Google Apps for Education in Brookline Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is Google Apps for Education?

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a suite of online productivity and collaboration applications that allow Brookline students and teachers to work and collaborate in a secure space.

2. Who has access to a Google Apps for Education account?

Google Apps for Education accounts are being made available for Brookline staff and students in grades 3-12.  The rollout of Google Apps accounts will begin in the middle grades during the fall of 2014.

3. How will it be used?

Google Apps for Education provides staff and students with tools to create and collaborate in a secure environment. Students can work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time at school and at home. Google Apps for Education is meant to serve as an alternative to commercial Google applications.

4. What can students do with Google Apps?

With Google Apps, students have access to their documents, spreadsheets, and presentations at school and at home. Google Drive (included in Google Apps for Education), allows additional storage of other file types. Students can easily move from school to home without the need for USB storage devices or the emailing of attached documents. Perhaps most importantly, students and teachers can collaborate and comment on a single document.

5. What is Google Classroom?

Classroom is a new product in Google Apps for Education that enables teachers to send assignments, make announcements, and conduct question & answer with students.

Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.

6. Will students have access to a school email account?

The students will have a username in an email format (17smithj@psbma.org), although at this time, email functionality will be disabled for most students.  The username will allow students to collaborate on projects with classmates and share their work with teachers.

7. My child already has a Gmail account, why can't they use that one?

Google Apps for Education, though hosted by Google, allows The Public Schools of Brookline’s students and teachers to collaborate in a managed environment.  Students can develop a “professional” or “work” identity through psbma.org while maintaining a seperate personal Gmail identity. Unlike a personal Gmail account, Google Apps for Education is free of advertisements and allows Brookline to manage access to tools and settings by groups within the domain.

8. How will students access Brookline’s Google Apps for Education?  

After obtaining written parental permission, teachers and educational technology specialists will help students activate their GAFE account and set their password from a computer at school. Once a student has an active account, he or she may login at http://psbma.org or at http://www.google.com using his or her full Google Apps for Education login (username@psbma.org and password).

9. Are there any costs or fees?

Google Apps for Education is free for the Public Schools of Brookline.

10. Will Google Apps work on an Ipad?

Google Apps can be edited on iOS or Android devices.

11. How are students protected in GAFE?

The Google Apps Terms of Service agreement ensures that the Public Schools of Brookline (students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data.  The psbma.org domain of Google Apps is a closed domain and is not accessible to anyone outside of the domain. Additionally, Google also encrypts browser sessions to protect student data as it travels.

Learn more about Google Apps for Education security and privacy.

Google Apps is governed by a detailed privacy policy and terms of service. Google complies with applicable US privacy law, and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations.

12.  Has Google signed the Student Privacy Pledge?

Yes, Google has signed the Student Privacy Pledge. The pledge, introduced by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), is intended to safeguard student privacy regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information.

13. Why is Brookline doing this now?

Google Apps for Education will help students and staff collaborate and work efficiently in a secure environment. Additionally, GAFE will be used to teach Digital Citizenship skills in an authentic, but secure environment. Classes using GAFE will engage in ongoing conversations and embedded lessons on Digital Citizenship Skills including:

One of the goals of the implementation of GAFE is to help Brookline students become confident and capable users of 21st century technology.

14. How can I learn more about Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA); Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Brookline’s Responsible Use of Technology Policy.

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A copy of this document with active links is available online at www.psbma.org