In an apparent bid to enroll users while they’re young, both Google and Microsoft have deployed free online app suites that help schools facilitate learning in their establishments. Both G Suite for Education and Office 365 Education have free and premium versions, but to keep things simple, this post will only focus on the former.Let’s examine them: G Suite or Office 365 for Education?
Note: In aspects where apps are similar, descriptions will be shared. Differences, on the other hand, will be kept separate from one another. Google’s will be listed first, then Microsoft’s.
Communications tools that connect teachers, students, and admin staff with each other
● Email – Everyone from the students to the faculty to admin staff are given email accounts. ○ Gmail offers up to 30 GB of free mailbox space. ○ Outlook offers up to 50 GB of free mailbox space. ● Calendar – Teachers can set schedules for quizzes and send invites for one-on-one coaching, while students can exhibit initiative by setting up group study sessions, rehearsals, etc. ○ G Suite for Education has ,b>Calendar. ○ Office 365 Education has a similar calendar that’s integrated in Outlook. ● Classroom collaboration – Both Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams let educators manage coursework for an entire semester and more. They can upload course materials, disseminate class assignments, grade students’ work, and provide personalized feedback to each pupil. ● Special interest forums – These let users set up digital spaces for people involved in group projects, clubs, and the like. ○ Groups lets users create and take part in forums that facilitate group learning and bonding over common interests. ○ Yammer is a social networking app that enables school-wide information dissemination as well as the creation of communities of shared interest. ● Voice and video conferencing – Online instruction can be broadcast live so that people outside the classroom can join in the learning experience. ○ Hangouts Meet’s free version is limited to US-based users and only allows dial-in access to meetings. ○ Voice and video conferencing features are included in Microsoft Teams, Stream, and Yammer. No location limitation is noted in Microsoft’s literature.
Apps for creating and working together on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. ● Documents et al – These apps let you create text documents, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentations. ○ Docs, Sheets, Slides are streamlined productivity apps that allow users to share feedback and work together on files. ○ Word, Excel, PowerPoint have extra features such as image editing and in-document chat. ● Notebooks – These are like paper notebooks, except that the former can also connect to networks. ○ [G Suite for Education has no notebook app] ○ OneNote allows students to gather information in a free-form manner, much like with a regular paper notebook, except that they can also take pictures and collaborate in real-time with their classmates. ● Online Forms – Educators can use these to create information-gathering forms (such as application forms), surveys, and quizzes. ○ Forms by Google features machine learning that helps users to analyze responses. ○ Forms by Microsoft makes quizzes self-grading via automation. ● Websites – Teachers and students alike can build their own websites without having to know code. ○ Sites is an easy-to-use web builder that lets users create and collaborate on websites without ever needing technical skills. ○ Sway is a souped-up hybrid of Word and PowerPoint that allows users to create richly designed documents and share them as URLs. Great for adding storytelling aspects to lectures and doing show-and-tell presentations.
Apps that let users store and access files ● Cloud storage – Both Google and Microsoft offer unlimited data storage capacity. ○ Vault and Admin lets admins add users and devices, as well as configure settings for implementing data security protocols. ○ School Data Sync enables admins to migrate data from their Student Information System onto Office 365 so that class rosters are easily configured for Microsoft Teams and that many Office 365 tools, such as OneNote Class notebooks, are quickly generated for such rosters.
Added-value apps In this section, only Microsoft has apps: ● Flow for workflow automation – This lets teachers and school admin create workflows and automate repetitive tasks. For instance, instead of having to keep vigil over their inboxes, teachers can simply set notifications for when students submit their paperwork. Another use case is of admins helping students collate complete portfolios of their projects upon graduation. ● PowerApps for custom app development – Schools can build their very own custom apps without having to write even one line of code.
By looking at this comparison, we can easily see that G Suite is the more streamlined collection of apps between the two. Since both suites are free (with the option to upgrade to paid premium versions), your school will have to decide if you want to use Google’s simpler system or Microsoft’s more feature-heavy offering. At the end of the day, it depends on what your establishment needs.
To help you decide and implement your choice of cloud-based education tools, turn to SimplyClouds. Let our experts examine your needs and come up with a strategy that lets your entire school transition smoothly and securely towards a highly digital environment.