Message from Randy Damewood, Technology Director

As you look around the world you can see that technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives. Education is no exception. It is a challenge for any school system to keep up with the speed that technology is advancing, not only from a hardware perspective but from a use perspective as well. People do not work with a computer as they did in the past. It is obvious that the world is moving to cloud based services. After doing research for over a year,  I am very excited to announce that the Coffee County School System is partnering with Google to provide the school system’s communication platform through Google Apps for Education. You may have heard of Gmail, but this will be so much more. It will not only include email but other services such as calendar, site creation, document creation and management, the ability to make presentations and create forms for both staff and students from anywhere there is an internet connection. Google apps will allow these services on mobile devices as well which will complement the Bring Your Own initiative at CCHS.

For those of you that have worked in Gmail you may already know about some of the powerful tools that Google Apps offers. For those that do not, we are working to develop training at the district level, school level and online so that you can make the most of Google Apps for you and your students.

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is a suite of web-based messaging and collaboration applications that Google hosts on their own servers. Google provides these applications as a "service," rather than as software to download and install. To access these applications, you simply use a web browser on a computer or mobile device that has a connection to the  Internet.  

The Benefits of Google Apps?

There are many reasons why going to Google Apps for Education make a lot of sense.  

  • Lower infrastructure costs -- All your email will be stored securely on Google's servers, so we'll no longer need to maintain email servers on-site.

  • Document Creation and Management -- By using the Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, and Presentation tools students and teachers will be able to work on documents wherever they are and then be able to share those documents with each other.

  • Google Education Apps is free to schools and universities -- There are 1000s of schools taking advantage of Google Apps for Education. Google is committed to the education system.

  • Updates and New Services -- Google Apps is continually  being improved and features are being added all of the time. By using Google Apps, your system will be up to date every time you log on.

  • Highly scalable environment -- Each user gets 25 Gigabytes of storage. Teachers and students can create videos, presentations and not have to worry about the size of the file.

  • Access to services from anywhere, anytime -- A key benefit of the Google-hosted solution is that we can access email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world.

  • More collaboration features -- With Google's next-generation applications, students and teachers can collaborate on documents and other apps at the same time from anyplace in the world more easily and efficiently than ever before.


What exactly does Google Apps include?

Your new Google Apps account will include the following services plus many more:


 Google Mail

Google Calendar

Google Docs

Google Groups

Google Sites

What are the key benefits?

  • Lots of storage -- You get a more than 25 GB of online storage for your email.  This much more than we currently provide the average user, so you can archive all of your email online. You'll no longer need to worry about deleting messages or saving them in offline folders.

  • Enhanced message organization and retrieval -- With Google Mail, you'll spend less time managing folders and searching for messages. For example, you can add one or more tags, or "labels," to your messages to organize and store them more efficiently. And with the Google-powered search feature, you can find any message quickly and easily, whether it's in your Inbox or stored in your message archive.

  • Easier calendar sharing -- Google Calendar lets you and your team members quickly and easily share your calendars with each other and specify the details you want to show. Calendar sharing is a great way for you and your coworkers to keep each other informed about schedules. Schools will create calendars to share with staff and parents.  The district will create a master calendar of important district dates.  Now it will be easier than ever to find out the date of an important meeting or event, or if someone is in a meeting or on vacation.  

  • Integrated chat (teachers only at the present time)-- With Google's built-in instant messaging application, you can communicate instantly with your coworkers right from the Email interface. In addition, all your chats are automatically saved in your Email application, so you can always retrieve important information.

  • Real-time collaboration -- Using Google Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and you and your team members can view and edit them at the same time. You can still use MS Office, Open Office, or other products as needed, but now you'll have more options for storing and collaborating on your documents.

  • Easy-to-build team web sites -- With Google Sites, your team has the ability to quickly publish a robust internal web site on which to gather all sorts of shared information, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, files, and videos. You can even embed Google calendars and other gadgets on your site!

  • Groups -- Using Google Groups allows you to create collaborative email lists and message boards on the fly. This feature works great with sites, calendars, and documents to provide you with a complete communications suite for your projects and teams.

  • Security -- Google has a comprehensive strategy to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer data stored in Google Apps.  Google received the SAS70 Type II certification - one of the highest independent security ratings in the industry. Google maintains an infrastructure and a large staff focused on security.  Their commitment to providing a reliable and secure service to thousands of companies and millions of users makes this a good choice for organizations without these hardware and staffing resources.

We're excited about the opportunities that are possible with Google Education Apps.  We're confident that Google Apps will continue to innovate and grow and provide our staff and students with contemporary tools.  What better way to prepare our students for the newest technology in the workplace, than by all of us using right it here in our schools?