IA schools to get new computer tools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

IA schools to get new computer tools

DES MOINES (KWWL)---Iowa's Area Education Agencies recently announced that they have entered into an exciting agreement with Google to provide all K-12 schools in Iowa with free access to Google Apps for Education. More than a half million students and educators will have the opportunity to be connected to a common e-mail, chat and calendar system, cloud collaboration tools, and multimedia tools that will enable them to work together and learn more effectively.

"Iowa's Area Education Agencies are proud to work with Google to bring these innovative tools to our classrooms.  As a former teacher, I can see how these tools will engage students, make the classroom a more vibrant place and allow teachers to work together more collaboratively," said Brent Siegrist, Director of Iowa AEA Services.

Iowa is the third state in the country to form a partnership with Google to provide Google Apps to teachers and students. In addition to providing support to public schools, Iowa will be the first to provide support to non-public schools.

Iowa AEA consultants will receive formal certification in Google Apps and participate in hands-on training. AEA consultants will then apply this training to help teachers in their local schools learn how to use Google Apps effectively in the classroom. In addition, the consultants will be just an e-mail or a phone call away to answer questions or to follow-up with implementation advice. Students and educators will be able to begin using their new tools as the 2010-2011 school year gets underway.

Schools that choose to use Google Apps will see a significant savings in their IT budgets, and most importantly, will be teaching students the skills they'll need to use these types of digital tools in the workplace.

"This exciting initiative gives us the opportunity to work with a central organization that reaches thousands of teachers and students in Iowa," said Jaime Casap, Google Apps Education Manager for Google Apps Education.

"Our schools already have established relationships with our consultants and trust their expertise with technology. There may be many schools that are already using Google Apps, but they can now be formally trained to use them and have consistency across their districts," Siegrist said.

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