I guess I totally missed this announcement, but recently Google has added an EDU section to the Google Apps marketplace. I think this is going to help us in K-12 move forward with technologies by moving more of our applications to the cloud making them easier to deploy and manage.
First Off, What are Google Apps? You may already be using these utilities on your personal Gmail account ( in Gmail click on the documents bar on the top of the page). Google apps allow us (K-12) a way to have cloud tools like Email, Word Processing, Google Groups, etc all in our own walled garden. The great thing about “Google Apps For Edu” is,we as admins have full control of what happens on our “Cloud”. This helps us (K12) by giving us access to these great tools while maintaining compliance for things like CIPA (Childrens Internet Protection Act) and COPA(Children’s Online Privacy Act).
What does this addition mean for K-12 and Higher Ed? More and more of the services that we use, can now be distributed with a flip of a switch. Instead of having a separate server for web, one for LMS, one for a Gradebook, we can start bringing those services onto our own cloud and have Google handle the bandwidth and the upkeep.
There are several vendors already on board with the Google Apps Marketplace, such as: Aviary, Grockit, Haiku, EasyBib, Digication, and several others. Another great thing about having these items in our cloud is there is little to no training for our teachers. They are already using Google Docs, all you have to say is “We added another feature check it out.” Obviously if you are looking to deploy a campus wide LMS via Google Apps you will need more formal training. Take a look at the Google Apps Blog for more information. Also a video about the service can be found here.
I have already added a couple of the free apps to our domains for testing.
What are you going to install in Google Apps?