Philippine schools go Google

google for education
By Tam Noda/philstar.com – Several universities and colleges nationwide have started to implement the Google Apps for Education, a computing solution for management systems.

A total of 13 schools comprising of almost 300,000 faculty, students, staff and alumni are now using the Google solution.

The Google Apps for Education allows schools to give Google’s communication and collaboration applications to their entire education community for free. All services are hosted by Google and are available to users via any Internet-connected computer and many mobile devices.

Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) is one of the early users who wanted more functionality for its email without spending too much on hardware, software and people.

“Our main priority was to find a solution that was cost-effective and offer more functionality. After evaluation, we figured that Google Apps was the best option given our strategies,” said Chino Rodriguez, End-User Computing Manager at ADMU.

Like Ateneo, the other schools were searching for an e-mail provider that will enable them to improve correspondence among students, faculty, and staff.

Mark Garcia, Director of Office of Information and Publications at Silliman University, said they wanted to have a solution that would enable effective communication.

“We were in search of a cost-effective provider that would improve our correspondence system, both internally and externally. Our previous system had a high bounce back rate and limited storage capacity. Spam mails were also always an issue,” Garcia said.

Far Eastern University, which also had the same problem with spam, was also trying to address another challenge with frequent system upgrades to address the steady increase in the number of users.

“We wanted to minimize our capital and operational costs while effectively deploying our systems administrators to other more important tasks,” said Lakan Bautista, Executive Director and Dean of College at FEU Diliman.

Among the other schools who migrated their computing systems to Google Apps for Education are AMA Computer University, Asian Institute of Management, Ateneo de Cagayan, De La Salle University, International School Manila, La Consolacion College, Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology (IIT), Mindanao State University Marawi, STI Colleges, Universidad de Zamboanga, and Xavier University.

According to Google, once migrated, schools can have a free access to a suite of Google applications like GMail, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Google Calendar, Google Sites and even YouTube for Schools. Each one has functionalities that contribute to efficiency in correspondence, collaboration and planning, and productivity.

Schools can also be assured of critical security features specifically designed to keep data safe.

“We believe that Google Apps for Education will help provide a reliable platform to keep our data safe and secure on the cloud. We are confident that account owners in our university will have complete control over their data,” said Yolynne Medina, MIS Director of Universidad de Zamboanga.

Janet Yoon, lead for Google Apps Supporting Programs for the Philippines, said they are delighted that universities nationwide have decided to turn to cloud computing to simplify their processes.

“We’re glad that they see the advantage of leveraging a learning management system using Google Apps for Education,” Yoon said.

GASP spearheads outreach activities to acquaint universities about cloud computing and Google apps, and helps them migrate their system.

AMA Computer University is one of the schools which deployed Google Apps independently which implemented the solution in all its campuses, including AMA International University in Bahrain.

Mindanao State University IIT also integrated Google Apps with its own registration system as well as with Moodle, an open source web platform that helps educators create online courses.

Yoon added that part of Google’s commitment is to provide support and training to schools that have gone Google.

“In line with our core mission of providing access to information, we will support these universities as they strive to collaborate better, work more efficiently, and establish a more accessible learning system for their students,” Yoon said.

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