A teacher here basically wants us to stop using MS Office and start using google docs and drive for everything, including document storage. His reasoning is that google docs is available free, available outside school for anyone with an internet connection to use. Much easier for collaborative learning and It will be cheaper for us to operate as we would need less network storage, no MS license, less powerful PCs.
The issue is that basically, I don't like cloud services, I don't feel sufficiently in control of them, I don't like having sensitive documents in the cloud, especially when there are big data breaches being reported almost every day, I don't like having to rely on an internet connection to do everything (even though our internet has been excellent recently). It adds a level of complexity that I'm pretty convinced a lot of our users won't take to. Ultimately I don't feel comfortable using them but his evangelising about it is making me feel like a luddite.
We are a pretty old school setup and I like it, I feel in control of it. We have fought tooth and nail to bring everything in house, under our complete control and out of the hands of unreliable, faceless suppliers (website, mail, filtering, broadband provision, finance package,) and it's not somewhere I want to revisit.
Nope, you are right. I see the point from the data protection side. Ask the teacher to put in writing the justification that he feels so the school should go ahead, and what safeguarding measures he would implement to stop the data being taken by A. Random. And what mechanisms he would have for backup of the file should it become corrupt etc.
Yes you are being old fashioned, no you're not being irrational. Google Cloud is a great accompaniment to Office at best, I don't think many people in the industry would actually recommend using it on it's own. Maybe worth meeting in the middle - seeing if you can get file defaults to save to open format so they'll open in both, getting staff to know about Google Docs for home use etc. Maybe using Drive for backup but make sure they know to save on the network primarily.
Google Docs has come a long way, but it still pales in comparison to what a fully featured Office suite can do. We're in the process of migrating to Google Apps for Education for our email and Google Drive, but planning on keeping Office alongside it.
If we're being honest. It's not about you, it's about the needs of the school. If Google + addresses their needs then I'm afraid you're going to have to suck it up and make the change. As stated above there's no reason why you can't keep secure data in house and teaching and learning materials out in the "cloud". Have a look at the Danish company "Wizkids" who do a great implementation of Google Apps for education which integrates with SIMS or any other MIS system
I think you are right. You are storing a significant proportion of the schools data. Who is responsible for the backup? What happens when you need to migrate from one cloud provider to another? Who's going to move all the documents? We found this when we moved VLE and email providers. So much stuff couldn't be moved.
What Google documents is giving us is the ability for staff to take electronic documents home without the need for encrypting laptops and memory sticks or worry about said sticks being lost and not backed up. It is giving staff 24/7 access to documents on any type of device. It is giving us document sharing and collaboration. In a school our size affordable and remote access cannot go together; we simply don't have the funds for it.
The world is moving towards cloud working. What your school, and its SLT, has to do is to work out the boundaries and policies to allow your staff to work... and this is heading for people using their own devices and wanting access to stuff. I cannot see everything being in the cloud and I cannot see Office disappearing from our network any time soon, but the freedom of Google Docs or Office 365 is changing working practices and is not going away.
It's handy too if you use tablets, kids / staff can save stuff to their drive that they can pick up on a pc and vice versa (even if google docs is carp on the iPad....) And it's nice that they can all get free storage space (would be nice to set their home drives to google drive) You're not saving that much on licencing moving over and it does add a level of complexity for admin that you wouldn't expect (Syncing, groups creating accounts for new staff etc) but on the whole it was a good move, once you get it up and running it's pretty much fit and forget.
Last edited by caffrey; 30th January 2014 at 09:46 PM.
Go with google. I am running both 2013 and google docs in my school with google starting to take a strong foothold. It will be a couple of years before we switch over I think but it is the way to go.
365 for schools is fine but find the free level you get as a school was a pain in the arse for the end user (nothing like outlook.com) and google just worked. Get with it man