Google is giving teachers an “online word processor, spreadsheet and other programs that can perform tasks usually handled by desktop software,” AP reports.
Offering a convenience that worries some privacy experts, the programs automatically store everything in Google’s vast data centers so the information can be retrieved on any Internet-connected computer.
Apparently, the idea is to get young people used to all of Google’s online software applications, not just its search capability. The company won’t make money on the give-aways to educators because there’s no advertising on the applications.
Some students are already learning about the advantages of Google’s word processing program, which enables people in different locations to collaborate simultaneously or view and edit documents at different times.
Palo Alto High School junior Danielle Kim said that flexibility was particularly helpful when her debate team jointly worked on a presentation earlier this year.
One of the main testing grounds is Palo Alto High, my daughter’s alma mater. Her journalism teacher, Esther Wojcicki, “first met Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 when they started the company in the garage of her daughter’s Silicon Valley home. She has stayed in touch with them ever since and is a consultant on the current education project.” That leaves out Woj’s other daughter, who’s rumored to be engaged to Brin.
“I feel like I am on the edge of something really exciting and perhaps classroom changing,” Wojcicki said. “Using this as a teaching tool, I will be able to look at students’ papers and make suggestions before they even turn it in.”
By contrast, Microsoft’s classroom version of Office sells at a discounted price of $149.