Why did you choose the Google GSuite Ecosystem over the Microsoft Office 365 Education Ecosystem? It just does not make sense. You already were using Windows Machines. With the newest version of Office, you can share documents just like Google Docs just with more features, same for PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, etc. With Windows 10 S computers rolling out, and with a similar price tag to Chromebooks, you should convert from the Google GSuite ecosystem to the Microsoft Office 365 Experience. It includes Microsoft Forms, All Office Programs, OneDrive, Microsoft Classroom and more. It just seems silly that you would have Microsoft Windows be on the desktops but have ChromeOS on the Laptops. With this, you could completely abandon having to host your own server “F:\ Drive” for student and staff personal drives because it could ALL be stored in the cloud so that we could access ALL of our files from the Laptop and Desktop at home and of course at school. Instead of a new Wave of Chromebooks, you could completely abandon the Ecosystem and change to a wave of Windows 10 S Computers. Windows 10 S is similar to ChromeOS with blocking the ability to download programs “apps” (except from the Windows Store). It has the best features of Windows Built in like the Windows Ink Workspace and the Start Menu. Some relatively cheap Windows 10 S Laptops even have touchscreen capabilities which would unlock a whole new level of creativity within students and could have many applications in classes such as art. Some of the laptops can even have the keyboard flip around and turn into a tablet. Which would be useful if you needed to use the device while holding it. This would reduce the risk of it dropping. That is why I believe Shenendehowa should Transition to the Microsoft Ecosystem. (Please do not respond with “Talk to your Teacher”, or “Talk to your Principal” or “Thanks for your feedback!”, etc.)

Written by on December 8, 2017 in Grapevine

A.  In 2013, the district investigated cloud based solutions including and Google Apps for Education and Microsoft 365.  At the time Office 365 was an emerging product and several of the features that currently make it competitive with G-Suites for Education were not available at that time.  We did run a brief pilot of Office 365 in 2012-13 but  Google Apps for Education (now G-Suites for Education) was a much more mature product at the time.  Microsoft 365 also required multiple load balanced on premise servers for user authentication while Google Apps for Education was managed through a cloud platform.  Furthermore, Chromebooks were readily available and fully supported the integrated Google solution. 

Over the past 4 years MS 365 has evolved adding features that were missing and recently a new light duty version of Windows 10 was released that can run on inexpensive devices.  While these enhancements are interesting and have been considered, Shenendehowa has roughly 7,000 Chromebooks deployed in grades 4-12 and invested in thousands of hours of professional development for staff.  Furthermore, Google has continued to improve G-Suites for Education Chromebook offerings range from a traditional non-touch laptop to convertible touch screen devices that run both Chrome OS and Android Apps.