Last weekend I attended the Google Apps for Education European Summit in Prague. It was definitely an eye opening experience. Even though I feel that I do a good job of integrating ICT into the lessons all over my school, It was nice to see some new and innovating ideas floating around. Obviously they all centered around using Google Apps in schools, which in a way was refreshing to see how many different ways different schools are using them. There were educators from all European countries except Norway, and many other parts of the world; coordinators, teachers and admin, it was just a very eclectic group of individuals with a common goal. Will Florance, the head of Enterprise EDU for Google EMEA, put it best when he said their focus was “making learning magical” to all students.
One of the concepts that I liked the most was the fact that, even though they were allowing us to play with chrome books during the event, they were not trying to tell us that we had to buy their products. Their platform was “Any Place, Any device, Any time”. I really feel that that is where the future is heading. You cannot expect schools, especially smaller ones like mine, to ever be able to buy every student a tablet or an portable computer. Nor can you expect the families to purchase a specific device because a school told them to.
The fact that you can create, edit and do almost anything with Google Apps on almost any computer or tablet would allow for this to happen.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Google Apps work better and more fluidly on an Android device or a Chromebook. Just a few days after the event one of the presenters tweeted the she was “giving up her iPhone to get more out of Google Apps on an Android device”. That also doesn’t mean that it is a mediocre product on iOS or other devices. In my opinion there would be an advantage in keeping the iPhone and maybe getting an Android tablet. Which is what I may do down the line.