Two major outages in the Google Drive system this month highlight concerns with increasing demand for remote classes.
According to the Google Suite system used to track down the issue, the Google system went offline shortly after 8am on Tuesday and remained down until 10am. The user reported that it took a long time to load the document and eventually loaded the document with multiple error messages. Just a week before September 8th, a similar national outage occurred on Google Drive.
Ryan Gravette, Technology Director of the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, said such system outages typically occurred a couple of times a year before this fall. However, these interruptions are increasing between the two Google Drive issues and being overwhelmed by the video calling service Zoom when many colleges started in August.
“We’re seeing increased page load times and outages as the whole country is turning tools that aren’t used to this level of burden for online learning and use,” Gravette said.
Gravette estimates that about 90% of Idaho school districts use the Google Suite as the primary platform for student email and documentation, so long-term outages are of particular concern. These services are the default settings for Chromebooks, which are computers running the Google Chrome operating system, and are available to almost all students in Idaho Falls School District 91.
Camillewood, director of technology for District 91, said the problem would be more serious if the problem occurred on Friday when all teachers and students were learning remotely. During both temporary outages this week, she acknowledged the teacher’s flexibility in finding ways to circumvent the restrictions.
“Some aren’t completely dependent on technology, but people noticed that they got a lot of tickets,” Wood said.
The outage did not affect other Google services, allowing students to use email, calendars, and edit downloaded documents.
According to Gravette, the Idaho Digital Learning Academy sends an alert to parents and schools if the system goes down completely for an hour, but Google Drive outages weren’t consistent enough to cause it. .. Most students using IDLA reported connectivity issues to their local district rather than to the online school, but Gravette hadn’t heard of any test issues or a major setback from Tuesday’s issues.
This month, a school in Idaho also suffered a power outage. Two schools, Blackfoot School District, Snake River School District, and West Jefferson School District, were closed on September 8 due to a local power outage caused by a storm on Monday night.
Brennen is a leading educational journalist at Post Register. Contact him for news tips at 208-542-6711.
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