Another dot in the blogosphere?

Google Apps by the numbers?

Posted on: December 3, 2009

I just read in the print copy of Digital Life (2 Dec 09) that MOE’s deal with Google Apps is worth S$650,000 a year over two years. Does that sound like a lot? No, not if you do the math.

Based on MOE’s 2008 corporate brochure, Singapore has 29,000 teachers and an annual education budget of S$8 billion. Google Apps for education is barely a drop in the bucket.

MOE’s press release on 22 Sep 09 about adopting Google Apps does not mention explicitly if students will get to use it as well. If students are included as users, how is that drop shared among all teachers and students?

MOE claims that we have a student:teacher ratio of 21:1 (paragraph 11, cough!). Simple arithmatic (29,000 x 21) tells us we have about 609,000 students. Add the number of teachers (29,000) and the total potential users is 638,000. That means that it will cost us a little over S$1 per year per user. That’s value for money… if you like playing the numbers game.

I don’t just play by numbers. How will teachers and their students use Google Apps? Will these Apps be effectively integrated into teaching and learning? While I am watching for answers, I am not waiting. Time will provide some answers, but so will action.


Video source

I am using some of the Google Apps now (Sites, Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, Presentations, Mail and assorted widgets) without NIE being part of the Google Apps for education picture. I am using it partly as an informal LMS, but mostly as a collaborative learning space.

I think that using it as an LMS provides my teachers-to-be with some level of familiarity. But they also explore the use of the Apps to facilitate collaborative writing, data collecting and processing, planning, designing and learning. I hope that by providing one possible model of using Google Apps, my teacher trainees can then test the ground when they are posted to schools.

I am glad to report that I see some green shoots already. A few of my trainees come up to me after class to tell me that they are setting up their own Google Site wikis or to ask me how to do something or other. I also hope to be involved in the education of in-service teachers next year under a new MOE programme. More details on that if the plan solidifies!

2 Responses to "Google Apps by the numbers?"

This is the advantage of a cloud learning envirionment that GApps provide. (referring to your green shoots comments).

The Cloud gives control to people on their documents/work etc, it makes them publishers/authors/broadcasters etc. A spin of sharing and collaborative working added to the mix and we have what I call as the Cloud Learning environment. Here the control is shared between the learner and the facilitator or the academics .
This is new, as the old institutional VLE (or virtual learning environments, kept most of the control with the institutions or the academics) and the PLEs (personal learning environments) did not quite provide a cohesive platform to bring different people together form different walks of life uniformly.
To read more about a CLE, see http://edublend.blogspot.com/2009/12/cloud-learning-environment-what-it-is.html

An Example of that is my Exam revision site that taps into the students informal learning experience/practice. I blogged about it here
http://edublend.blogspot.com/2009/12/examopedia-re-birth-on-google-sites.html
And the resources is an Open access resource that can be accessed here:
http://sites.google.com/a/port.ac.uk/examopedia/

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Thanks for sharing your resources and ideas!

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