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Ideas, News & Advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

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Written by Corey Tutewiler
on September 05, 2017

Earlier this year, Google announced that it has more than 70 million G Suite for Education users worldwide. This number has increased from 50 million in 2015, and the growth has not shown symptoms of decline.

For schools and districts interested in implementing G Suite for Education, we’ve already released a guide on implementation from a change management and educator perspective. But what about implementation from technical and safety points of view? Here are four important considerations when implementing G Suite for Education.

Domains

Do you have a single email domain for your users, or do you have users on separate domains or subdomains? Google is great about accommodating any option, but it’s important that you craft a plan ahead of time.

It’s highly recommended to use one G Suite account, regardless of how many domains you have. In other words, Google strongly cautions you not to create separate accounts/environments for multiple domains. End users will experience limitations in how they can interact with users in other G Suite environments.

Account Provisioning & Organizational Units (OU)

There are several ways for you to provision accounts. Visit Google’s setup guide to read about the benefits, costs and additional notes on each of the following provisioning methods.

  • Manual provisioning
  • CSV upload
  • Google Apps Directive Sync (GADS)
  • Provisioning partners (who use Directory API)
  • Directory API

Moreover, it is always prudent to avoid complicating your OU structure more than necessary. Overzealous administrators will sometimes create numerous OUs, despite the lack of necessity in doing so. If you manage your OUs accurately, less work now can also mean less work later. Only create rules when users will need different filtering or rules applied to their accounts (e.g. educators versus students, high school versus elementary school).

Retention

Be sure that you research local and state regulations for email and file retention, and seek legal counsel if necessary. If you have documentation regarding how long data should be retained, make sure that you have the provisions in place to meet those requirements.

Safety

Last but not least, if accounts are allocated for students, you’ll need to be sure that you have provisions in place for students safety. Just like your playground, this learning environment can be troubled by bullying, nudity and sexual content, mentions of drug and alcohol use and even mentions of abuse and suicide. G Suite for Education doesn’t provide sufficient or feasible measures of ensuring student safety, so you will need something in place in order to protect students, as well as your school or district.

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