If you've ever met me, you'll know I'm a big fan of using G Suite for Education in class. G Suite (or Google Apps as they used to be known) is a collection of apps and software that can be used on any device to type, present, make maps and graphs and a million other things.
One of the questions we’re asked most often is whether schools should use G Suite (Google) or Office 365 (Microsoft). There’s never a perfect answer to that question, both software packages do a reasonable job and each one has its advantages.
Personally, we much prefer using G Suite in primary schools because it’s so easy to use (especially for collaboration) and Google Classroom is the most useful piece of software we’ve ever come across. It truly is fantastic!
On the other hand, Office 365 has always been a part of Hwb and therefore there’s no need for you to set up accounts for all your pupils – everything has been done for you by Hwb. If you’re not ready for the challenge of setting up Google accounts for your school, and don’t feel like paying someone to do it on your behalf, Office 365 is ready for you. There’s also the fact that, unlike G Suite, Office 365 is available in Welsh.
Things are about to change however. Hwb announced late last year that G Suite for Education is coming to the platform in 2018. Whilst they originally hoped to have it in place by Easter, there's been no recent announcements so I wouldn't be suprised to see them wait for summer. This means that there will automatically be Office 365 and G Suite accounts created for every pupil and staff member. Google have also confirmed that they are translating all their core apps and services into Welsh.
As far as we are concerned, this is a very positive step by Hwb. It lets schools choose which platform they find best, without having to spend days setting anything up themselves. Some schools may even be confident enough to use both software platforms, giving their pupils the choice!
The other half of Hwb's announcements was that the much maligned Hwb+ will be killed off this summer. I have to be honest hear, I'm glad. Hwb+ was always behind the times, often glitchy and was never worth the investment of money (by the government) and of time (by teachers). Whilst some teachers will be annoyed that they've spent a lot of time learning how to use it, only for it now to disappear but, from my experiences, most schools were already ignoring it.
If you are one of the schools who have been using Hwb+, here are some instructions as to how to take your data off the platform before you lose it:
- Exporting files or folders from Hwb+ (pdf)
- Exporting blog posts from Hwb+ to Excel (pdf)
- Using Explorer View to manage files (pdf)
So Hwb are introducing a brilliant new platform and deleting an old, misfiring one. I've got to applaud them for that, they have clearly listened to their schools and teachers and are improving their offering. I can't wait to see what G Suite looks like on Hwb now.