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Google Apps for Education vs Office 365

Started by Greig Cowley 25 Mar 2014 11:26pm () Replies (21)

Hi all

Interested to hear what has driven your schools toward choosing one of these over the other, and perhaps even those that have tried both. We have opted for Google Apps, mainly on the basis of cost and equity for our students/whanau and this has been relatively successful (with some pitfalls and/or teacher resistance).

With Microsoft's Student Advantage program, it has made me question whether we should make the move back to the more familiar Office platform, now that cost/equity are no longer an issue and teacher comfort level may be greater. 

How have you all found Google Apps or Office 365? Why did you opt for either and what were the clinchers for you? Does anyone else find themselves in a similar situation to us?

Thanks, in anticipation, for your thoughts.

Replies

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 1:42pm ()

    Hi Greig,

    I can't give you an answer to your questions, but I have just signed up for a free 'webinar' on exactly this topic on Thursday 27 March, 4:40pm Sydney time (6:30pm here in NZ?):

    E-LEARNING CONVERSATIONS HOSTED BY MIKE READING & BLAKE SEUFERT

     A conversation with Adrian Francis  about Office 365 and Google Apps
     
    I have listened to the previous conversation and found the format worked for me. The conversation runs in a Google Hangout on Air, live-streamed and gets recorded. Upon registering you get the opportunity to submit questions they can ask on your behalf, and you get the link to the recording emailed afterwards. So even if you can't make it at that time, I suggest to register and see what they say.
     
    I hope you find this useful:) Thanks, Monika
  • Kelly Faulkner (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 2:23pm ()

    monika, i can't seem to access that webinar. can you please tell me what group it is in? every time i click on the link i get the "you do not have access" message.

    cheers.

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 3:28pm ()

    Hi Kelly, can you try again, please? I think I have fixed the link now. Here it is again in full;

    https://teacherstraining.leadpages.net/adrian-francis-hangout/

    Cheers, Monika

  • Greig Cowley (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 2:48pm ()

    Thanks, Monika. I have registered. Very timely :) Thanks for replying.

  • Kelly Faulkner (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 2:18pm ()

    ooh, thanks for that, monika. i would very much like to participate (or at least observe!) that converstion tomorrow!

    kelly

  • Kelly Faulkner (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 3:53pm ()

    thanks! new link works just fine!

  • MeganCroll1 (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2014 8:49pm ()

    Hi Greig

    We are in the early stages of using Google docs, drive etc.  Students are just coming online with their own google sign-in.  This will be used with a few classes next term, then filter through our 9x Year 5-8 classes as and when both teachers and students are ready.   

    We looked at both Microsoft and Google (we are a Microsoft school), but felt the Google package suited our students.  We felt that 365 was more suitable for secondary or work environments.    I'm sure that Microsoft will come along with something more 'young' user-friendly, but at this point in time Google ticked all the boxes.  

    Cheers

    Megan

  • Brendon Stone (View all users posts) 01 Apr 2014 8:25pm ()

    Hi Greig,

    We went with GAFE because many of the schools around us were using the platform and we could call on their knowledge when rolling it out.  It wasn't a matter of just 'following the crowd', but the reality was, at the time, 365 didn't have the profile that GAFE had.  To me 365 is sill a bit 'clunky' and is trying to 'catchup' to google. But, ultimately it comes down to what works for learners.  I agree with Megan that Microsoft  will come along with something a little more 'hip' eventually but for us, GAFE also ticked our boxes and suited our outcomes for kids.

    Brendon

  • Ross Hastings (View all users posts) 02 Apr 2014 10:06pm ()

    Thanks for starting this discussion. We are an Intermediate school using 365 although very much in the early days. Many other schools around us seem to be opting for google which is one reason why we are reviewing our decision. The other main reason is that we have seen Hapara (Teacher Desktop) in use and it seems to be an add on which is a significant difference that 365 currently doesn't have. I believe that features of 365 such as Onenote are great as is the acces students get to office suite (albiet the online form being a cut down version) by students on their devices and at home even if they don't have office on the device. We are experiencing difficulties getting 365 operating on some of the student devices (not surprisingly they tend to be the devices running an Android operating system.) 

  • Rachel Read (View all users posts) 03 Apr 2014 11:43am ()

    This topic is one that crops up regularly at our school, as we opted for Office 365 and are in our 2nd year of it. We're finding it's working well with our laptop classes, with OneNote a fantastic way for students to file and share their work with us. OneDrive is also good for sharing resources and collaborating on, and all of our students are able to download 5 free copies of the full Office 2013 package onto their devices at home too, which is a major bonus. We have some staff who lament the loss of Google, but those voices are few and far between and staff build up their familiarity with 365. The sites section of 365 is not great though, and some teachers have opted for Schoology or Edmodo to set assignments etc for their students.

  • Kelly Faulkner (View all users posts) 03 Apr 2014 11:54am ()

    hi rachel. i'm interested in why your school went with 365 and am going to pepper you with questions!

    did you not already have shared resources via your school network? and why was apps put out to pasture altogether, since it seems your school is not fully embracing 365 as some teachers are using other options?

    most importantly, can you mark student work online? and if so, with the same ability you had in docs? or are you just bypassing student printing and staff print themselves? can they research scholarly articles from directly in the document? is creative commons searchavailable from within the document? how are your students finding collaboration within a doc? can they collaborate with more than one person editing? if so, up to how many? is editing history colour-coded, or the same as tracking changes in Word?

    while the kids can download full office, isn't that included in what your school is paying MS? it's my undestanding that it's very expensive.

    thanks in advance for your response. the nuts and bolts are what really interest me!

  • Rachel Read (View all users posts) 03 Apr 2014 2:33pm ()

    Hi Kelly - don't think I can answer all your questions, but here goes.

    did you not already have shared resources via your school network?

    Yes, we used to use Ultranet but the school decided it was expensive and not fulfilling all of our needs

    and why was apps put out to pasture altogether, since it seems your school is not fully embracing 365 as some teachers are using other options? 

    Admin realises that no one platform works for everyone, and in particular the 365 Sites app isn't designed for schools so flexibility is being shown

    most importantly, can you mark student work online? and if so, with the same ability you had in docs?

    Yes, and can provide feedback to students in a multitude of ways with OneNote and OneDrive

    or are you just bypassing student printing and staff print themselves?

    No, definitely not printing student work.

    can they research scholarly articles from directly in the document? is creative commons searchavailable from within the document?

    Not sure about this - need to check out the possibilities

    how are your students finding collaboration within a doc? can they collaborate with more than one person editing? if so, up to how many? is editing history colour-coded, or the same as tracking changes in Word?

    Yes, collaboration is possible for a whole class at any one time, and yes the editing is tracked with date, time and initials of each student recorded. Don't know if there is a limit.

    while the kids can download full office, isn't that included in what your school is paying MS? it's my undestanding that it's very expensive.

    The school hasn't paid MS anything - all free 

    Cheers, Rachel

  • Peter Holmstead (View all users posts) 02 Apr 2014 10:28pm ()

    We have been running Google Apps/Hapara Dashboard since mid 2012. It fits our needs and seems reliable. Its great to be able to work alongside students on docs, and comment and share. I have no experience of 365, so i cant comment on one over the other.

    Formatting in Google Apps is more difficult than Office, but we have learned its limitations and have got used to it. The Hapara Smart Copy function is great for sending docs/links etc to particular maths or reading groups. Hapara staff are always available to fix any glitches, but it runs fairly sweetly anyway.

    Peter

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 03 Apr 2014 9:05am ()

    Hi,

    great sharing everyone! I can't say that I am providing a balanced view because I have not had the opportunity to use O365 yet (hoping to get access soon). However, it has been very interesting to listen to that Conversation with Adrian Francis, who is using both within his school. Kelly Faulkner set up this collaborative doc during the session, please have a read.

    Keeping in mind that my professional live completely sits in Google I have the following thoughts:

    1. No one system will suit everyone at all times (and yes, I have used MS Office just yesterday!)
    2. Students are quite adept at using the right tool for the right purpose.
    3. Adults are more 'platform loyal' and need support to switch to a new or between different systems.

    If we first and foremost keep the purpose in mind - what is it we are trying to achieve?, this should lead us to the best decision for our current situation. I've just tried to make a various scenarios (at primary, intermediate and secondary levels) but every time I came back to GAFE being the best option so I might just be too biased after all lol.

    Thanks, Monika

  • Fastpaddy (View all users posts) 03 Apr 2014 9:37am ()

    We are a secondary school which have chosen MS 365 over GAFE because of the format comptability and familiarity of office apps (mainly for teachers). I have been informed that there is something similar to Hapara (teacher dashboard) for MS 365. However, being a long time GAFE user (unlike the rest of the staff at my school) I am finding the transfer to MS 365 very frustrating, especially when it comes to document managment - MS has a long way to go here.

  • iDave (View all users posts) 03 Apr 2014 3:12pm ()

    A couple of things we use lots with GAF are Google Forms and Google Sites.  We looked beyond just  'Office' type activities and so far feel the GAF gives the student more options - eg a greater range of tools and being able to link their account with Blogger or Youtube etc .  Another feature we use is adding 'tools' to the GAF menu eg Video notes and such  - and that GAF (or Google Docs)  was originally built on collaboration. 

    We use Hapara as well which has allowed our teachers to more easily to support student learning and we are not as 'print' focused as we used to be.

    There is no doubt that Office does 'Office' things better than GAF and we do miss Excel for the senior school........  We may consider adding 365 at a later date.

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