Apparently the entire state of Oregon just recently announced that their entire state will switch to Google Apps for Education for their K-12 schools. While not forcing schools to do this, they are publicizing potential cost savings at $1.5 million, so how long do you think the Oregon taxpayers will let schools use their existing solutions. I would venture to say those cost estimates are low. In our district alone, with renewing licenses, additional storage space, and more, I estimate we spend $25,000 a year on maintaining Exchange, for now. I say for now, as we begin to move to Google Apps for Education as well. We expect to deploy this fall, but we already have it set up on our domain. We needed some solution for student email, and while we do not have immediate plans for Google to take over our Exchange, I do think eventually it will come.
Very interesting product though, or line of products. Google Apps gives a district email, online collaborative details, chat, and webpages that a school system would not need to host. Saves time and money there. Definitely nice to provide those 21st Century tools that allows for 21st Century skill work, such as collaboration. While I do not quite see Google’s reasoning for giving it free to schools, schools definitely continue to jump on board. Here in NC, I know of about 5 K-12 districts fully deployed and many more in the process or contemplating it. NC State University also recently announced they would move their email to Google. Interesting.
Makes me wonder how long it will take for school systems to consider other free and open source options. Think of the savings of an entire state who moves to Linux. How about no more $50.00 per license of MS Office for moving to Open Office. With the next two years being the very difficult years for public education, I would not be surprised, and would be very happy to see this happen.