(All Iowa educators have opportunity to be trained in Google Apps for Education)
Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs)announced today that they have entered into an exciting agreement with Google to provide all K-12 schools in Iowa with free access to Google Apps for Education. 550,000 students and educators will have the opportunity to be connected to a common e-mail, chat and calendar system (Gmail, Google Talk and Google Calendar), cloud collaboration tools (Google Docs, Google Sites, & Groups) and multimedia tools (Google Sites & Video) that will enable them to work together and learn more effectively.
“Iowa’s AEAs are proud to work with Google to bring these innovative tools to our classrooms,” Brent Siegrist, Director of Iowa AEA Services, said. “As a former teacher, I can see how these tools will engage students, make the classroom a more vibrant place and allow teachers to work together more collaboratively.”
Iowa is the third state in the country to form a partnership with Google to provide Google Apps to teachers and students. In addition to providing support to public schools, Iowa will be the first to provide support to non-public schools.
Iowa AEA consultants will receive formal certification in Google Apps and participate in hands-on training. AEA consultants will then apply this training to help teachers in their local schools learn how to use Google Appseffectively in the classroom. In addition, the consultants will be just an e-mail or a phone call away to answer questions or to follow-up with implementation advice. Students and educators will be able to begin using their new tools as the 2010-2011 school year gets underway.
Schools that choose to use Google Apps will see a significant savings in their IT budgets, and most importantly, will be teaching students the skills they’ll need to use these types of digital tools in the workplace.
“This exciting initiative gives us the opportunity to work with a central organization that reaches thousands of teachers and students in Iowa,” says Jaime Casap, Google Apps Education Manager for Google Apps Education. “The AEAs bring support and resources that will allow schools to easily take advantage of the online communication and collaboration tools in Google Apps.”
“We know this will be a great partnership between the AEAs and our local schools,” Siegrist said. “Our schools already have established relationships with our consultants and trust their expertise with technology. There may be many schools that are already using Google Apps, but they can now be formally trained to use them and have consistency across their districts.”
Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEAs) work as educational partners with public and accredited private schools to help students, school staff, parents and communities meet educational challenges. Nine AEAs provide special education support services, media and technology services, a variety of instructional services, professional development and leadership programs to help improve student achievement.