Google Apps pries young minds away from Microsoft

New training programs for education are laying the foundation for Google’s advance into schools.

This week, at the 2010 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Denver, Colorado, Google will be showcasing a range of training solutions that schools can use to develop and ehance their use of Google Apps. The Google Apps in Education program helps educators work their way towards qualification as a Google Apps Certified Trainer or Partner, irrespective of the organization’s size or budget, thereby opening up the program for broader adoption.

Today, Iowa and Colorado joined Oregon in offering Google Apps to local school districts. Google is touting a number of advantages to its approach, thinly veiled against the traditional pay and play Microsoft approach. First, there is the cost factor. Yah, Google! Secondly, Google sees its online focus as allowing educators to better collaborate and work together online. And, it is paperless which means that your dog can never be accused of eating the Internets and your homework with it.

Google claims to have over 4 million students using Google Apps Education around the world. JeffCo Public Schools, for example, the largest school district in Colorado, and a Google Apps Education user, has 85,000 students. Growing generations are becoming comfortable with Web based applications and having their stuff reside in the cloud. If anything, with mobile computing devices becoming the dominant form factor, it is less very unlikely that the next generation is going to ever have to buy an application on disk, or load a piece of software through an external drive.

One other thing of note about the Google Apps Education service that stands out is the level of support Google provides or the program. It is obviously not an afterthought nor is it a marketing gimmick. Check out the Microsoft UK upgrade option for students below. Today is the last day for the offer, I think so, you may not find it again. Makes you wonder why we have to pay so much for the damn stuff at other times. You hear me, Microsoft?