Next time someone asks you, “Is the cloud really secure? Wouldn’t we be better off meeting our school district’s puny needs for email, web pages, and productivity/collaboration tools using an over-priced, expensive private solution in-house?” point out to them that the State of Oregon, City of Los Angeles, Prince George County Schools are all using GoogleApps–cloud computing–of some sort. If you don’t like Google, then consider Microsoft LIVE/Skydrive offering.

 Ask them, “How much longer will you throw precious funding out the window when we need to be spending it on increasing our infrastructure, building professional learning communities and networks with educators, rather than taking the vaunted path of, ‘google just isn’t secure enough for us!’ ?” Yes, technology directors too set in your ways, I’m writing to you. 

Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. Everyone wants principals to be instructional leaders but no one wants to take away anything from the principals’ job. (Source: Larry Cuban)

I’m also writing to superintendents who don’t realize their technology directors are wasting precious funding when they spend it on interactive whiteboards, expensive licenses for Microsoft Office, Exchange, the servers that have to support that, the Client Access Licenses (CALs) required for every Windows computer in your system, not to mention chasing every integrated learning system that treats them to lunch. 


U.S. Government Agency First To Go Google Cloud — Redmond Channel Partner

    • U.S. Government Agency First To Go Google Cloud By Rutrell YasinDecember 02, 2010
      • The General Services Administration is moving e-mail and collaboration tools to the cloud, becoming the first federal agency to move e-mail to a cloud-based system agencywide, GSA officials said yesterday. GSA officials expect the migration to the cloud to reduce inefficiencies and lower costs by 50 percent over the next five years.
        • GSA will use Google Apps for Government , a suite of cloud computing applications, which received Federal Information Security Management Act  certification and accreditation from the government in July. The Google Apps platform consists of Google Docs, Gmail, spreadsheets, a video tool and Google Sites.
          • The contract provides for an easily accessible suite of services, including e-mail and collaboration tools, to support a more mobile work force. While several agencies have moved sub-entities’ e-mail systems to the cloud, GSA is the first to utilize a cloud-based system for e-mail agencywide, officials said.
            • “Cloud computing has a demonstrated track record of cost savings and efficiencies,” GSA CIO Casey Coleman said in a prepared statement. “With this award, GSA employees will have a modern, robust e-mail and collaboration platform that better supports our mission and our mobile work force, and costs half as much.”
              • “GSA’s cloud e-mail award is in step with the administration’s ‘cloud first’ strategy and demonstrates that agile, secure, reliable, and cost-effective cloud options exist to rapidly improve agency operations and services,” said Dave McClure, associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

                Comments from Oklahoma school district technology directors using GoogleApps for Education:

                1. We already use Google Apps for Education for both staff and student email accounts.  Have not encountered any problems.  Provides document services in addition to email.  We love it.
                2. We have used Google Apps for the last three years and we highly recommend it.  We also make use of the Postini archiving services and are very pleased and the price is very reasonable. I think that if the state did offer Google Apps any school that tried it would be very impressed.
                3. Google Apps is free.  The Postini service is 66% off every year because of the academic discount.  We use the Postini services for email archiving and we only archive for faculty.  (We give students access to Google Docs, but not Gmail itself – you can set the options and we chose to keep students from accessing Gmail. You do not have to use Postini, that is the choice we made so we could easily meet the email archiving requirements.  For 150 faculty members the cost to archive is around $1500 per year.  
                4. We moved our staff (~750 users) from Exchange to Google Apps + Postini archiving this summer. Overall, it’s been a good move. The archiving works well, but the anti-spam isn’t near as good as what we had with our Barracuda. We also moved to pure web mail only (no Outlook). The “power users” like the move, but some of the “basic users” have had some adjustment issues.  It‘s way less headache for us in IT. We don’t have to worry about the size of the mailbox store, backups/disaster recovery, or figuring out how to keep the massive email archive backed up and secure on and offsite. And I no longer need to have a skilled Exchange technician or consultant or worry about big moves from Exchange 2003 to 2007 to 2010 to whatever.
                5. We are using Google Apps at District Schools this year and I would venture to say that 95% are extremely excited and we’re dragging the other 5% along:)  I have talked to most of my administration and teachers and we all agree, statewide is the way to go.
                Here are several must-view resources for GoogleApps for Education. I’d share them with the list but I have read-only rights. Please share with your colleagues if you find them relevant to the conversation.

                GoogleApps in Prince George’s County Public Schools (great resource)




                Ten Steps to Take After Getting GoogleApps


                22 GoogleApps for Education Solutions