Google Experimenting With New Cloud Storage, Artificial Intelligence Initiative For K-12

One of the more fascinating advances presented at the annual conference of the Consortium for School Networking this week is Google’s new initiative to provide cloud storage for K-12 districts. This service aims to assist districts in managing the vast amount of data they collect on their students. Additionally, Google plans to offer artificial intelligence-as-a-service, which will enable districts to analyze the data and create visualizations, recommendations, and predictions based on it. Currently, this initiative is being piloted by several school districts, including Washington’s Evergreen Public Schools system.

During the conference, Derrick Brown, the chief innovation officer of Evergreen, shared details about their partnership with Google. Brown emphasized the substantial amount of data that is generated by school districts, including student information systems, instructional software programs, surveys on students’ social-emotional well-being, and individualized education plans for special-needs students. Brown expressed the need for a platform that can effectively store and analyze this data, which is where Google Cloud Platform comes into play.

The precise details of how this arrangement works have not been disclosed by Google. However, the fundamental concept behind it is to consolidate the district’s data and utilize automated analysis to glean insights from datasets that have historically been housed separately. In the K-12 education realm, achieving such integration and interoperability among data sources has long been a desired goal. School districts have made efforts to build their own information warehouses, collaborate with vendors to improve learning management and student information systems, and advocate for technical standards that facilitate the seamless flow of data between systems.

Nevertheless, the challenges in achieving these goals have proven to be an obstacle. It remains uncertain how Google intends to address these persistent challenges. Privacy concerns are also paramount. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is the main law protecting student data privacy in the United States, requires districts to maintain direct control of educational records and grants parents the right to review and amend such records. Evergreen acknowledges that issues of data ownership and privacy need to be addressed, but no solutions have been formulated as of yet.

Recently, Evergreen has begun hosting its data with Google as part of a free pilot program. However, they have not yet determined what specific questions they hope to answer with the data. At this stage, Google is not utilizing its machine-learning algorithms or other AI tools to analyze the data.

Cloud computing is not a new concept in education, with 80% of districts already utilizing cloud-based educational software. Amazon Web Services is a popular option for cloud storage in K-12 education, although it lacks the analytics and recommendations that Google aims to provide. Google has been actively promoting its cloud platform to higher education institutions as well. If the new Google initiative in K-12 education gains traction and successfully addresses the questions it has raised thus far, it could have significant implications.

Chris McMurray, assistant superintendent at Evergreen, views this initiative as an opportunity for schools to gain deeper insights into their students. By combining the wealth of information with Google’s powerful AI tools, schools can personalize the learning experience for each student. McMurray is particularly excited about the potential for the machine to automatically make predictions based on certain indicators, leveraging Google’s existing AI capabilities.

In conclusion, Google’s venture into cloud storage and AI-as-a-service for K-12 districts has generated considerable interest. While challenges remain, this initiative has the potential to revolutionize data management and analysis in the education sector.


  • jayceadams

    Jayce Adams is a 27-year-old blogger who loves to share educational content on her website. She has a passion for helping others improve their lives, and she hopes to do so through her writing.