reliance on the internet pushes colleges and universities to provide their students with digital tools that are helpful but secure. Utilizing technology services from Google instead of developing their own services, higher education institutions are finding more effective and less expensive solutions for schools.

The Dilemma: Connectivity versus Safety

Students are becoming immersed in the digital world. Everything from searching for and applying to colleges, registering for classes, receiving institution-wide announcements and accessing course content occurs online now. Textbooks are often e-books, and research usually involves online databases. Students in online classes and programs may never meet their professors and colleagues in person, and instead, they communicate over the internet or via mobile phones or smartphones.

Security becomes more of a concern as students interact more online. They provide more personal information, visit more sites and interact with people they may never have met in person. These activities all increase the risk of releasing personal data that can be used for malicious intent, such as identity theft.

To complete the necessary tasks for school while staying safe, students need to have top-of-the-line tools. They need utility email services for communication and storage space for file sharing, but they also need to be able to collaborate with classmates and conduct their research without compromising privacy. All programs need to be compatible so that each student has the same access and capabilities. A large company like Google is experienced in supplying productivity tools while ensuring security.

Services to Encourage Productivity

These are some of the lower-cost services and tools that Google offers to keep students and campuses efficient while protecting information. With each of these, the user has considerable control over which other users can access specified information.

· Gmail: Each personal Gmail account has 7GB of storage space. Google promises free archiving to comply with access-of-information laws.

· Cloud hosting: Web-based hosting is a lower-cost alternative to physical hosting in an IT department on campus. It requires no expensive equipment, and Google, not the university IT department, is responsible for maintenance.

· Google Apps: Google Apps allow users to choose who sees their content and personalize their own sites. Apps include calendars and video sharing tools. Google Apps reduce down time, with a promise of 99.9% functionality.

· Google Docs: Online collaboration is easier when students can all edit the same files simultaneously. Google docs allow users to store and access a variety of file types.

The use of technology is evident at all levels of school, from kindergarten through college and graduate school. Students in traditional campus-based programs and in online programs alike rely increasingly on a digital world for their studying, communicating and collaborating. A greater focus on virtual learning requires institutions, such as colleges and universities, to provide the tools to support efficient learning while maintaining a high degree of security. Google has developed low-cost tools that can help universities meet their students’ needs.

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