Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Google Doc's Vs. Office 365

Last Tuesday's session was an extremely interesting one. I loved actually getting to work together on on-line documents and testing out the software first hand. After the session I was convinced of it's value, but had to start to weigh the benefits against what our school division has to offer. The school division is using Microsoft Office 365 as a comparable software to Google Docs.

I decided to wait on posting this because I wanted to talk to a couple people in the technology department at Regina Catholic. I talked to two people directly, our supervisor of IT and our supervisor or digital design. After talking with them here was some information that I came across that I thought was important for me to weigh when looking at the software I was going to use with my students:

  • Microsoft Operating Systems, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Office 365 were all purchased by the Ministry for school division use.
  • For a school division to use Google Docs and google to house student accounts there is significant corporate fee.
  • Just because it was free didn't mean our school division just jumped right into 365. The IT spent significant time doing a comparison of the two products (Docs and 365). Google docs was ahead of it's time 3 years ago. However with the newest version of Office 365 there was no significant differences in functionality. Microsoft had taken the best of Docs and incorporated it into 365.
  • Using Google Docs as a corporation as opposed to 365 would result in significant back end problems with the technology department. It just doesn't have the complexity of the Microsoft software. This includes security features.
  • Using Google docs is certainly an option separate from the school division, as it has many great features. A hindrance to this is that google docs users need to be 13 years of age. If they are not they require parental permission. A lot of extra work for teachers to get no extra functionality out of the software.
  • The student accounts in my division are now linked through Microsoft 365 and sharing files, collaborating on-line on a document, and emailing them all is only clicks away and all this software is supported by our IT.
In the end I love google docs and the pioneering they did in this area. However, it doesn't make sense to use docs when 365 does everything I need it to......

Google Doc lovers, let me know what I'm missing and change my mind in the comments!

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