Google today announced it is changing the eligibility guidelines of its free G Suite for Education service to include home-school co-ops. Parents and teachers who run home-school co-ops will be able to sign up for it in the coming weeks.
G Suite for Education includes all of Google’s usual online productivity tools and then layers a number of education-specific services like Classroom on top of that. Google Classroom, it’s worth noting, was already available to any G Suite user, but to subscribe to G Suite for Education, you needed to be affiliated with a school or school district. Now, home-school co-ops will be able to verify their status and get access to G Suite for Education, too.
“Through technology, home-school co-op teachers can set and change assignments on the fly, students can work together even if geographically separated, and everyone has a common format for collaboration,” writes Darren Jones of the Home School Legal Defense Association, in today’s announcement. “It’s because of this potential that I’ve been working closely with Google this year to make sure that home-school co-ops have the same access as other schools to G Suite for Education.”
Google has piloted this program with a number of co-ops in recent months. Given that these groups function a bit like traditional schools, with some being more formal than others, I can see how access to a shared and integrated set of tools would be useful there.