Office 365 Education vs. G Suite for Education

STEM education

Educational tools can greatly enhance learning and help students develop the technical skills required to thrive in the modern workforce. As a teacher, there are a wide variety of educational software options you can choose from, but the two that stand out are Office 365 Education and G Suite for Education. Both offer an impressive array of apps and features for learning and classroom management, but which one is better for you and your students?

Overview

G Suite for Education is a free, cloud-only platform that offers a full suite of applications, including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Drive, Calendar, and more. G Suite for Education subscriptions give you 30GB of Gmail storage and unlimited fire storage space in Google Drive.

Office 365 Education is a free platform that offers web versions of familiar apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, but it also has a paid version called Office 365 Education E5 that gives you offline productivity apps and additional features. Education E5 costs $6 for student accounts and $8 for faculty members. Unlike G Suite, Office 365 offers 50GB of storage in OUtlook inboxes and 1TB of file storage in OneDrive folders.

Productivity apps
Office 365 and G Suite productivity apps are fairly similar. Both allow students and teachers to collaborate on documents in real time, but Microsoft’s apps have a slight edge for their more robust features.

Microsoft Word, for example, has advanced autocorrect, image editing, and bibliography features to help students with coursework. Office documents are even integrated with chat and call capabilities so students can collaborate and give each other immediate feedback. G Suite doesn’t have these features, but it does have a cleaner, more intuitive user interface.

Communications
For communications, Office 365 has Microsoft Teams for instant messaging, audio/video calls, and project management. It also incorporates many of the cutting-edge features of Skype for Business like HD call quality and video conferencing with up to 250 participants per session. What’s more, students can set up private channels in Teams to share files and sync their calendars for group projects.

G Suite for Education gives you and your students Google Hangouts, which is decent for video chat and is well-integrated with other Google services, but lacks Microsoft Teams’ file-sharing, instant messaging, and high-quality call capabilities.

Classroom tools
The best thing about G Suite is Google Classroom, an online app where you can manage your students and set and grade assignments. Students also gain access to classroom inboxes so they can receive important updates and homework assignments. You can even share grades and announcements with parents by inviting them into your online classroom.

Office 365 previously had a ‘Microsoft Classroom’ app, but all its features were moved to Microsoft Teams instead. Teams offers the same capabilities as Google Classroom, but it suffers from a cluttered interface, making its classroom management features difficult to use.

Forms
Office 365 and G Suite both have a ‘Forms’ app that lets you create timed quizzes, distribute surveys and questionnaires, and check the results as they come in. Both platforms are great for testing your students, but Microsoft comes out on top with its additional grading and feedback capabilities.

Security
G Suite for Education protects you and your students’ information with advanced encryption systems, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits. Office 365 Education offers all this plus Advanced Threat Protection, which monitors emails, links, and files for malware and other cyberattacks. Office 365 Education also includes Active Directory, which allows you to set access restrictions and manage user credentials.

Which platform is best for you and your students?

The answer to this will vary depending on your needs. If you need a free, cloud-only, and user-friendly service, then G Suite for Education is the best option for your school. Office 365 Education makes sense if you require robust features and don’t mind paying a small subscription fee for extra protection, features, and offline apps.

Empower IT Solutions offers both Office 365 and G Suite services along with managed education solutions to enable you to better manage your classes, tests, curriculum, and students. If you still haven’t decided which platform works for you, consult with our experts today.