Google has made another significant inroad into UK education. The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has adopted Google Apps for Education for all of its email, messaging, calendar and collaborative document needs. It says it is the first UK university to take the step although it is understood that Leeds Metropolitan University is also well on the way.

Add this to the two schools already known to be using apps in the UK – Olchfa, in Wales, and Cottenham Village College, in Cambridgeshire (links below) - and Google already has an effective clutch of case studies to show the step-change improvement in communications and collaborative tools available to schools free of charge. Depending on the size of the institution the savings can clearly be massive.

This is what SOAS has to say: “The advantages of the Google solution, as identified by the SOAS technology department and user groups throughout the School are an improved email system; electronic calendaring for the first time at SOAS; shared document creation and editing for staff and students; and eventually Google Chat functionality to provide more accessible tutorial support for students.”

Now six projects are also being run across the University of London’s Bloomsbury Colleges to look at how Google Apps can engage academics and students (nearly 30,000 of them) in learning, teaching administration and research. APT STAIRS stands for Appropriate and Practical Technologies for Students, Teachers, Administrators and Researchers and is being funded by JISC, which means Google is being taken seriously at the very highest level in higher education. You can read more at Andy Black’s Blog (link below).


School of Oriental and African Studies

Leeds Metropolitan University

STAIRS Project (Andy Black’s Blog)

Schools on Google (Guardian)


Google Apps discussion group