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MON: A Leap Of Faith: How Switching To G Suite For Education Can Influence Open Practice (Phill Grimes)

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Phill Grimes
1 January 2019


Making the switch to use different technologies and Open Practice can be a massive decision, but, there are many benefits to using Google's G Suite despite its currently small market share compared to Office 365 (Rayome, 2018). Influence on Open Practice is one such benefit.

Innovation often comes with big risks attached that requires a metaphorical leap of faith in order for the innovators and early adopters to begin a process of diffusion throughout an institution (Rogers, 2003).

The presentation will address initial findings into how G Suite for Education has influenced the agency of Open Practice within a Further Education college that made the leap away from a paper and Office 365 based strategy to Google’s package of Apps. The findings will address how practice has changed towards open practices, regardless of intention.

There are a number of operational issues that can plague institutions both economically and technologically that can be compounded by relying on application packages such as office 365. Education in the UK has suffered a funding crisis for a number of years that has resulted in colleges having to cut operational costs. Office 365 comes with higher costs and a more individual customisation which requires overhead costs either in internal or external staff to maintain. G suite is completely cloud based requiring only a low level onsite skill-set to maintain the administrator console. (Magnusson, 2018)

According to Professor Clayton Christensen (2014), what we should be looking at is to target innovation that can change the way students learn and is more about how technology is applied in a more peer to peer manner. He goes on to suggest many Practices which have similarities to Open Educational Practice (OEP).

The potential benefits and limits of Open Education Practice are widely reported in the literature and explored briefly in this paper. However, there is a lack of empirical data about the use of Open Educational Practices, particularly in institutions without Open Education. OEP is a broad descriptor that includes the creation, use and reuse of OER, open pedagogies, and open sharing of teaching practices (Cronin, 2017)

There is currently very little literature in regards to G suite for education, Google classroom and Google apps in the primary to tertiary (16-19) level (Bartolo, 2017) of enough breadth and depth to be meaningful.

The approach to the project has been to gain an in depth insight to the capabilities and functions of G Suite, beyond that of a simple word processor, spreadsheet, slideshow and Virtual Learning Environment Repository and explore how these functions are being used within a College, both intentionally and unintentionally focusing on Open Educational Practice.

The project gains insight from a number of sources: G Suite administrator fundamentals MOOC, Online conferences such as ALT-C and, Networking through social media, networking and interviews with Colleagues including the Vice Principal for Learning and Quality.

The presentation aims to highlight the many practices and changes that have occurred since moving to G Suite particularly regarding Open Practices. The Project does not aim to determine that G Suite is better than other platforms, but inform the audience of its possibilities to achieve strategic aims in a Further Education College.


2018 UPDATE: G Suite vs Office 365 COMPARISON - everything you should know! (2018) Youtube video, added by Magnussen, C. [online] Available at > (accessed 28th December 2018)

Bartolo, P. (2017) Integrating google apps and google chromebooks into the core curriculum: A phenomenological study of the lived experience of public school teachers, Unpublished PhD thesis, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA

Horn, M.B., Staker, H., & Christensen, C.M. (2014)  Blended : Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. John Wiley & Sons incorporated

Cronin, C. (2017) Openness and Praxis: Exploring the use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning  vol. 18 (5)

Rayome, A.D. (2018) How to shift your workplace from Microsoft Office to G Suite: 4 steps [online] Available at (accessed 3rd January 2019)

Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of innovations. 5th edition. Free Press

Wijaya, A. (2016) 'Analysis of Factors Affecting the Use of Google Classroom to Support Lectures', The 5th ICIBA 2016, International Conference on Information Technology and Engineering Application. Palembang-Indonesia, 19-20 February.


Extra content

Accessibility poster PowerPoint version

Phill Grimes
13:58 on 10 January 2019 (Edited 14:40 on 16 January 2019)


Could you take 2mins to answer 4 questions regarding G suite/office 365 (either before or after the presentation) - 4 question survey


Phill Grimes
12:18 on 13 February 2019 (Edited 19:31 on 14 February 2019)

Post Presentation survey - 4 questions

Could you please take 2 mins to answer this POST PRESENTATION SURVEY, many thanks

Phill Grimes
12:35 on 13 February 2019

My Project was never about which is better: G Suite for Education of Microsoft Office 365?

It's about the positive (or negative) changes that have occurred with Open Educational Practice since we made the leap to using G Suite for Education as our foundation platform for teaching.

Phill Grimes
22:22 on 14 February 2019 (Edited 22:23 on 14 February 2019)

Embedded Content

10 min comparison: G suite v Office 365 April 2017

10 min comparison: G suite v Office 365 April 2017

added by Phill Grimes

G suite v office 365: update video July 2018

G suite v office 365: update video July 2018

added by Phill Grimes