Google Apps for Education (GApps) is a suite of products offered by Google free to educational users and non-profits. The suite contains a number of applications. Below are the three most important apps:
Google Docs and Drive
What it is: Google Docs is a word processing software, similar to Microsoft Office products. Students can write papers, create slideshow presentations, and work with spreadsheets and forms. Google Drive is where these documents are stored. Google Drive also provides a place "in the Cloud" where students can store files to easily access them from anywhere.
What it can do: Google Apps gives teachers the ability to collaborate and work with students. Instead of waiting for a student to turn in a draft of writing, for example, teachers can access student work (and give them feedback) through the writing process. Students can access their work on any device with an Internet connection, and easily collaborate with other students on group projects by sharing the same document. Students could also use the integrated research tool to quickly look up information or automatically cite sources.
What it is: Google Calendar is a collaborative online calendar. Multiple students and teachers can edit the same calendar, and individuals can layer multiple calendars on top of each other. Teachers can share their assignment calendars which will appear on students' calendars.
What it can do: Several schools already maintain a calendar of events in GApps. Students can 'subscribe' to these calendars to keep up-to-date on activities and events at the school and in the school division. Teachers can also publish their own assignment calendars that students can access to keep aware of upcoming due dates and projects. Students will also have their own personal calendar (which will remain private unless they share it) that they can use to record appointments, events, and activities that are appropriate for them.
What it is: Google Mail, also known as Gmail, is an email solution that allows teachers and students to communicate. In SCPS, email rights will be dictated by age groups. Elementary students will only be able to exchange email with faculty members; middle school students can email other students and faculty, but only within SCPS; High school students will have the ability to email anyone - either within SCPS or outside.
What it can do: Google Mail works directly with a lot of the other Google Tools, so a lot of tasks become more efficient when they are used together. Here's an example: teachers can create a quiz in Google Forms, send it to a group of students, and those students can fill out the form directly in their email. That saves a lot of time! Teachers can also email students about grades, homework, and can send files directly to students.