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FAQ: Google Apps for Education for Students

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Contents

  1. 1 Google Apps in the Classroom
    1. 1.1 What are Google Apps for Education?
    2. 1.2 What is the primary value of using Google Apps for Education?
    3. 1.3 How does Google Apps for Education differ from my personal Google/Gmail account?
    4. 1.4 What is included in our digital classroom environment?
    5. 1.5 What are some of the ways that my child might use Google Apps for Education in the classroom? 
    6. 1.6 Why do students need an e-mail address in elementary school?
    7. 1.7 What apps are available and how can I expect my child’s teacher to use them?
    8. 1.8 How will Google Apps reflect in my child’s grade?
  2. 2 Computer Access
    1. 2.1 What if I don’t have a computer at home?
    2. 2.2 Can I opt my child out of using these services?
    3. 2.3 Should I buy my child their own computer to use Google Apps For Education?
    4. 2.4 How will my child access CHCCS Google Apps for Education?
    5. 2.5 Will my child be required to access Google Apps at home?
    6. 2.6 Can students email their parents from their CHCCS account?
    7. 2.7 How long does my child get to keep their account?
    8. 2.8 Does Google Apps for Education work on an iPad or other tablet?
  3. 3 Parent Access
    1. 3.1 Can parents use Google Apps for Education? Can I see what my child is doing on Google Apps? 
  4. 4 Privacy and Security
    1. 4.1 How protected is my child within Google Apps for Education? 
    2. 4.2 Who has access to my child’s account?
    3. 4.3 Does my child retain copyright of their creations?
    4. 4.4 What protection will CHCCS provide so that my child is not accessing inappropriate content on the web?
    5. 4.5 What is your Acceptable Use Policy?

Google Apps in the Classroom


What are Google Apps for Education?

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) provides online instructional and productivity tools managed by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools that work to create a collaborative digital learning environment for our students and teachers. 

What is the primary value of using Google Apps for Education?

We believe that the primary value of using these tools centers around creating educational communities where a free, productive, and inclusive exchange of ideas can occur. Both applications are designed to encourage active engagement with people and content. Becoming a creative and contributing member of educationally focused online communities fosters a number of essential skills, including writing, critical thinking, digital citizenship, and information literacy. By connecting students and teachers over the course of their careers at CHCCS, it is our hope that strong learning communities will develop both inside and outside of the traditional classroom setting. Using Google Apps also provides us with an environment where our students can enhance their "Digital Citizenship” and “21st Century Skills.” These are concepts which help students to understand appropriate technology use.

How does Google Apps for Education differ from my personal Google/Gmail account?

Google.com is a commercial product while Google Apps for Education is a CHCCS-managed enviornment, hosted by Google. Students and teachers will communicate and collaborate within a secure “closed campus” environment. For more information on security and privacy in this system, please see the Privacy and Security section below.

What is included in our digital classroom environment?

  • Access to digital classrooms and websites through Google Apps for Education.
  • Google Apps for Education (Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, Drawings) Note: plans are in place to offer Google Sites, Calendars, Hangouts, and Google Classroom in the near future.
  • Safe and Secure Gmail & Chat
    • Students in Grades K-5 are only able to send and receive messages within CHCCS and to/from approved educational services. 
    • Students in Grades 6-12 are able to send and receive messages from outside of CHCCS.
    • In compliance with CIPA Guidelines, spam and content filtering is configured for all grade levels, as well, with stricter enforcement in the lower grades.
Learn more about our initial digital classroom offering

What are some of the ways that my child might use Google Apps for Education in the classroom? 

Students will receive Google Drive and an email account in the first phase of our roll out. Drive is an online suite of productivity applications, similar to MS Office, that offers tools to develop documents, presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and forms. The critical differentiator between Drive and MS office is the opportunity for real-time collaboration. Students and teachers can share a variety of document formats with each other and work on them together simultaneously. 

Students might use Drive in a more traditional way to write papers or create presentations and receive feedback from their teacher at different stages in the process. Taking this a step further, the teacher and student can engage in real-time conversations about the work as it progresses. Multiple students can also collaborate with each other on individual and group projects. Additionally, students can readily communicate with and receive updates from their teachers and classmates through the various tools included in CHCCS Gmail. Finally, Google Apps provides persistent, secure, and private cloud storage for a student’s work.

In all of these tools, teachers can maintain an digital classroom to post assignments, announcements, resources and other content. Teachers can use Google Docs to facilitate group projects and use the revision history tool to see the level of participation of each student in a group. Teachers can also give feedback to students within documents. Turning in assignments will be as easy as sharing the file in Google Docs with the teacher.

Why do students need an e-mail address in elementary school?

Providing elementary students with a closed email address will allow for streamlined collaboration with their peers and teachers and a digital tool that can be accessed from home and school. This will also allow email to become an instructional tool and provide opportunities to participate in authentic online learning within a safe environment. Our elementary students will only be able to email other CHCCS students and their teachers. All email will be filtered for objectionable content, spam and viruses. 

What apps are available and how can I expect my child’s teacher to use them?

CHCCS Google Apps for Education will provide students with secure and easy online access to documents, spreadsheets, presentations and communication tools that can be accessed easily from home or school and enhance teacher and student collaboration in the classroom and beyond. We will offer additional Google Apps to students in a future phase of the project.

How will Google Apps reflect in my child’s grade?

Teachers may develop assignments that require the use of GAFE. Please consult with your child’s teacher/s about individual class requirements. Alternatives to digital instruction in the case of limited access or technology opt-out will be provided. 

Computer Access


What if I don’t have a computer at home?

The use of CHCCS’s Google Apps for Education is part of the instructional program, and students will have opportunities to work in their accounts during the school day. CHCCS Google Apps for Education is safe and web based, and it can be accessed from any location where a personal device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc) and the internet is available.

CHCCS is dedicated to providing all students with the same level of instruction. Alternatives to digital instruction in the case of limited access or opt-out will be provided.

Can I opt my child out of using these services?

Yes. Parents may opt out of allowing their child to use Google Apps, the Internet, and other, digital technological services at school at any time and for any reason. Please note that you can only opt your child out of general technology use and not specific services. If you choose to opt-out, please download, print and complete our “Declination of Technological Resources” form from the found here, then turn it into your School Data Manager

If you have concerns about your child having an Google Apps account, please feel free to contact your school’s Instructional Technology Facilitator or School Librarian to discuss specific examples of how this new learning environment will be used and the alternatives to web‐based instructional and collaborative tools. You can also ask us a question here.

Should I buy my child their own computer to use Google Apps For Education?

The use of CHCCS Google Apps for Education does not require students to have their own computer or any other personal device. This is an individual family decision. 

How will my child access CHCCS Google Apps for Education?

With teacher guidance, students must first log into GAFE, activate their account and, if a 6th through 12th grader, set their password. Once the student has an active account, go to your school’s website or http://chccs.k12.nc.us, click on Login link on the homepage to access the account. You can also login to CHCCS Google Apps through any Google sign-in screen (mail.google.com, drive.google.com, etc.)

Google Chrome is CHCCS’s recommended browser for Google Apps, but these services will also work in up-to-date versions of Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Will my child be required to access Google Apps at home?

The instructional use of CHCCS Google Apps for Education is optional, with decisions about its use in the classroom often made at the school level by teachers. 

Can students email their parents from their CHCCS account?

It depends upon the grade level of your child. As a general security measure, external email accounts will not be able to send messages to K-5 students at their CHCCS address, nor will elementary students be able to send messages outside of CHCCS. To communicate with your child in Elementary school, please use the regular channels, such as contacting your teacher or the main office.

Students in grades 6-12 can send and receive emails both inside and outside of CHCCS. 

At any grade-level, you should follow the communications protocols instituted by your school for communication with your child during the instructional day. 

How long does my child get to keep their account?

Students in good standing can keep their accounts for as long as they are enrolled in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Accounts transfer from grade to grade and from school to school. Accounts are removed after students graduate from or transfer out of the CHCCS district. Graduating seniors and others will receive ample notification about account deletion as well as strategies for preserving data. The district reserves the right to permanently suspend a student's account for violations of our Acceptable Use Policy and the Student Code of Conduct.

Does Google Apps for Education work on an iPad or other tablet?

Google Apps documents may be edited using any mobile device and a browser. 

Parent Access


Can parents use Google Apps for Education? Can I see what my child is doing on Google Apps? 

While we do not provide accounts to parents/guardians, you are highly encouraged to explore Google Apps with your children by logging in together. Your child can log in to his or her CHCCS account via any web browser and can show you what they are currently working on in class. 

Privacy and Security


How protected is my child within Google Apps for Education? 

Our District takes student privacy and safety very seriously. District Information and Instructional Technology leaders have implemented numerous safeguards to protect student data. This is an ongoing effort and we will remain vigilant in regularly analyzing and reviewing the Terms of Service for online instructional applications. While parents always have the right to opt their child out of this service using the Technology Declination Form, we hope they will continue to support our Digital Learning initiatives. We will continue to turn advertising off in our Google environment, and Google does not scan data in our student accounts for commercial purposes. If you feel your child’s account has been compromised, please contact the school’s Instructional Technology Facilitator or Technology Assistant as soon as possible. 

CHCCS has employed the following protections to each of our students’ accounts to protect their personally identifiable information and the safety:

  • In March, we contracted with an external technology company to perform a thorough examination of our student privacy and safety settings.

  • Google Apps for Education is separate from the familiar, commercial/public Google tools (Gmail, Google+, etc). Google provides the infrastructure for the applications, but CHCCS controls the environment.

  • CHCCS has complete control over spam and compliance filtering within Google Apps

  • Students are not exposed to advertising when using CHCCS Google Apps for Education, nor is any data in student CHCCS Google accounts scanned for commercial purposes.

  • Elementary students are not be able to send email outside of CHCCS. They will only be able to email their teachers, other students, and administrators within CHCCS.

  • We will provide legal parents/guardians the ability to log into their child's account upon request (for students under 18).

  • Parents can opt their child out of the system at any time. Please contact your school’s Data Manager if you choose to do so.

  • We will only provide limited applications (CHCCS Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Groups for Business, Google Sites, and Google Hangouts for domains) to students. Students do not have the ability to add public profiles on Google +, nor can they access any Google applications that fall under Google's commercial terms of service from their CHCCS account.

  • Students have a CHCCS-specific email address: student_name@students.chccs.k12.nc.us. They will not have an  @gmail.com email address.

  • We have deployed tools that give administrators the ability to investigate and suspend student accounts should disciplinary or legal incidents arise.

  • We have provided and are continuing to develop documentation and training for our school staff in best practices for working with young people in a shared digital environment.

  • Google is FERPA and COPPA compliant according to their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies.

Learn more about Privacy and Security in GAFE 

Who has access to my child’s account?

The Google Apps Terms of Service agreement with CHCCS contractually ensures that our institution (students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data. Google employees will only access content stored on Apps when an administrator from CHCCS grants company employees explicit permission to do so. Examples would be to investigate inappropriate use or to diagnose technical issues. Employees of both companies are bound by the provisions of FERPA.

District administrators do have the ability to and reserve the right to monitor and audit the content in any student’s Google Apps for Education account.

Does my child retain copyright of their creations?

Google does not own intellectual property created on our domain. They do retain intellectual property rights for the services they provide. The same copyright rules apply to content in Google Apps for Education that would apply to any other creation. Our students and teachers are the sole owners of any original content that they create, as long as this content is in compliance with U.S. intellectual property laws. 

What protection will CHCCS provide so that my child is not accessing inappropriate content on the web?

Along with our current Internet content filters, CHCCS has integrated spam and content filters within the student email tool.

What is your Acceptable Use Policy?

By using Google Apps for Education, and other district-provided technology services, your child agrees to abide by our Board-approved Technology Acceptable Use Policy. Your child's behavior within these services is also governed by our Student Code of Conduct. To read the AUP and Code of Conduct in full, please use the links below.