In December 2010, St. Christopher's became a Google Apps for Education School. This program provides educational institutions with a suite of tools that will provide our students and teachers with greater opportunities for communication and collaboration internally and also with students and teachers from around the world.
Why move to Google Apps? With the pending 1:1 laptop program in the MS and US, the tech department believed this would provide our students and teachers with tools that supports the list of Essential Skills for the 21st Century developed by the thinking task force. In addition to supporting those skills, Google Apps is a web based product that doesn't require the installation of software or a specific operating system(OS) to run. And best of all, using Google Apps for education comes at no cost to the school.
Beta Testing Google Apps: We currently have over 200 students and teachers using Google Docs in each of the 3 divisions. Google Docs is 1 of 6 applications available through Google Apps. Essentially, Google Docs is an office suite that provides word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings. File storage is done in the cloud(on Google's servers) and students and teachers can share files easily. NO MORE THUMBDRIVES and hopefully less paper.
Will STC be abandoning Microsoft Office in 2011? No. We plan on phasing out Microsoft Office for students and teachers but the tech department needs to evaluate if Google Docs will satisfy all curricular requirements.
Will STC start using Gmail? Possibly. Email is a very complex server application and we have intentionally steered clear of interrupting service during the school year because of the complexity. Serious consideration however is being given to providing students with Gmail perhaps as early as the Fall of 2011 but additional research needs to be done.
Please revisit this blog to see what other tools we are using to support our boys.