Episode 1 – Microsoft and Google: The Crossover Podcast

Connection
Connection

Microsoft and Google are working together! Microsoft and Google experts Alex DeRossi and Allyson Condo square off (all in good fun) to provide you with the real story on device and software compatibility in the classroom to give you the knowledge you need to choose the right devices and applications for your school.

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This is the transcription of the TechSperience podcast – Episode 1

Announcer:

Welcome to another Connection Podcast. On this episode we’re going to focus on technology use in K-12 classrooms. We know it continues to grow and involve, and no longer do teachers and admins have to lock into one tech provider. Schools can and are choosing to have hybrid environments utilizing best in breed tech from Google, Microsoft and others. Recently Connection’s Penny Conway, the Senior Program Manager for Workplace Transformation, sat down with Allison Condo, Channel Account Manager for Google, and Alex DeRossi, the Program Manager for Microsoft in Education, to discuss the options that schools can choose from these days.

Penny Conway:

Ally, why don’t you kick off and share kind of what Google has going on in education these days.

Allison Condo:

Sure, sure. So, Google for education right now is not just a one size fits all. We are working around the clock, and every day, to make sure that Google is presenting its best option to school districts. So really at the core of it, it is a web-based management console that’s easy to deploy from one single admin console. So if you have different classrooms, if you had a library, if you have teachers who are all looking to kind of create these virtual experiences for your students, it’s not just a testing platform. We’re here to really make a cohesive experience for your students from the device, all the way through, you know, their web browser and all the applications that they’re using on a daily basis.

So, what we’re trying to do is stay easy. We’re trying to stay affordable. We understand that teachers are kind of at the core of who are using these products every single day. It’s not just IT administrators. So, whatever’s gonna be easiest for the teacher to use, it’s also gonna be the easiest for the kids to use. Because if the teacher understands what’s going on in the classroom so will the students. So, what we’re trying to do is create these virtual classrooms with Google for e-, education with Google Classroom, and make all the classroom needs fit in one single application that these students can post their documents. They can post their homework. They can post all of the different YouTube episodes that they might’ve recorded, or they’re- they’re using for their research. They can bring it all into one easy-to-use stream and virtual classroom.

They can work together when they’re not in school, which is huge, ’cause we do know that there’s a huge population of students right now in the United States who- who don’t have WiFi at home. They don’t have network at home. And we wanna make sure that we’re cognizant of every type of student, and not just the ones that are privileged enough to have those things. So we try to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to bring home a device, work offline if they have to, and the minute that they walk into that school district the next day all of their documents, everything that they’ve done the night before can upload, and it automatically saved to their classroom. So, we’re trying to, again, make sure that everyone has the ability to get this new technology by keeping it affordable and keeping it easy to manage.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. That’s really awesome. Because I- I think we all remember Google coming into the education space really as a testing platform, and their devices really lended to school budgets-

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Penny Conway:

… and being able to see what you guys have put together over the past five years or so, and really growing your portfolio and your platform for schools is really cool. You know, on the other side, Microsoft has been equally developing a lot around education. So, to sort of compare and contrast, Alex, what does Microsoft have going on in education now?

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah. Definitely. And you know, I think an important piece there is- is you say the other side, right? And I think what happens in modern classrooms is there is no sides, right?

Allison Condo:

Very true.

Alex DeRossi:

And what really the winners that we want to come out of this are the schools and the teachers, right? We want schools, teachers, students to really hit their mission statements and achieve what they want to in their schools, achieve their missions, and Microsoft Solution also helps to that. You know, there really are three pillars in the Microsoft education program, and one thing you’ll notice is that they’re not specific to a type of device, or a type of solution. They’re more talking about who our real end users are and who the customers are, and how do they benefit from that.

So the three things that- that Microsoft focuses on, and you know, if you asked me the same question three years ago it’d be a totally different answer, but Microsoft has made major investments in the education space to really improve on these three things. And the first thing being, you know, better learning outcomes, right, where the most important thing is what are students getting out of these devices? What are they doing with them? How is it actually helping further the curriculum and further the lessons-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… rather than what’s the shiniest, newest, coolest thing, right?

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

It’s more about what am I doing with it? How is it helping my school, and how is it helping my students learn? You know, we’re in a world today that one in five children have some sort of learning disability.

Penny Conway:

Wow.

Alex DeRossi:

One in five.

Penny Conway:

Wow.

Allison Condo:

We were, we were literally just talking about this, and I was like I believe it, because I mean, there are so many different things that just from our own personal experience, like just being told, “Oh, you’re bad at math,” but maybe it’s like you have a reading comprehension problem. (laughs). Like you can’t do a math pro-, like a word program.

Penny Conway:

Right, right.

Allison Condo:

And you know, a special education student isn’t necessarily somebody who has a- a major disability. It could be, you know, they’re dyslexic. They’re, you know, have a hearing issue. They have anything really small, and I think what we’re both trying to accomplish here is making the experience better for those kids.

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah. And, you know, it’s one of those things where Microsoft in Education has those tools in place that are built right into it, so you’re spending extra money. You’re not spending extra time. It’s built right into a Wi-, a device with Windows on it, right? It’s Windows 10. There’s nothing else needed. So that drives those better learning outcomes. And the second pillar is really is saving teachers time, right? Because-

Allison Condo:

Oh gosh. Yes.

Alex DeRossi:

… when you, i- it’s- it’s like that famous internet meme. It’s like ain’t nobody got time for that, right?

Penny Conway:

Right. (laughs).

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

Teachers don’t have time for that. Administrators don’t have time for that. You know, IT folks don’t have time for that. School budgets are so stressed already, and everyone is focusing on just getting that little bit of time back. And when you get a little bit of time back each week, you know, studies have shown that using accessibility tools in the Microsoft platform can save, you know, 97 curriculum hours per year.

Penny Conway:

Wow.

Alex DeRossi:

Something crazy like that. If you equate that to a monetary value, I mean, in a huge district that could be millions of dollars that you’re saving every year, just by leveraging free tools that are already built in the platforms.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

Right? That’s just, a lot of it’s awareness these days, that people don’t know what’s out there, because there are nine different things shoved in your face constantly, of, “What’s this? What’s that? What’s this? How do I get these? What are, what’s best for my students?” And like we said, the most common situation is everyone’s got all different platforms. The teachers are using older laptops. The students in a certain grade level are using some type of device. Maybe they’re having tablets or touchscreen ones for smaller ones, so, for younger grades, I mean.

So, saving teachers time is that second pillar, and the third one is having easy-to-manage devices, right? IT doesn’t have time, right? They need to get there. Who are their customers? Their customers are their teachers and their students, right? Who, they, you know, you ask an IT person, “how do you, how do you measure your success in your job?” And they’re like, “Well, my inbox is empty.”

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

“I don’t get 87 password requests. I don’t get 100 requests for a new tool to come into the school or a new program be added.” They can log into a web browser, manage all their devices, add apps to everything, and just move on with their day, right? They can take the work of what used to be an IT staff of 10, 15, 20, and get it done with 4, 5 people and a web browser.

Penny Conway:

That’s really ama-, and it’s, it hits really close to home for me. Kind of all those pillars. You know, I, Ally, I think you made a really good point where maybe learning differences-

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Penny Conway:

… or having trouble grasping a concept back maybe when we were students, and there weren’t, technology wasn’t as prevalent, we could labeled really easily as, you know, she doesn’t get math-

Allison Condo:

Right.

Penny Conway:

… or he can’t ful-, he has no reading comprehension. And you know, I think about my ow-, like I had struggles. I was doing actually a career day at a, in a sixth-grade classroom last week, and I was sharing with those students that when I was their age like I struggled with science.

Allison Condo:

Yeah.

Penny Conway:

I struggled with math. And there weren’t the tools that we have today to help support that kind of learning. So,just being able to improve those learning outcomes with tools that are gonna save teachers time-

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Penny Conway:

… is really, really impeccable. And a lot of that, if I understand correctly, both the Google and the Microsoft platform, all of that’s really operating in the cloud today.

Allison Condo:

Yes. Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Penny Conway:

And teachers are, or schools are purchasing a lot of different devices and different tools for device management, and I’m assuming similar to being able to be cross platform for an operating system the same applies to devices. So, what do you guys see the landscape of devices in education today for individual school districts?

Allison Condo:

So, I’ll take this one first, if you don’t mind, Alex.

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah. Go ahead.

Allison Condo:

Thank you very much. You made some really good point in your Microsoft piece, B-T-dubs.

Alex DeRossi:

Oh, thank you.

Allison Condo:

You’re welcome.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

So, kind of when it comes down to devices Alex really was on the money when he was talking about how there are just so many different types of devices that a school district could be using. They could be using 2-in-1s. They could be using tablets. They could be using regular clamshell notebooks. It depends on who’s using it. So, a younger child is probably gonna be using a tablet. You don’t want them running around with a clamshell notebook, because they’re gonna ruin it. But the glory of, at least for- for Google’s side of it, the glory of these Chrome-based devices is that they are so affordable that when we have a conversation with a school district, and they’re discussing what kind of device they wanna go with, well, they have, you know, over six major different manufacturers that they could go with for a different type of device. And they can mix and match as they want, because it doesn’t matter what the device, who made it, where it’s coming from. It’s the OS that makes the difference.

So, the operating system at its core is Chrome, and when you work with Chrome any device across, you know, whatever ChromeOS it is can be managed from your admin console. So it gives the IT department, and it gives anybody who has access to that admin console just so much more flexibility with what they’re using in their district. And just as another kind of added feature for Chrome is that it doesn’t have to just be the devices that students are learning with. It could be the Chrome bits that you’re using for digital marketing that are in your cafeteria to display, you know, either the morning announcements, or whatever type of food is on, you know, gonna be on the menu for that afternoon for lunch. It could be a kiosk where parents have to check in when they are checking out a kid from a daycare.

Everything can be any device that has a ChromeOS built into it can be managed from one central location. So, it’s not just those devices that students can use. It is meant to be used by everyone in a school environment. And what we’re seeing too is that school district are not too, and higher education, really, for that matter, is not too off from a regular business.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

There are different departments that have different needs. There are different people who have different needs. And because of that we do try to make sure that there is a device that can be used throughout that type of, you know, world.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. That’s, I, one thing that I had, have heard from school, you know, IT administrators is that with the influx of testing that came in and brought all of the Google devices, and some Microsoft devices in, they were a group of people that really weren’t in the device-management business at all.

Allison Condo:

Yeah, yeah. (laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

Right.

Allison Condo:

Yeah.

Penny Conway:

They were doing things like phone systems-

Allison Condo:

Yeah. It’s incredible where it’s come.

Penny Conway:

… and some light networking. Yeah.

Allison Condo:

And the testing piece for us, I mean, that’s our bread and butter, right? Like Google all day long education is where they play the most. And- and we understand that, but we also make sure that what teachers say and what their feedback is comes back to Google, and we take it and we run with it, and we say, “Okay, one of the things that they didn’t like in prior testing mode was that students could still access different internet sites. They could go to different websites when they were done with their test.” And teachers across American were like, “Uh, no.”

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

“They need to not be able to do that, because they’re probably giving like everybody else the answers.” We’re good.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

So, Google took all that feedback, and it’s very relevant feedback. I mean, the people at Google are- are, some of them are educators, yes, but not all of them. And when they’re doing these devops they’re making sure just only some things are happening, not everything. They’re not thinking about every single different detail. And they decided, okay, yep, you’re right.

And so now tester mode is, you know, totally locked down. When a teacher puts the, puts those Chrome devices in test mode that’s it. Their kid can only take a test, and once it’s done it’s done. They can’t, you know, surf the web. They can’t go anywhere else. And it just gives the teacher that much more control. But it’s across all devices, but it gives that management back to the teacher. It gives the management back to the IT administrators too, where they can more securely manage what’s happening in those classrooms. Because not every teacher is an IT administrator either.

Penny Conway:

Exactly.

Allison Condo:

So, it’s like what are my kids doing? I don’t know. (laughs).

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

And I know, Alex, Microsoft really made huge strides not only on the device side over the past few years working with those same manufacturers to give affordable devices, but also, like Ally was saying, having people at Microsoft that are educators themselves working on the platforms. So, on the device side what have you seen with Microsoft, and where do you think that that is evolving to?

Alex DeRossi:

Oh yeah. It’s been amazing, and it’s been a huge change in everything, int-, in any part of technology, especially in education. Everything moves so fast, right? You blink and now there’s 1,000 new apps.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

And also 1,000 new viruses.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. (laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

You know-

Allison Condo:

We don’t need anti malware.

Alex DeRossi:

I said the, I said the V word.

Allison Condo:

We don’t need antivirus.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

Come to Google. Everybody come to Google.

Penny Conway:

Oh.

Alex DeRossi:

Oh.

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

Oh. Well-

Penny Conway:

We’re about to have a clash of the titans here. (laughs).

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

Now is probably a great time to mention that Windows 10, especially Windows 10 for Education has built-in antivirus protection as well.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

Oh, Chrome doesn’t get hacked.

Penny Conway:

Oh boy. (laughs).

Allison Condo:

I’m just saying. Anyway, we weren’t gonna do this.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

We were gonna have a friendly, a friendly conversation and I started it. I’m sorry.

Alex DeRossi:

So yeah. No, i- it’s a lot of the same stuff on the, on the Microsoft side as well, where, you know, technology and- and cloud management has pushed all that stuff so far forward in just the past two to three years, right? If you think of Microsoft, a Windows device, as a old, clinky desktop or something like that, things have changed completely, right?

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

You now have a, you know, with any platform, a device that’s less than $300 that performs better than your $600 desktop did a few years ago.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

And that gives access to technology to people that never had it before. And along with that access to technology also comes the need to manage it well as well. A lot of, you know, what I call older-school, old-school IT folks, you know, they’re used to this giant SCCM console, and they have 8,000 options for managing their Windows devices, and, “How do I set all these 19 group policies to stack on each other”-

Penny Conway:

Sounds-

Alex DeRossi:

… “to get exactly what I want.” Yeah. No, it completely is. And I’ll be the first person to tell you as well. But Microsoft has definitely solved for that in the last few years with Intune for Education.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

Right? You take 1,000 options, take the most 200 most popular ones, which still sounds like a lot, but really is a couple clickable screens that are very colorful and get that down to an IT administrator. I mean, there’s a fantastic video that, I, you know, I’ll definitely get posted later, but you know, you can set up a classroom of devices in an hour.

Penny Conway:

Right. Wow.

Alex DeRossi:

And go from start to finish, where you can use, you know, a free app that’s built into Windows 10, called Setup School PCs. You make a flash drive. You plug it in. Everything downloads, right? If your school is a little bit ahead of the time and you’re already on, you know, Azure Active Directory and up in the cloud and ready for that you can cloud-manage all the devices too. You can cl-, make a couple clicks, send an app out, like Minecraft Education Edition, to the entire school, or to a single classroom, or a single student, a single teacher, or everybody in the district, right? It’s just a different set of clicks in a web browser. So, you don’t have to be sitting in your office looking through your nine monitors-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… checking all the things going on at the same time.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

Nobody’s got time for that anymore, right?

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

You’re already looking at, oh, what’s the next three, you know, what are, what’s next in our curriculum? What apps do we need? What are our teachers asking for-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… to move their stuff forward? They wanna accept digital content, right? They wanna deliver digital content to their students. They don’t wanna walk them home with a bag full of homework, right? You wanna go on, log in, do your homework, hit grade. It goes to your teacher. You’re done.

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Allison Condo:

Well, and I think o- on top of that too, no teacher wants to bring home a bag of homework for themselves.

Alex DeRossi:

Right, right.

Allison Condo:

Like I, how many teacher friends do we probably each have, right, that they’re loading their car just with papers-

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

… and tests.

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Allison Condo:

And then, you know, I think we’ve all also had the experience of like your teacher loses your test, or they lose, you know, some sort of grade that you needed to make sure that your grade got back to where it needed to be, (laughs), or something ridiculous like that.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But we, I think we can both agree on the fact that we are just trying to make those steps easier for everybody.

Alex DeRossi:

Absolutely.

Allison Condo:

We want to be accessible to students who- who need to have access to it, and also make the life of the teacher that much easier. In- in the Google classroom it’s easy for students to be able to do group work, even if they’re not able to get together at, afterschool to do group work, because I think, I mean, I don’t know of the statistic, but I’m sure there’s a- a much higher range of both parents working full-time these days, where kids probably don’t have the option to go to somebody’s house after school. You know, they’re- they’re home because they have to be home. Maybe they have a babysitter, or maybe they’re not even at home yet. Maybe they’re, have to go to an afterschool program.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

But either way, the ability for kids to be able to work together across, you know, the town, and they’re not together, but they’re working on a project together at the same time, I think my mom would’ve killed for something like that.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

Because she hated us, you know, having to do these group projects, and not figuring out, well, whose house do you have to be at? Where do I have to get you

[crosstalk 00:18:44]

?

Penny Conway:

Oh, they really were the worst. (laughs).

Allison Condo:

They’re the worst. And then also, you know, a- a teacher can now log in and say, I mean, I think we all have had this exper-, I mean, I- I have per-, speaking from personal experience, I should say. Maybe you’ve not had this experience.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But I remember working in group projects and being a person on- on the more productive side of things. And I would get together a lot of the information. Or there would two or three of us that like really got everything going, and there’d be that one person who like was like, “Hey you guys. You guys, looks like you guys did a really good job,” and I’d be like, “Are you kidding me right now?” And then, you know, the teacher would be like, “Okay, now I need you to self-grade.” And you’d be like, “Oh, crap. I’m I gonna be the- the jerk who gives,” you know, “who fails this kid because they didn’t do anything? Or am I gonna be like, ‘I guess we’re all equal,’ and give you an A too?”

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

Like now the teacher can actually log into that classroom and see for themselves like who actually posted work.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

Who was putting in the effort? And then it- it rewards the students who deserve the reward. And it also highlights the students, like we were saying before, right, kids who might have just a need for more help in the classroom, it has become this need that we need to appreciate, not just the- the student using it and why the student is using it, but also those benefits that the teacher can take advantage of to- to really narrow in and- and hone in on the kid who needs help the most. There are tons of self-starter kids out there. There are a ton of kids who are gonna get the work done and just be good. But like I can tell you right now in seventh grade I didn’t do my homework for almost the entire year in math.

Penny Conway:

Wow.

Allison Condo:

I bring up a lot of math problems.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But it’s because I did not like math. But I didn’t do it. I erased my homework every single day from my agenda book, every, every day. You would’ve hated me as a child.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

And people don’t believe this about me, you know, ’cause they’re like, “Oh, you’re like very type A.” I’m like, “Mm-mm (negative), Mm-mm (negative). This was not always the way.”

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But I erased it every day. I mean, my parents had no idea, and they went to a parent-teacher conference ’cause I was failing math in seventh grade. My mom was like, you know, gung-ho, “Why is Ally failing math? I don’t understand.” You know, “My daughter has done everything. She tells me that she does everything.” Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. And the teacher was that very point blank with her, and said, “I’m really sorry to tell you this, Mrs. Condo, but your student has not passed in any of her homework for the past like six months.”

Penny Conway:

Wow.

Allison Condo:

“She has failed every test.” And my mom came home. I have never been in more trouble in my life. She also still to this day tells this story, because she, I’m sure, still does not trust me. I’m 31.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

She, I, you know, I think about, and I tell this as, as an example because it’s not that I was like a bad kid. I just was lazy. I just didn’t do my homework. And now we have the ability where guardianship is- is a huge possibility, where students’ parents can log in and see if their kid has actually been doing their homework.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

Are they passing the assignments that they need to be passing? And it’s not helicopter parenting. It’s just straight up making sure that your kid is on the right track.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

And it’s teachers being able to reach to your parents right away, instead of six months down the line, and saying, “Hey, did you know, Mrs. Condo,” you know, “Allison hasn’t turned in her homework for the past like week and a half?” And my mom could’ve been on my butt, you know, months prior, and it wouldn’t have been this huge thing where like, you know, Summer school was discussed, and all of these extra things, and my mom felt like I broke her trust. It was a big thing, but… It was a really big deal.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But it was like a very big deal, but-

Penny Conway:

We’re having a therapy session. (laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah.

Allison Condo:

But- but I mean, I, you know, presenting these options to school districts, and showing them, you know, the full Google solution, I do, I say, I talk about this example all of the time. Anybody listening who has heard one of my launch and learns in, you know, in the GAB office is gonna be like, “Oh, Ally got another story.”

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But- but it’s true. Because if my parents had been part of that conversation much sooner, if the teacher had even been part of that conversation, if they could’ve seen my trajectory through these virtual classrooms, through these applications that we’re now offering to our students, they would’ve been able to pick me out of a crowd like in two seconds flat, and say, “This kid needs more help.”

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

And- and it wouldn’t have just been me being lazy. It would’ve been, “Oh, we need to give her more attention, because she’s not doing what she’s supposed to be doing.” So hopefully we’re seeing this positive turnaround for kids who might be falling by the wayside by- by using these devices and being able to manage these devices.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. And I- I think you really hit all the points of what Microsoft’s three pillars are there, is to-

Alex DeRossi:

Great.

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

… improve student accounts.

Alex DeRossi:

Thank- thank you.

Penny Conway:

And to save teachers time. I mean, especially, talk about a blind spot with a teacher thinking that you’re, you know, you’re parents know you’re not doing your homework, and they’re just not following up.

Allison Condo:

Right.

Penny Conway:

And so being able to- to solve for that. So, we’ve talked about devices. We’ve talked about really what your strengths and weaknesses are for Microsoft and for Google. We’ve had a little bit of a battle of maybe who should pick who.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

But one of the, I think one of the really great things about both the Microsoft platform and the Google platform is that there really is the opportunity to cross over. Because-

Alex DeRossi:

Absolutely.

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

… I think both of you have that goal as operating systems-

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

Yep.

Allison Condo:

… to- to make the experience better for the student, for the teacher, for the parent, for the administrator. So, where do you think, Alex, Google and Microsoft really play well together-

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah.

Allison Condo:

…in- in a school environment?

Alex DeRossi:

I think there’s really three things there, right? And two of them kinda go together. You know, during your story, Ally, all I could think of was really two concepts there, right? Accessibility and personalized learning.

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

And those things are so huge in today’s education, right?

Allison Condo:

Definitely.

Alex DeRossi:

Like we said before, you know, one in five students has some type of learning disability, right? Whether it’s dix- dyslexia or anything along those lines. You know, and even recently I s-, I saw a study that Microsoft had commissioned that 73% of today’s teachers reported that they have a span of reading levels in their classroom of more than four grades.

Penny Conway:

I believe it.

Allison Condo:

That, it blew my mind.

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah.

Allison Condo:

It blew my mind when he was telling me that.

Alex DeRossi:

You’re talking, I mean, if you, if you specifically spell that out, you know, you have a, someone who reads at a first-grade level in the same classroom as someone who reads at a fifth-grade level.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

Those are massive di- differences. And where both platforms really shine, and you know, something that Microsoft has invested heavily in in building it right into the platform is having so many accessibility tools, and personalized learning tools that are built right in, and web-based, so that no matter what program you’re using, what app you are, even if you are on the app you have those ways to personalize your lesson to what works for you. Whether that’s changing the color, changing the text-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… changing the size, having it read aloud to you, having it translated into your language.

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

Right? English as a second language learner is a huge thing in schools.

Penny Conway:

Right. Yep.

Alex DeRossi:

Right? 52% of teachers in the U.S. have an-

Allison Condo:

You are-

Alex DeRossi:

… English as a second language… I’m full of statistics today.

Allison Condo:

Look at you with these statistics.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs). 52%-

Allison Condo:

Showing me up, man. God.

Alex DeRossi:

… of teachers have an English as a second language learner in their classroom, right?

Penny Conway:

Yep.

Alex DeRossi:

So the real challenge for today’s teachers, and what makes it, teaching, such a difficult job, is how do you reach everybody the same, right?

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

How do you make everything-

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

… make sense to everybody at all the levels that they’re at. You know, and the Microsoft platform in Windows 10, and general in, you know, web-based applications really even that playing field for everybody where you can customize things. And there are apps, you know, that’s out of the top 100 education apps, they’re available on all the platforms.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Allison Condo:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

Right? No matter what you’re using-

Allison Condo:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

… you get to that, get to the-

Allison Condo:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

… right learning outcome for your students, right?

Allison Condo:

Right. And how Google kind of approaches it is- is really one and the same, is that we’re trying to make everything more accessible for- for everybody using these devices. So, whether it’s a kid with a disability, whether it’s a student, or not even a student, a- a teacher who might have a learning disability as well, right? We wanna make sure that everyone has the- the same feature function benefit, if you will.

You know, with the Google Play Store you’re able to download any available application straight into your learning platform. If you want it to be on your Chrome device, if you are looking for different YouTube videos to show your kids in school, ’cause they learn a different way, if you’re trying to, you know, make a podcast, there are- are podcast editing apps out there that you’re able to use. And what we’re trying to show too is that, you know, especially with a Chrome device, as long as it’s in the cloud you’re, I mean, let’s be, you’re probably using a Chrome browser. Like, you know, it is, it is what it is. Like-

Penny Conway:

(laughs). Says the Microsoft guy.

Allison Condo:

Yeah, yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

Says the Microsoft guy who’s probably using Chrome to open his Office 365. But, (laughs)-

Alex DeRossi:

Absolutely not.

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Allison Condo:

But- but that’s, but that’s- that’s where that crossover is, right? It’s a conversation we have in our small to medium business, and enterprise space a lot, is that, well, if you’re using Office 365, if you’re using any web-based application, why not be doing that on an affordable device? Why not be using a secure device? All of the ChromeOS devices have multilayered security built in. We’re trying to make it so that not only our all of our application’s accessible, Google translate is available to students, that ESL statistic is, you know, is a great statistic to highlight, because we are such a multicultural country, and some c-, some cities are way more multicultural than others. I mean, I grew up in New Hampshire. It’s not super diverse. But you know, Alex and I were just out in South Dakota last week-

Alex DeRossi:

That’s right. Yep.

Allison Condo:

… and we went to the mall, and we were like, oh my gosh. There’s like… It’s so multicultural it was incredible. We couldn’t believe it. And so, you know, when you’re going through a store together and you realize half the store aisles are also in Spanish, or, and you know, we’re in South Dakota. It’s not like we’re, you know, on a border city or a border state to, you know, a different country. We’re in the middle of the United States of America. It makes a big difference when you kinda look around and you think to yourself, like, oh, this is not, you know, a high, super high income, very wealthy, you know, environment around me. I- I wonder what these kids are- are using and what tools they’re using, and what they have available to them. And I think that we can both kind of talk for days about the applications that come, you know, with either of our platforms.

Alex DeRossi:

Yeah.

Allison Condo:

Google for Education, G Suite for Education is free to all education users. It makes life so much easier where they have all those applications just at their fingertips. They can pull anything from the Google Play Store. You know, if it came down to it and it did cost money for an application you through the admin console could actually add like a credit card for your teacher to be able to purchase applications straight from their classroom. So, it makes their lives just so much easier. They could buy it on the fly. But what we’re both trying to- to show here is that there’s never gonna be one thing that rules them all, right? I would love, I would love, love, love, love, more than anything in the world, to walk into a school district one day and see that everybody has a Chrome device. Everybody has, you know, G Suite. Everyone’s using, you know, everyone’s just like on ChromeOS. That would be, oh god, I had, I’d died and gone to heaven.

Alex DeRossi:

And- and I, and you know, on the other side, I would love the opposite situation, right?

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

I would love an entire school on Windows 10 Education using Microsoft 365 Education-

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

… which is free for all students and teachers as well.

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). Nice plug.

Alex DeRossi:

You know?

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Alex DeRossi:

And- and you know, as well as seeing an IT staff deploying-

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

… whatever apps that-

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

… that work best for their teachers right through the cloud, right? So, you don’t have something where you’re buying something in a store.

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

Right? And the Microsoft Store for Education, you know, just as robust as the Google Play Store-

Penny Conway:

Yeah.

Alex DeRossi:

… and works exactly the same way, where you can set up those purchases, set up a separate store for your school-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… so, your teacher doesn’t have to go looking on web. I mean, if you go in any search engine-

Penny Conway:

Right.

Alex DeRossi:

… you type in best education apps, there’s gonna be like 10 million results-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… and they’re gonna say different lists of the top 10 education apps. So how does one find out? Well, your IT department can work with someone like Microsoft or Google or whoever, to figure out what apps work for their school-

Penny Conway:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex DeRossi:

… and set that up so those teachers only have access to those apps that they need.

Allison Condo:

Yeah.

Penny Conway:

Right, right.

Alex DeRossi:

Right? They don’t have to go searching through the whole internet-

Penny Conway:

Right, right.

Alex DeRossi:

… to find what works best for them. It’s already set up for them. And that’s a couple clicks for an IT admin on, you know, Intune for Education with Microsoft.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. I- I think heard it said that you guys cl-, I know it’s all in good fun. You have your competitive spirits here within Connection. I think I heard it said really well by one of the Microsoft Learning Consultants that works really closely with Connection. He was with a group of teachers, and he said, “Listen, whether you are using Google Chrome or you’re using Windows 10 we just wanna equip you with more tools in your tool belt-

Allison Condo:

Yes.

Penny Conway:

… to make sure that you’re ready-

Allison Condo:

Absolutely.

Alex DeRossi:

Yep.

Penny Conway:

… for whatever student, wherever the student is, to be able to fulfill the need to support that student.

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Penny Conway:

And one thing that I really love that we offer here at Connection is that we have both of you who are clearly very spirited-

Allison Condo:

We do.

Penny Conway:

… about your solution.

Allison Condo:

We are.

Alex DeRossi:

100%.

Penny Conway:

And-

Allison Condo:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

And through your support and your resources our account managers are really able to help schools who have this multi-OS solution as it works best for their school. So, I really appreciate both of you, Ally and Alex, coming to chat with me. I know our listeners are probably have this thought process and this conversation in their heads a lot.

Allison Condo:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Penny Conway:

So, it’s refreshing to know that there’s a resource like Connection that has two folks like yourselves that can really help guide customers through making the best purchasing decisions, the best learning decisions for their students, to ultimately improve student outcomes. So, think you so much for joining me today. It was awesome to talk to both of you.

Announcer:

At Connection we do understand the modern classroom. Whether your school is a Windows-based or a mixed environment, our team has the expertise to help you accomplish your school’s mission. Not sure what new technology is right for your school? Contact your account manager and work with specialists from Microsoft and more to help you decide. You’re also invited to listen to the latest podcasts episodes with experts from our Microsoft and Google resources. You’ll find those at govconnection.com under the industries link. Click K-12 Education, then click the A+ Academy banner.

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