Our district is currently looking at going to a free email hosted solution with the capability for online storage and document creation.  We are looking at these two.  

I am finding that Microsoft has recently put a lot of resources into their platform and it looks pretty interesting.

 

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/education/liveedu-grows-evolves-into-offi...

 

Has anyone made this decision/comparison recently?  I would love to hear what you all have to say. 

Tags: apps, google, live@edu

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Information on Office365:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/liveatedu/learn-about-office-365.aspx?loca...

 

Information on Google Apps Education:

 

http://k12guide.googleapps.com/

Wow! Great discussion here.

 

I have limited experience with Live@edu, but I have been impressed with what I've seen. Still, I'm hesitant to head that way because it's fairly new and unproven. I don't want to knock Microsoft off-hand because the Bill Gates Foundation really does a lot, but I have concerns. Specifically, Microsoft tends to start charging fees for a lot of their tools, while Google has always been free and open for teachers. Also, Microsoft has a vested interest in keeping things tied to Windows, while Google apps generally play nice with all OS. Plus, Google tends to be on the cutting edge, and they are often the first to release and perfect tools for classroom use.

 

Lastly, Google apps are now used in a ton of colleges and professional atmospheres, so experience with them could be a huge plus for students when they move beyond your school.

 

Please let us know what you decide!

Good luck.

Katy Scott

Stretch Your Digital Dollar

Your thoughts very much echo mine. When I hear "cutting edge" I do not automatically think Microsoft. I also think providing students with opportunities to work in different platforms is good, but it's a hard sell here in my district. The online storage at Microsoft is huge. I suspect Google is working on competing in this realm, but so far, nothing. :(

 

Thanks for contributing.

I have been piloting Google Docs for Education at our middle school this year and we are quite pleased. You can find links to our technology policy at http://wrsmail.net .
Are any Schools using third party vendors to help with the deployment or to add management features to their Google Apps deployment?

I know that our IT department has been having conversations with a third party to help with our migration when the whole district switches.  I will see if I can get you some more information on that. 

The article "a fact based comparison of Hosting services" from Microsoft gives Microsoft's side of the comparison, like anything from a vendor, to be taken with a grain of salt. It is accurate, but slanted toward if you are mainly focused on email and if you are an IT person rather than an educator. 

 

Having spent some time working with both(am a certified google apps trainer) so here are some of the key "gotchas" I've hit for both.

 

Google Cons

  • Does not allow for any kind of delegated administration
  • Limited tools/features for administration of very large domains (address book limited to 20,000 users)
  • Postini can be rather confusing
  • Document format conversion is weak
  • Cannot create long (45 page +) documents (actual length depends on file size and embedded images)
  • Business model (Majority (95%) of business model is based on selling ads, at least with Microsoft I understand what their ulterior motive for giving away free stuff is)
  • No good offline support



Google Pros:

  • It is what most educators would choose
  • Strong document collaboration and site creation tools
  • Ease of use
  • Partnerships/support for Gaggle 3rd party filtering / tools
  • Very strong, vibrant online community of users
  • Lots of training, certification program
  • Integrators
  • 3rd Party marketplace that leverages google account credentials
  • non-core google apps like reader, blogger etc.. (also a con as there is noo admin/district control over these)

 

Microsoft (live and to some extent 365 and technically office web apps if you host your own sharepoint)

Pros:

  • #1 reason----web based one note
  • Strong document format fidelity
  • Offline support via (paid) client apps
  • Lots of storage
  • Interesting partnership with ePals (schoolmail 365)
  • Office 365 includes additional tools like Linc and (for better or worse) sharepoint

 

Cons

  • Timing, Live@EDU is being replace by 365 over the summer/fall-makes it hard to plan for next year
  • Its Microsoft so the product is revised in traditional waterfall "waves"
  • ONLY  EMAIL can be set as a "walled garden" there is no way to limit document share like can be done in google docs to only within the domain
  • Synchronous editing requires office client (except for excel)
  • Opaque, much harder to find out information about Live than GoogleEDU (would you think to go to http://outlookliveanswers.com/forums/)
Thank you so much for this--it really helps! OneNote is a big draw for me, too. I'm glad you pointed out how difficult it really is to get info about Live. That's why I finally turned to his forum. I was getting really frustrated with the lack of info. PLUS, there's the fact that you really can't as easily "test drive" Live the way you can the Google Apps.

Jim,

Regarding your MS Pro #1 reason, does web based OneNote now support ink.  We are huge users of OneNote as part of our Tablet PC 1:1 program in grades 6-12.  We just switched to Google Apps for our email last week but considered live@edu for a bit during early planning because of OneNote.  At the time, lack of ink support in OneNote web killed that as a major advantage for use.  Has that changed?
Sadly no ink, shapes, audio or tag as far as I can tell.

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