Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Over at Electric Educator (linked to on the right), blogger and teacher John Sowash had a post recently about the advantages of using iGoogle to replace school planners.

It makes me feel queasy.

Full disclosure: Blogspot (the platform for this blog) is Google-owned and yes, I have a gmail account. Sharing documents on googledocs can make life easy. I "google" questions several times a day. Google creates a lot of wonderful products.

But. Google is also a huge corporation, trading today at $531 per share.

I have no problem with individuals using Google, but that seems different to me from having teachers require students to put their work into systems that are owned by a huge, for-profit corporation. Are we in danger of Googlewashing?

What do you think? What are the benefits? What are the issues? If we had to pay for it, what would it be worth?


  1. Last time I checked McGraw Hill was a for profit company and many of our schools force students to use their textbooks. What about your school pictures? Are non profits taking those pics for your students? I could go on and on.

    When I look at a possible solution for a problem or a new idea to enhance the student learning in the classroom, I don't look at which companies will be profiting. Nor do I care about the size of the companies. If anything, I'm looking to which company provides quality support and resources.

    Even though Google is a for profit corporation, they provide many things for education for FREE (Google Sketch Up Pro, Google Apps, and Google Earth Pro).

  2. Hi Ruth,

    You ask some questions that might be in a few minds out there. But, how many school districts spend thousands of dollars on technology subscription services for what they call educational products. Some of these products are horrible, yet districts still spend money on them.

    For my disclosure, I am a Google Certified Teacher, use Google Products regularly, and have switched my school over to Google Apps for Education. My question is why not? Microsoft and Apple are in it for the money and we have used their products in schools for a long time. I look at technology as a great way to provide extra educational tools to take our students to the next level. If I can find a free product, Google or otherwise, that provides that service, I will try my best to use it in my classroom to add to my students' education.

    I would like to think that an educator would want to use any tool that will help with the education of our students, If it comes from a huge company or from a individual down the street.

    Thank you Ruth for posting this question. I hope you have made people think about why we use technology in the classroom.

    Danny Silva
    GTADC 09

  3. I agree with Andy and iteachag. We shouldn't demonize for-profit organizations just because Education is a (primarily) non-profit venture. If we take that anti-profit path, what are we left with? I might be able to design my own web page, but I definitely can't solder my own computer hardware.

    We SHOULD ask questions about features, security, privacy, and sustainability. Just because Google is big and popular doesn't mean it's the best tool for the job.

    I haven't seen a better tool, yet, but that's a different blog post.

  4. Your post has sparked an important debate. "Google Worship" is something that I am very wary of, especially given my Google Certified Teacher title. I support the company because they produce tremendously useful products. If they make money of of me in the process, so be it, I'm glad to support their ingenuity. If a better alternative exists, then I'll switch to that product. I don't believe in "Google for Google's sake."

    Thanks for the link and for sparking a fun discussion.

  5. I think you're being a Nervous Nellie.

  6. Google is a great FREE tool that students can use at home or at school. I see nothing wrong with using a tool that helps students stay organized and that they will use in their future