Productivity Suites – Get them when they’re young and sell their data.

Productivity Suites are programs to help people create, organize, and present items. In education teachers use these to create documents, activities, presentation, and worksheets. Students in high school anyway, use these programs for very similar purposes programs like presentations, and differently by writing papers, answering questions, making visuals and more.  

I only thought of these tools as supports for my students and I; tools for success! I am finding more and more students are struggling to write with paper and pencil. Hence, some students do the work digitally by typing or using speech to text on google docs. When they are creating, I love how they can use google slides or docs and all have access to the same document. Makes for more efficient collaboration and group work. Google forms have been a wonderful program I use for exit slips or reflections. They don’t lose their reflection book! It is all saves automatically on their drive. I can upload their reflections onto a google sheets and see them all in one area. It makes it so much easier to mark; I am not hauling around 30 journals. Google classroom has also been wonderful how students can access the material at home when they miss school. The responsibility can be put on them to watch the lesson video,or read the material and try the worksheet at home. It helps me organize my semester as well! One issue is those kids that are already missing school because they don’t have a lot of support at home, or they have a lower economic status don’t have these privileges. They don’t have devices at home or wifi. So, these expectations are too much.

Wow that was a lot of mentioning of google programs. It has engulfed my classroom. Is this a bad thing? Are there issues?

Most definitely, is what I learned after our class this week. I have always wanted to work for people, serve the public and try to make a difference. I chose to be a teacher. I do not have a business-oriented mind, so I never thought about how even companies focused on making products to help people are still just trying to make money. They may disguise this but it is their number one priority. Hence, we need to be weary of Google and Microsoft companies’ intentions, as well as the fine print. A very smart ploy for companies is getting young customers for products. I recently have realised that the reason Scotiabank has great deals for university students, is to get them signed up right out of high school.  I remember liking that I could get points for free movies just for spending money. Twelve years later I am still with Scotiabank; they got me.

Google & Microsoft have been the front runners in technology suites for a very long time. In high school I still was writing mostly on paper, but into university all I had known was Microsoft, so I bought a Microsoft suite for my laptop. I created things on Microsoft publisher and wrote papers on Microsoft word. When I became a teacher, I still use these products for creation. My students as you read above are google users. Google was very smart to get themselves into schools. Kids will only know google moving into the workforce, therefore this is most likely what they will use into adulthood and pay for their products. A technology analyst, Mike Fisher stated for the New York Times “If you get someone on your operating system early, then you get that loyalty early, and potentially for life”.

As of now, I don’t believe Microsoft or Google has ill intent creating products to help students learn and grow, but at the end of the day they are a corporate company. Therefore another concern was around student data. New York Times said that Google says they don’t sell the data. The gmail and information is only collected to use the services . But, Google declined to provide a breakdown of the exact details the company collects from students use of its services. So many parents are concerned and think google should be more transparent about the information collection of their users.

Is it more helpful than harmful? I think time will tell.

Cailen Tribier