Covid-19 has forced the closure of schools all around the world, leaving over 1.2 billion learners out of the classroom. To adapt and cope with the new normal, the traditional market is forced to change. We’ve seen traditional face to face learning swapped for distance learning as teachers utilize digital platforms to teach remotely. Due to the surge in demand, the market for e-learning was predicted to reach an all-time high of 350 Billion USD by 2025.
In Hong Kong, the sudden closure of schools in February has led to some schools struggling with the abrupt implementation of online learning. Schools had the herculean task to strategically invest in easy-to-navigate tools and channels that replicate face to face learning as well as teach its users how to use them effectively. Furthermore, the isolation of students from their peers is detrimental to the central argument for face to face learning: to build character, communication skills and a sense of comradeship. This shift has created a need for a user friendly platform that promotes interaction with other students.
In order to promote the paradigm shift as well as appease the millennial generation, Google developed a service which provides software and hardware to make the very first step to cultivate student centered learning. G Suite for Education apps offer teachers and students necessary tools for the successful implementation of e-learning and since its inception, garnered up to 80 million users around the world.
Reimagining Education with Technology
Instead of jumping around and creating multiple logins for different tools, Google created G Suite for Education as an all in one solution for learners and educators. It is a suite of free Google tools and services such as messaging, videoconferencing and collaboration apps that aim to aid online learning experience for educators and pupils in nonprofit primary, secondary and higher education institutions and homeschools. All tools feature 24/7 access on any device and one log in to everything, eliminating the potential mess of confusion and forgotten passwords.
Enabling Distance Learning with G Suite for Education
In order to promote peer to peer interaction and generate discussions, Google created a series of collaboration and messenger apps that aim to replicate face-to-face lessons in classrooms. Google Drive and Google Classroom serve as a library of resources from which teachers drop their learning materials. Much like a traditional classroom, students are able to hand in and receive feedback on classwork in just a few clicks. The platform is simple to use, with a chronological timeline, such that even the younger ones are able to navigate through the platform easily.
Furthermore, messenger apps such as Google Meets and Google Chat serve as a space for students and teachers to have discussions, debates and interactions in a class-like environment. The advantage of a virtual platform is that there are no limitations to one’s geolocation. Jerlecki, a technological director from Concord Community Schools, described how the schools utilized Google Meets to “expand the use of outside contributors to class” while not having to worry about their travel. One of their schools had their first graders do meets with their peers in Singapore while another even invited Mark Robert, former NASA Scientist and “egg drop challenge” expert for a talk.
G Suite Enterprise for Education: Upgrade Your Digital Learning Environment
Google Suite for Education is free, however, for schools wishing to adopt a more secure environment and more access to enterprise-like collaboration tools may opt to engage in a premium version offered by Google which starts at 4USD/ user/ month for faculty and students (Contact us to get an exclusive discount). G Suite Enterprise for Education offers an advanced set of controls for administrators, enhanced analytics and enterprise-grade communication tools to improve learning experience.
Updates: Existing G Suite for Education users can enjoy enterprise-grade features till 30 September 2020. Click here to request an upgrade!
Why upgrade to G Suite Enterprise for Education?
Expand learning possibilities with video
The upgraded version of Google Meet for education will allow up to 250 participants per call, instead of just 20, hence expanding the audience for virtual learning content. Concord Community Schools utilized this function and teachers were able to offer e-learning sessions for several classes at once, hence saving time and effort.
Live streaming was allowed to up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and users are able to record and save meetings to Google Drive. A spokesperson for the schools describes the additional functions as beneficial as it guarantees that those who miss class will still obtain the material. Furthermore, the technological director hopes to use the upgraded Google Meet for education to stream and record school board meetings for community members to access from the drive at Google any time.
Ease security concerns
With all the data peppered at one place coupled with looming cyberthreats, safety and security is crucial. Google continues to maintain high standards of information security such as 2 step verification, security check ups and safety browsing to protect your account. Furthermore, with the surge of people working remotely, Google announced new updates that further strengthens security in various tools and apps.
How to Apply G Suite for Education?
Sign up G Suite for Education account then review and complete the forms. Next, in order to verify that the domain belongs to you, information such as the official website of the educational institution, scanned copy of institution’s official accreditation document stating educational status and scanned copy of official documents stating non profit status has to be compiled and sent to Google for review. Approval requests are usually resolved within 2 weeks.