DepEd leaps into cloud with Google app tie-up

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[/caption] At a press briefing at the DepEd central office in Pasig, officials from the education department and Google announced the availability of cloud-based e-mail, chat, and calendar system (Gmail, Google Talk and Google Calendar), as well as cloud collaboration tools (Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Groups) to teachers and personnel of the agency. The accounts are being given free of charge, with employees having the option to use it as long as they want. The same cloud service is offered by Google to commercial establishments for $50 per license. DepEd, along with local Google partner Orange & Bronze, will conduct training sessions for the DepEd employees on how to use the cloud apps in key cities of the country starting next week. The DepEd is the second department of the government to go into the cloud after the Department of Budget and Management. The collaboration with Google is limited only to public school teachers and DepEd employees, according to the agency. DepEd secretary Armin Luistro remarked during the launch that the cloud apps will complement the computerization program being undertaken by the agency. ?By next year, 100 percent of public high schools in the country will have computer laboratories, while 79 percent elementary schools will have their own PC labs as well,? said Luistro. ?However, all these investments in hardware are useless if we have no application and solutions which our teachers can use. That?s why this project is very important,? said Luistro. Luistro said the DepEd is not bothered by concerns of having its data hosted in an offshore data center. ?Most our education modules are in the public domain anyway, so there?s no reason to be alarmed,? he said. DepEd assistant secretary Reynaldo Laguda said the cloud apps could also serve as a way for teachers and DepEd personnel to increase their digital literacy. ?The DepEd is a huge and complex bureaucracy. With this initiative, we are somehow teaching a big elephant to dance tinikling,? said Laguda, alluding to former IBM CEO Lou Gertsner’s book, “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?” which detailed IBM’s historic transformation in the mid-90s. Samuel Cheung, Google Apps supporting program regional manager for Google South East Asia, said the project address two key areas in its strategy — access and education. ?Providing access to information and education is central to what we do, so it?s very exciting to see this happening at scale in the Philippines with this national project,? he said.]]>

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