TCPS has gone Google
by Special to the Banner
Nov 10, 2013 | 1137 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tennessee Christian Preparatory School leadership has spent several years reviewing and discussing the best choice for a technology platform for students and faculty.

“The choice for us was a no-brainer. We talked with consultants, attended seminars and spoke with other school leaders who had already wrestled with the issue of choosing a technology plan. For our purposes the Google Apps for Education was by far the best choice,” according to Bill Balzano, TCPS president.

As a school whose mission includes preparing students for college, TCPS administrators determined they could not waste valuable time and resources on mere gadgets.

Google Apps for Education allows teachers to provide best-in-class, cloud-based resources for each student.

Balzano explained, “Seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year’s top 100 U.S. universities (as determined by 2013 U.S. News and World Report’s ranking) have gone Google with Google Apps for Education.

In addition Google Chrome is in 22 percent of all U.S. school districts. When TCPS students graduate and continue to the next phase of their education, the faculty desire for them to know more than how to play Minecraft or Facetime with their friends. Google Apps provides the tools for collaborative research, writing documents, advanced worksheets and mathematical problem solving, presentations, websites, data collection, and the presentation of data.

“TCPS students will enter colleges knowing how to navigate and be productive with their professors, assignments, and connections to the outside business world platform.”

According to Pete Cuison, TCPS IT faculty, “We considered the impact of choosing Google Apps over a more typical Microsoft-based environment of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Our Google Apps for Education platform is fully robust and compatible for all versions of Microsoft Office and even offers superior collaboration and accessibility.”

Audri Wood, Upper School principal, related, “We recognize that technology breaks, personal computers get infected with malware, and expensive tablets are, at best forgotten, and at worst stolen or damaged. Google Apps for Education renders the technical platform abstract — the Google experience for our students works on any device, through any browser, from any connected network. Catastrophic events or accidents are remedied in seconds and our faculty is able to focus precious time teaching and sharing instead of configuring and setting up computer resources.

“Google Apps for Education allows our students and faculty advanced computing resources with minimal investment. We have no servers to buy or maintain and are still able to control and maintain a level of data security and integrity required of an education system.

“Our Google Apps for Education accounts are available safely at both home and school. Google Apps technology is device and location agnostic.

“The students access their assignments, documents, presentations, and such at the TCPS campus, at home, or anywhere from their notebook, smartphone, or tablet. Data is automatically backed up and stored in cloud and the TCPS staff is free from capital-intensive back up hardware and timely data replacement strategies,” states Balzano.

With policies that are safely maintained “in the cloud,” the TCPS staff provides safe Internet resources to each student and at age-appropriate levels.

When the youngest students are ready, they are provided an email address that allows them safe access to TCPS resources and the collaborative tools to work with their teachers and peers.

These email addresses are safely confined to the TCPS domain and allows our students to be introduced to the powerful tools without the risk of outside spam and other dangers.

As students progress, faculty can continue to safely manage and grow their access until they are fully engaged as a trusted student of one of the top independent schools in the Southeast.