DeKALB – A school district being recognized as a Google for Education Reference District has a number of perks, such as gaining early access to new software and other classroom resources.
But what about budget benefits? According to Ben Bayle, chief technology officer for DeKalb School District 428, the district could save about $250,000 in storage costs because of its standing as an education reference district, which it received last year.
Google for Education Reference Districts have demonstrated excellence and thought leadership through the use of technology to generate positive learning.
Because of this recognition, District 428 now uses a free cloud-based storage system through Google Drive. Assuming each students from third through 12th grade require five gigabytes of storage each year on their Chromebook devices, that amounts to about 250 terabytes worth of storage covered by Google.
“We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars [in savings] having a storage solution that’s redundant and free from Google,” Bayle said. “Having a cloud-based software as a service with zero cost is basically unheard of.”
Bayle said that from a curriculum perspective, the use of Chromebooks and G Suite for Education provides offline capabilities for students and saves on instruction time by not forcing teachers to schedule time in a computer lab that may have aging systems.
“The collaborative nature of Google takes away barriers and enables students and staff to work together, extending learning beyond our four walls,” Bayle said.
In addition to the savings, District 428 gains access to new technology, such as an augmented reality program introduced at Founders Elementary School last month.
District officials also get asked to attend conferences and talking circles with Google to gain input on what programs are working. This work is then shared with other school districts wishing to be more innovative with technology, Bayle said.
“The ultimate goal is that you want students to leave being critical thinkers and problem solvers and this gives them a leg up,” he said. “Who knows what jobs they may be able to have now.”