What follows is a comparison between Microsoft Office 365 Education and G suite for Education. Get to learn which among the two has the best features for teachers and students.
NOTE: We will be using both United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) education system for descriptions.
What is Office 365?
Office 365 is a subscription package that brings together a variety of Microsoft apps and services like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams, OneNote, Exchange, One Drive e.t.c It is designed for business, families and education.
Types of Office 365 Apps for Education
There are different types of office 365 apps available for education. To get all the apps you must purchase the Office 365 A5 package.
- Creating Apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Sway, Forms, Publisher, Access
- Storage Apps: OneDrive, SharePoint and Stream
- Task Management apps: ToDo and Planner
- Communication apps: Outlook, Teams, Yammer, Exchange
- Automation apps: School Data Sync, Flow and Power Apps
- Scheduling Apps: Bookings
What is G suite for Education?
G suite for Education is a collaboration tool with a bundle of learning and teaching apps offered by Google. It was initially known as Google Apps for Education. Some of the most notable G suite apps are Google Classroom, Google Meet, Gmail, Assignments, Jamboard e.t.c
Types of G suite Apps for Education
Below are different types of G suite Apps for Education. We have listed all G suite edition apps (for free and enterprise);
- Communication: Gmail, Meet, Chat
- Class Management: Google Classroom, Assignment
- Scheduling: Calendar
- Task Management: Keep
- Creating: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites
- Storage Apps: Drive, Vault
Office 365 Education vs G suite for Education
Below are comparisons between office 365 education and G suite for education features.
- G Suite Education: To use this package, one must be a primary school or Secondary school (K-12) and Higher Education (college, university and vocational) that is non-profit.
- Office 365 education: To use this plan, you need a valid school email address for example email@example.com.
Office 365 education and G suite education have a free plan. But the free plan comes with usage limitations. Teachers should opt for the paid plan while students can use the free plan (Office 365 A1).
- G suite for Education Pricing: G suite Enterprise for education goes at $48 per user per year (There is an offer of $24 per year that is still running). With this plan you can Use all G suite apps listed above and more important Google Classroom and Meet.
- Office 365 Education pricing: The Lowest plan (Office 365 A3) goes at $39 per user per year. With this package, you can use all Office 365 apps listed above and more important Teams.
Ease of Access
Both G suite and Office 365 are user friendly and cloud based. Ease of Use boils down to the technical know-how of using the tools.
- G Suite: Accessing G suite apps for education is very simple if you have a Gmail account. All that you have to do is click a link and the web-app opens.
- Office 365: Some office 365 applications are only available on PC and those that are available as web-apps require a learning curve for first time users.
Verdict: If you are looking for a collaborative Edutech tool that is entirely on the WEB, light weight, easy to use and access then go for Gsuite.
- G suite: Offers unlimited cloud storage for schools. Files are stored on Google Drive.
- Office 365: Files are stored in One Drive and if you are using Teams, file will be stored on SharePoint. You can store upto 1 TB of data per user.
Class Assignment Management
- G suite: For Assignment Management tools, G suite has two vital web apps: Assignments and Classroom. Teachers can use Google classroom to assign tasks, receive assignments and provide feedback. Google Assignments can also be used for grading, checking for plagiarism in assignments, viewing word count and checking grammar errors.
- Office 365: Class Assignments can be created in Office 365 using Microsoft Teams. You can select whether students can or can’t edit their submitted assignments. You can also set assignment deadlines, grade assignments, provide feedback and check for originality in assignments using Turnitin (You need a Turnitin License).
- G suite: Google’s video conferencing tool is called Meet and is available as a web app. Students can join a Meeting via invite link or code. The free package comes with a limit of 100 participants (Read More On: Using Google Meet for Learning). Recordings are stored on Google Drive.
- Office 365: Microsoft’s video meeting tool that is part of Office 365 is called Teams (Read More on: Using Teams for Online Learning). It is available on web app. The maximum number of participants who can be in a Teams meeting at a time is 250. Recorded meetings can be downloaded to your local computer or uploaded to Microsoft Stream (Video Sharing Tool).
Verdict: If you are looking for a simple video conferencing tool that does not require technical know-how and is quick to setup then go for Meet.
In this case we refer to Office word or Google doc, Office Excel or Google Sheet, Office PowerPoint or Google Slides.
- G suite: Has minimalist document processing apps (Docs, Sheet, Slides). Their document processing apps are meant for sharing and simple data collaboration.
- Office 365: Has very powerful document processing apps (Word, Excel, ppt). Microsoft has spent many years improving its document processing apps. They can be used by professionals and beginners. Word for instance has advanced grammar correction and formatting features.
Differences: Office 365 document processing apps are available both on web App and Desktop. This means you can use their Desktop document processing apps without internet access. Gsuite document processing apps are only available on web App. You need to be online to use them.
Verdict: If you are looking for a powerful tool for document processing with both offline and online use, then Office 365 is the best choice.
Security and Privacy
- Office 365: Microsoft 365 offers protection by scanning attachments for virus, email encryption, password protection of files, file restoration e.t.c. However, you will need to be on a paid plan to use advanced security tools like multi-factor authentication.
Differences: When it comes to security both companies are doing pretty well. They all have a secure cloud technology (Azure and Google Cloud) for data storage. The only difference is that with G suite the admin has the responsibility of setting advanced security options while for Office 365 most of the security options are automated.
- G suite: We have listed some of G suite web applications above. G suite has web apps, browser apps and mobile apps. We have not heard of any G suite for education desktop app.
- Office 365: We have also provided a list of some of office 365 education apps. Office 365 has web apps, mobile apps and desktop apps. You can use its apps to work both offline and online effectively.
Difference: With office 365 you have the ability to use most of its apps online or offline from your desktop for instance Word, ppt, excel e.t.c With G suite apps, the options to work offline are limited.
Verdict: office 365 wins because its apps are ideal for both offline and online centric users.
Backup and Data Retention Policy
Sometimes you might accidentally delete your data. Below is how Office 365 and G suite retention policy compare;
- G suite: You can restore files that have been deleted from Google Drive within a period of 15-30 days. Administrators can use G suite tool called Google Vault to set data retention rules. You can also Contact Google Drive specialists for help with data recovery for free.
- Office 365: You can set data retention policies for Teams, Exchange, Sharepoint and OneDrive. Once you set a retention policy, a folder is created called Preservation Hold Library. Deleted data can stays in this folder for upto 93 days before its permanently deleted (Learn more about Office 365 Data Retention).
Factors to consider when selecting Collaboration Tools
- Admin Interface: Look at the admin setting options available for file access, student control and class management. The more admin setting options the better
- Pricing: What is the cost of using the tool on paid plan? Even if you want to start with free plan, it is important to look at how much their paid plans costs. The differences in pricing might seem like nothing but depending on the number of staff in your school, the small differences in price can result to skyrocketing costs.
- Student Interface: Which options are available on the student interface? You should look at the missing options that might compromise a student’s learning progress. For instance, file attachment, file editing, file sharing, Communication e.t.c
- Security and Privacy: How secure is the platform? What are the available privacy options? What are the data sharing policies? What are the levels of data access?
- Storage: How is data stored? Is it in the cloud or Local storage? What are the costs of data storage? What options are available for data access? Are there data backup options?
Recommendation: For Primary and secondary education (K-12), use G suite because it is simple and easy to use and can meet all the K-12 Students learning needs. For Vocational, College and University (Higher Education), use Office 365 because it comes packed with lots of features for communication, collaboration and document processing which can support heavy study needs of students in Higher education. Office 365 is also easier to scale up as your student population grows.
Important: It is vital that you use either G suite for education or office 365 Education for . This will make it easier for collaboration and data management. Additionally, do not be deceived with offers. Consider application features. If the offers run out and real prices kick in, you will have problems migrating data from one tool to another.