Google Education announced another service targeting teachers across the globe. Google Educator Groups (GEG) is a program that wants to support communities of educators, online as well as offline and aiming to help teachers to learn, share, and inspire each other to meet the needs of their students through technology solutions, both in the classroom and beyond.
Google Educator Groups are essentially personal learning networks (PLN) that use Google+ as its backbone. The local GEGs are organized by volunteers and entirely independent from Google.
At launch there are 51 GEGs across the world with USA, Romania and the Czech Republic having the most local groups established. GEGs offer different activities to learn and share with like minded educators. Teachers connect online via discussions and Hangouts or in the real world through meetups, workshops and other events.
Google is currently pushing heavily into education. Besides getting more and more Chromebooks and Android based devices in the hands of students and teachers, Google is extending its SaaS offerings as well.
About a month ago Google announced a quasi LMS platform based on Google Apps for Education called Classroom. One aim of the GEGs is of course to get more educators into using Google’s Education suite in the classroom as one mission point states
- A place to share among many people about Google products for use in education
- A forum to share knowledge and help each other, open to any educator
By supporting GEGs Google hopes to build and encourage an atmosphere where Google technologies and open technology is not only accepted but encouraged in education, allowing students to embrace technology both in the classroom and the rest of their lives.
Microsoft is also on a mission to get its cloud based office products into schools. The company just recently signed agreements with Thailand and the Bahamas to offer its products to students and teachers free of charge to compete with Google’s free offerings.