Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the Utah State Board of Education has decided to begin offering support for Google Apps for Education to K-12 schools and districts across the state. The decision has the full support of the Utah Technology Coordinators Council (TCC), a group of IT professionals from Utah’s 42 school districts and other organizations that regularly advises the State Office of Education and Utah public schools on technology issues.
“The Utah State Board of Education and I are pleased to have worked out terms with Google to allow our Utah students and teachers to take advantage of Google Apps for Education,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway. “Google Apps for Education will allow greater collaboration between students, teachers, parents and schools to advance academic achievement.” Under the agreement, over 575,000 students and 25,000 teachers statewide will have access to Google Apps.
To support educators transitioning to Google Apps, the Utah Education Network will provide professional development to any school across the state that would like to receive training on Google Apps. In addition, the Southwest Educational Development Center and Washington County School District have offered to provide technical support to schools.
Charlie Roberts, the Technology & Media Director for 27,000 students at Washington County School District, estimates that his school district has saved more than $100,000 from switching to Google Apps. Beyond cost savings, teachers across the district are also using Google Apps to interact with students and parents in new way -- relying on Google Calendar to schedule parent teacher conferences, creating Google Forms for student elections, and setting up class websites using Google Sites.
Roberts has also added a few labs of Chromebooks. "It is a very exciting prospect because we anticipate little or no increase in overall support even though we will be adding hundreds of devices,” he said. “As students move to the Chromebooks, use of other hardware and client based software will be reduced or eliminated entirely, which will cause a reduction of the necessary support."
Utah joins eight other states with statewide support for Google Apps for Education: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. In addition to Washington County, many other districts within Utah are already using Google Apps, including Alpine, Nebo and Davis school districts.
To learn more about the agreement, join representatives from Google and the Utah State Board of Education for a webinar on Monday, January 9, at 10:00am PT/11:00am MT.