Educational Applications: Office 365 app backup and
G Suite Backup
Google apps for education backup; You will agree that education in schools is no longer confined within the four walls of a classroom.
With the advancement of technology, the demand for “anytime, anywhere” access to information is justifiable for schools and other educational institutes.
Schools have started offering collaborative access to many cloud apps and file storage services (including Office 365 app backup) for their teachers as well as students. And two of the best known cloud-based productivity tools for education are Microsoft O365 Education and Google Apps for Education (GAFE).
You are bound to be confused while opting for either of these as your school’s preferred cloud productivity application suite. To help you make an informed decision, we carry out an in-depth comparison of the features and products offered by GAFE as well as Microsoft O365.
Comparison of Basic Features
|Browser||Google Chrome||Internet Explorer or Edge|
|Gmail||Exchange Online or Outlook|
|Drive Storage||Google Drive||OneDrive|
|Third-party Extensions||Google Classroom||Teacher Dashboard|
|Instant Messaging||Google Talk||Skype|
|Social Network||Google Plus||Yammer|
|Video Conferencing||Hangouts||Skype for Business|
As can be seen in the above comparison table, most of the primary features for both these application suites are pretty similar even though the tools offered may differ a bit. You would perhaps be familiar with many of these tools, such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint from Microsoft as well as Docs, Sheets and Google Drive from Google.
The same holds true for teachers and students, as most of these tools are pretty popular among computer users for increasing productivity, improving communication and enabling better collaboration, including Office 365 app backup which is critical.
The choice between O365 and GAFE in terms of these tools for education depends on your purpose and comfort level for using them. So, let us find out which one of these two has an edge over the other in terms of the different features on offer from the point of view of schools.
Offline Usage of Productivity Apps
The comparison table shared above reveals that both these application suites offer several productivity apps for different purposes. However, you can work offline with the locally installed versions of Microsoft tools.
But, you cannot work with GAFE’s productivity apps without having an internet connection, as they run on the web browser. Clearly, one cannot expect every student and teacher to have an internet connection available at all the time.
So, in this regard, Microsoft O365 has an edge over GAFE.
Compatibility with Android Tablets and Chromebooks
One of the main reason why schools go for productivity suites to enhance the learning environment is the flexibility it offers to access information from mobile devices. Some of the popular mobile devices used across schools are Android tablets and Chromebooks. They are extremely easy-to-use and even available at affordable prices.
The advantage here lies with Google, as it owns the Android platform and is able to control the development of apps for the platform that is made available on the Google PlayStore. Most of the Google apps are available natively with Android tablets and Chromebooks. This thus relieves you of the worries of getting them downloaded and deployed separately for the mobile devices.
This is not the case with O365 apps that has to be downloaded and deployed for such mobile devices and thereby requires extra effort from the school’s IT team or from the students and teachers.
Google Classroom vs. Office 365 Teacher Dashboard
Google Classroom is specifically designed and offered with GAFE to assist teachers in saving time within the classroom environment by having the classes in a more organized manner.
The school’s teachers can now create, share and grade assignments easily. In addition, they can manage the communication with the students more effectively by using this Classroom feature.
The Google Classroom can also be customized using the third-party extension from Hapara which adds a teaching rubric wrapper as well as the management system for a few other third-party resources in the form of exercises and assignments within the Google Classroom environment. The Teacher Dashboard extension for Microsoft’s Office 365 also offers pretty good collaboration features to teachers which they can use within the classroom environment. It further allows teachers to share assignment documents and other similar documents directly with individual students or different groups of students.
They can also keep track of the students’ assignments by being able to view the students’ folders from the dashboard.
There are not a lot of differences between these two extensions for Microsoft and Google from the teachers’ point of view who will be the ones who use them.
The only thing that works slightly in favor of Google is the extensive training it offers to use Google Classroom. Microsoft may not be able to boast about such extensive training for its Teacher Dashboard.
Enterprise Environment Experience
Microsoft clearly has more experience in dealing with the enterprise environment than Google has. In other words, unlike Microsoft, Google has never experienced being a traditional IT infrastructure layer within the enterprise.
With its great enterprise experience, Microsoft had already predicted certain issues with legacy Active Directory environments. For Microsoft, the transition to the cloud for apps with Office 365 happened along with a Hybrid Active Directory approach that enables the management of directory services on the premises. This means that some information and users continue to be on the premises, while others are moved to the cloud: a hybrid approach.
For the smooth functioning of any school or educational institution, you need to effectively gather and share information between the school’s IT team, teachers, students and even the parents of the students.
This is where an ad hoc form builder, for example, the Google Forms, proves highly useful. Using it, you can get parent surveys done, create comprehensive and well-detailed exam results, create cheat-proof quizzes for intra-class competitions, and so on.
If you still think that Microsoft has a similar form builder named “InfoPath”, then you will be surprised to learn that Microsoft has retired this Office software app. The reason for doing so was its lack of mobile responsiveness.
Till a new form tool is devised for O365, GAFE holds an edge with its Google Forms.
Some Other Differences Between GAFE and O365
- While Google has a large pool of developers and educators for GAFE, Microsoft has a comparatively better support and partner community for O365.
- GAFE has always been available free of cost. The same cannot be said about Office 365, for which you have to purchase user licenses.
- Microsoft O365 offers the unique Student Information System (SIS) sync that gives you complete control over the student and teacher data. You can sync the data a single time for all their learning apps and allow them to cherish the single sign-on experience.
The SIS sync allows your school’s team to spend less time in setting up classes and managing admin access to class materials. This sync feature is specifically only offered by Microsoft.
- The Microsoft O365 marketplace has fewer apps compared to the Google apps marketplace.
- While the Office 365 tools, such as OneNote and Share Point, are more powerful than their Google counterparts, such as Keep and Google Sites, they may sometimes be too complex and have too many features for students or teachers to handle.
- The Office 365 tools, for example, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, have existed for a very long time and the parents of the students are more likely to be familiar with them.
The same cannot be said for the GAFE tools, such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides. So, it may take some time for such parents to teach the students how to use the GAFE tools.
After looking at the detailed comparison between Office 365 for Education and Google Apps for Education cloud application suites, it is still difficult to rule one of them as the outright winner.
Based on your requirements, the purpose of use, consideration of costs, security and so on, you are likely to find one of them as your best option. With these two high-quality cloud services, there is no one-fit solution that will suit all educational institutes.