Tech consolidation for intuitive tools, reliable operations, and a secure network

The COVID-19 pandemic led academic institutions to purchase various 3rd party edtech tools for the continuity of teaching and learning in a secure and manageable environment. However, now that school administrators like you are realizing they have too much redundancy and not enough unification between their tools, tech consolidation has become a strategic priority for public, private, primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions worldwide. 

In North America, Google Workspace for Education is the ultimate all-in-one and inclusive solution that provides enterprise-level security, network cloud communication, storage, and backup capacity, investigation and reporting abilities, and collaboration software. It natively integrates with your established digital infrastructure and mitigates the need for undeserving technology. 

The reasons Google Workspace for Education often results in technology consolidation (saving you time and money) include, but are not limited to:

1. All communications are in one place and recorded in Vault

If your institution has ever had to acquire user usage and activity records, such as messages or files, for litigations or regulatory compliance, you know how important it is to hold and access that information when necessary. Google Vault is a web-based information governance and eDiscovery tool for Google Workspace. With Vault, institutions can determine which content gets retained in the domain and easily search and export user data. Institutions with Exchange can use journaling to record communications as part of their retention strategy, but it only supports emails, not files. Vault on the other hand holds Gmail messages, Drive files, Google Chat messages (history turned on), Google Meet recordings, chat, Q&A, and poll logs, Google Group messages, Google Sites (New version), and Hangout messages (Classic version – history turned on).

2. All reporting takes place in the Admin console

Meeting strategic goals requires data-driven decision-making. You can make more effective decisions for your institution when you are equipped with foundational information to guide you. With Google Workspace, school administrators can run all data reports in the Admin console rather than in various locations within their domain. There are:

  • Aggregate reports – Provides insight on user usage and activity for all services, domain-wide, for the past 7 days.

  • Audit log reports – Details on individual user actions in services, like apps logins and edits in Google Docs, and delegated Admins actions in the Admin console. While it doesn’t include actions performed in Google Classroom, Amplified IT’s Little SIS for Classroom can fill that gap. 

  • Email log search reports – Tracks messages sent and received by domain users, and messages with the applied matching rules

In addition to accessing data, obtaining an Enterprise Google Workspace edition like Standard or Plus, provides institutions with the Investigation Tool. The Investigation Tool takes reporting and acquiring data to the next level by allowing you to, not just search, but to take action on solving security and privacy issues in your domain.

3. Upgraded Google Meet features that can replace Zoom and RingCentral

The need for video conferencing systems became pressing when COVID-19 forced institutions into remote and hybrid models. As your stakeholders return to the academic buildings, you’ve realized the value video conferencing can add to in-person learning with virtual field trips, parent-teacher conferences, tutoring programs, and more. Zoom is a popular desktop app and browser plugin service that many institutions use. However, it is more suited for the business industry, not for education, and doesn’t integrate well with other 3rd party edtech tools. RingCentral is another conferencing tool that enables text messaging, video meetings, and phone calls. While it can be integrated into Google Workspace domains, it is more difficult to set up, manage, and use. It is also much more expensive. In contrast, Google Meet is included with Google Workspace for Education and works seamlessly with products like Classroom, Slides, Docs, and Gmail. Google Meet has:

  • Meet Recording (Teaching and Learning Upgrade and Plus ONLY starting Jan 2022)

  • Breakout Rooms (Recording not available)

  • Lock Room

  • Mute capabilities

  • Participant removal capabilities 

  • In-meet Chat

  • Q&A and Polls

  • Jamboard integration

  • Attendance tracking

  • Custom Background

  • Noise Cancellation

  • Automatic Bandwidth detection and quality adjustment

  • Dial in and out access

  • “Present to meeting” option for Drive and Doc files

  • “Cast to meeting “ option for Meets created in Calendar for Chrome Browser

Yet, it is still easier to use because it allows users to manage and join meetings from the web browser of their choice with no additional software required, and is more secure because it uses Google’s global-private network to prevent the dreaded “Zoombombing.” When Google Workspace is purchased through resellers like Amplified IT, administrators are provided with guided onboarding with training on how to implement district-wide Meet adoption.

4. Originality reports can replace Turnitin

Turnitin has been a longstanding contender of services built to uphold academic integrity, but, when it comes to tech consolidation, it is yet another 3rd party tool that administrators have to purchase for integration and that teachers and students have to adopt into their workflow. With Google Workspace for Education’s originality reports*, you have access to plagiarism detection directly in their infrastructure, alleviating the need for any other product. Originality reports use the power of Google search and: 

  • Links to Google Classroom assignments with no enrollment process

  • Allows students to pre-screen their assignments up to 5 times, while Turnitin only allows for 3

  • Interacts with Google docs so feedback can be accessed directly in Google Classroom and can sync with the gradebook in Google Classroom

Originality reports also offer school matches, which creates a private institution-owned repository of student work to detect content matches among submitted assignments from other students across the Google Workspace domain.

*Note: Unlimited originality reports are included with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade and Education Plus editions only. Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals has a limited number of 5 assignments per course. 

5. Google Classroom can be used an LMS

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are intended to create and organize resources in one place and track the student progress, but they can require a considerable amount of setup time and programming knowledge while lacking access to beneficial features without having to pay a higher subscription cost. Because of its intuitive nature, capability for integration, and affordable cost, Google Classroom can replace LMS like Schoology and Edmodo, especially if your institution has a smaller population. Within Google Classroom, you can:

  • Customize themes with your institution’s colors or logo

  • Copy and share classes across your domain

  • Provide an all-around experience through integrations with Meet, Docs, Drive, Forms, and more

  • Send notifications to user emails or the application

  • Allow for quick and easy granular assignment management to track student success

  • Export grades to Google Sheets or a .CSV file

  • Set collaboration permissions for your teachers and students

Unlike other LMSs that need to be combined with multiple applications like Zoom, Turnitin, Office365, Clever etc. to function as an all-in-one solution, Google Classroom can be enhanced with only one additional product. Amplified IT’s Little SIS Premium was built to support Google Classroom and expands its effectiveness in the ability to delegate access controls, sync Classroom rosters and classes, assign co-teachers, automate Guardian sync jobs, and have teachers review, accept, decline, and merge SIS classes.

6. Google Drive can replace other 3rd party data storage options

As the adoption of 1:1 models expands, administrators are seeking tools to assist in monitoring and mitigating their domain’s past, present, and future storage usage. Services like Box, Dropbox, and Confluence are cloud content management and file-sharing systems popular among academic institutions. However, with Google Workspace for Education, it isn’t necessary to have any additional storage solution because of Google Drive*. Even options like OneDrive offer 1TB of storage per user, but there is a 100TB of pooled cloud storage included with the Education Standard edition. With the Teaching and Learning Upgrade institutions receive an additional 100 GB of storage per license and an additional 20 GB per license with Education Plus. Google’s CloudSearch makes Google Drive even more valuable. It allows you to search for items across all Google apps within the Workspace. Advanced search abilities exist so you can narrow your search by type, owner, or domain. Stored files can also be attached to or inserted into other Google apps and be synced offline with ease. 

*Note: Google will be imposing limitations on storage in July 2022. You can get greater insight into how and where domain storage is being used with Gopher for Drive, a FREE tool that was collaboratively developed by Amplified IT at the request of the Google team to support data insights.

7. Barracuda users can save money moving email security to one platform

Every institution has experienced an administrator, teacher, or student receiving and opening a suspicious email that compromised the security of their digital infrastructure. You need a secure domain to protect sensitive data. Google Workspace for Education mitigates the need for limited security tools like Barracuda. Barracuda is a spam/malware filtering and message backup/archiving solution often used for email services. In comparison, Google Workspace is equipped with robust spam filtering capabilities that are built directly into Gmail and allows you to configure content compliance and routing rules to add granularity for domain users based on their placement in the OU and Google Groups. Google Workspace takes email security a step further by including the security sandbox in the Education Standard and Education Plus editions. The security sandbox provides a safe environment to test suspicious emails for potential threats. Emails and their attachments are opened in the Security sandbox under a variety of conditions to assess if it attempts to deploy malware and, if it does, it is placed under quarantine to keep the domain safe. 

8. Saving time and resources while keeping up with one platform

Maintaining a variety of 3rd party edtech tools requires four things: a large technology budget, an extensive onboarding plan, robust integrations, and knowledgeable staff. Many institutions, especially public ones, are not endowed with expendable budgets for monolithic solutions. With Google Workspace, administrators are only paying for and adopting one platform with 19 apps bundled together rather than having to manage multiple product invoices and onboarding processes. Because the tools are designed to be intuitive and flexible, they are easy to learn and meaning that technical staff and instruction staff can invest less time training in how to use them. 

When institutions consolidate technology, the technology becomes more cohesive and efficiently managed, and administrators, teachers, and students have a better user experience. As a Google Premier Partner and a reseller of Google Workspace for Education, Amplified IT has served 4,500 institutions by helping them consolidate technology with Google Workspace editions and our suite of supportive products and services.

To discover how replacing your undeserving tools with Google Workspace for Education will provide greater value to your institution’s teaching and learning environment, contact an account manager to start a FREE trial of your best fit edition

  • Stephen Gale
    Technical Support Analyst

  • About the Author:

    Stephen lives in Utah and enjoys the puzzle of investigating users’ problems and finding potential solutions. A recovering/reformed gamer, Stephen throws himself into his passion for staying on top of all things Chrome OS and Chromebook related. Prior to joining Amplified IT, Stephen served as a network admin in a therapeutic boarding school and an IT director, where he implemented Google Workspace for Education. Stephen has studied computer science and security at Weber State University, Western Governors University. A self-anointed honor, Stephen likes Chromebooks more than almost anyone else in the world.