As schools and districts continue to debate the best course to reach a 1:1 device goal, one big question mark continues to be how Google Apps for Education will fit the model. To simplify the big question, most schools are debating between just a few devices: iPads (or iPad minis), Google Chromebooks, Microsoft Surface tablets, Apple laptops, or PC laptops. There are many considerations between these that will not be discussed here, Suffice it to say that iPads are the market leader for many reasons. Sure, some of the other options are more cost-effective or more powerful than Apple’s tablet, but the ease in use, the ease in multiple device management, and the sheer multitude of education apps make it a very popular choice despite its cost.
The problem with schools who hitched on to the Google Apps bandwagon early is that they face a difficult quandary. Do we ditch the Google products our teachers and students know how to use well for different and less collaborative tools on the iPad? For years, Apple and Google didn’t play well together, and using Google Apps became bulky and frustrating on an iPad. Hence, Chromebooks became popular devices, despite their shortcomings, as a great device in Google Schools.
Enter Google Apps…apps. In the past year, Apple and Google have collaborated to support dedicated apps (from the app store) for Docs, Sheets (Spreadsheet), and very recently, Slides (Presentation). The three most used tools in the Google Drive suite now have their own dedicated iOS apps, which allow for full editing and sharing, collaborative interaction, and a host of other useful functions more or less absent or at best, shoddy on the previous Drive app.
What’s important to note here is that these three apps, in concert with a revamped Drive app, essentially make iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad a perfect fit for Google schools as well. If the use of Google Apps was a major roadblock in deciding to go with iPads, there is no longer a roadblock. Google schools can now be iPad schools as well, which may just be the best bang for the buck.
For certain, there is plenty of room for debate here, but it’s certain that these few apps will change the way we think of using Google docs on an iPad.