Currently I am trying to upgrade the current system we have in school. So I am thinking that a good education app should be used.
After doing my homework I came across Google Apps for Education and Microsofts Apps for Education, which are almost the same things with a few differences. But I am not sure what to choose, as none of the two fits all my requirements. The support for devices using that system should be universal as the school won't be able to provide a device for each student/teacher from the get go – until we can do that, we have to support a "bring your own device" approach. But neither will prove difficult to integrate that, as they run on the cloud already. That said, most devices in the school are based on Windows and a few are Mac OS X (almost no one uses their phone strictly for work so that can come as secondary)
What I am trying to do is facilitate the use of technology in the daily life of the school for both educators and administrators. For example, I am looking to migrate our storage to the cloud (using either Google Drive or One/Sky Drive), centralize documents use (instead of using multiple types of programs, everyone does that over the cloud as well – e.g. with Office 365 or Google Docs). A reliable e-mail system (e.g. Outlook Online or Gmail). On top of that I am looking at the management side of things; what I mean here is the Chrome Admin Panel vs Windows Intune. I want to make things easy to manage things, deploy, control and track the devices. That is generally, however, I am also looking at a content management/class management system (Google Classroom comes to mind or Microsoft's OneNote). I hope this is specific enough.
The idea behind these apps is to get two things done:
as an IT department, we'd be able to manage the devices – push updates, restrict access dependent on users, remote troubleshooting, etc.
Allow teachers to use technology to make things easier for them.
For example, Google Forms could be used to create quizzes and test for students. OneNote from Office 365 could let students take real time notes (using stylus or keyboard) while the teacher can access what they are doing from their device. The teacher can push tailored tasks/projects/lessons/content/etc.. to students (i.e. differentiation in education) – this is something e.g. Google Classroom can do.
What I want
I'd like one set of apps (for example either use Google Apps or Microsoft Apps) to support the above needs or at least 90% of it while another set of apps could support what is missing without having the users to feel they are transitioning between systems – if you know what do I mean.
Please recommend a good educational app, which could be either of the above mentioned. Also, mention the merits and demerits of each. If someone has a personal experience (administering either of the above system) I'd love to know their experience.
And in case you are making multiple recommendations, please post them as different answers, so we can do the votings, flagging and the discussions conveniently for each recommendation.
Thank you very much in advance. :)
I have checked the trial for Office 365 and Windows Intune and unfortunately they are both not free for Education purposes and they are quite high priced (if I buy Office 365 Pro Plus I get Windows Intune free and I use the free Office 365 I have to pay $6 per user per month). The figures are big considering a school. I am leaning more to Google Apps for Education for the entire of the teacher-student interaction and classroom experience. I am still looking for a Management System that will allow me to manage a BYOD at a low cost. Anyone knows anything that is affordable for schools?