Source: ePortfolio MashUp with GoogleApps, Helen C. Barrett, Ph.D. – See More about this

A colleague recently posed these questions; my responses (enhanced with benefit of time) follow. I posted those responses to the Google Certified Teacher email group, expecting to be corrected if they were inaccurate. A reasonable amount of time has gone by, so they must be in the ballpark!

Questions posted:

  • Is Google FERPA compliant?
  • Will Google DOCS integrate with a local Active Directory
  • Will Google DOCS allow CPS staff to access student data?

– Is Google FERPA compliant? 
While Google does not specifically address FERPA, it does state that it maintains privacy/confidentiality of information shared. FERPA is really a local policy issue that is handled by the School District and professional development for education staff members. GoogleApps for Education content are not scanned for advertising generation, etc. Emails are scanned only to protect from inappropriate content. Google is currently working with various State Education Agencies to sign state-wide agreements that address FERPA concerns, but these discussions have not yet been finalized.

Note the

– Will Google DOCS integrate with a local Active Directory
Yes, GoogleApps for Education can integrate with local Active Directory. It would be helpful to review Prince George County Public Schools well-documented transition, which included Active Directory and MS Exchange. It is an education in itself to see how they accomplished this!

They are a very large school district in Maryland. You can find the info I collected on them online at:

The state of Oregon’s Department of Education is opening the option for any school in the state to use Google Apps for Education, a free service that gives K-12 schools access to the application suite.

According to Google, Oregon is the first state to take advantage of the program. The estimated statewide cost savings for school districts using Google Apps for Education is about $1.5 million a year for email. As the OS is in the browser, other cost savings are expected in reduced hardware and software upgrades.
Source: ReadWrite Cloud

It’s also worth reading this piece about Oregon’s adoption of GoogleApps for Education:

Google Apps Education Manager Jaime Casap wrote in a blog post:
With Google Apps, students in Oregon can build Websites or e-mail teachers about a project. Their documents and e-mail will live online in the cloud — so they’ll be able to work from a classroom or a computer lab, at home or at the city (or county) library. And instead of just grading a paper at the end of the process, Oregonian teachers can help students with their docs in real time, coaching them along the way.
The department noted that it expected to save $1.5 million per year in e-mail across the state thanks to this switch, with additional cost savings in reduced hardware and software upgrades.

After all, Google hosts all of the data on its servers, so schools needn’t purchase servers or pay for software maintenance.

“Educators and students now have access to the same cutting-edge technology used in the business world with added federal student privacy and confidentiality protections,” said State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo. “In a time of dwindling resources, I am grateful for Google’s partnership. Our students have a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the workplace by using workplace technology in the classroom.”

– Will Google DOCS allow CPS staff to access student data?
Not sure what CPS data is, unless you are referring to Child Protective Services. At the District level, the GoogleApps administrator–in conjunction with Postini document archiving and recovery (which is available at a flat rate of $11 per user, about a $60 discount from Enterprise costs)–has the ability to access content in the GoogleApps domain.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure