Brazil’s Bom Jesus Educational Group becomes technology innovator by adopting Google Workspace for Education Plus

Combining tradition with technology

The Bom Jesus schools are steeped in tradition, but education leaders also look to the future—specifically, seeking out technology solutions that help teachers and students connect with each other and engage in classwork.

"We're always looking ahead and searching for technical and educational tools that may improve the learning process, as well as bringing our students and teachers closer." says Jorge Apóstolos Siarcos, General Director of the Grupo Educacional Bom Jesus.

An example of this outlook is the schools’ early embrace of cloud for education. “We were using Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals for students, teachers, and administrators as early as 2012,” says Marcelo Augusto Gonçalves Bardi, CIO of the Grupo Educacional Bom Jesus. As Bardi explains, Education Fundamentals has been a boon to everyone on Bom Jesus’s campuses, supporting teaching and learning while also adhering to the group’s traditional education values.

“Education Fundamentals lets education happen 24/7, helping students connect with teachers remotely whenever they want, and giving my team the ability to know what’s happening with our system in real time,” says Daniella Biselli Silveira Clivatti, Coordinator of the Educational Technology of Bom Jesus.

Grupo Bom Jesus has been working toward its digital transformation steadily since those early days. As a result of their hard work, Bom Jesus already has four Google for Education Reference Schools, recognized by Google for their outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes.

“We’re proud to say that our students didn’t need to miss a day of school,” Bardi says. “We were already experienced in using Education Fundamentals and Meet, so it only took about a day to put our remote learning plan into effect.”

Daniella Biselli Silveira Clivatti, Educational Technology Coordinator, Bom Jesus

More choices and features for Meet

When Google Workspace for Education Plus became available in 2018, Grupo Bom Jesus signed on right away, and immediately made use of Meet to offer larger virtual classes, as well as record and archive classes. Also in the upgraded Education Plus were new Meet tools for controlling attendance and behavior during Meet sessions.

“Now anyone running a Meet can decide whether to allow anonymous users to attend, or to keep them out,” explains Clivatti. “We also find the polling feature in Meet very useful—it’s very easy to pull up during a class or meeting.”

The premium Meet features were also helpful in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic required Grupo Bom Jesus to switch to remote learning at many of its schools. “We’re proud to say that our students didn’t need to miss a day of school,” says the General Director of the Grupo Educacional Bom Jesus, Jorge Apóstolos Siarcos. “We were already experienced in using Education Fundamentals and Meet, so it only took about a day to put our remote learning plan into effect. We were able to show our communities, including parents, that our technology partners would support us during this time.” In fact, Grupo Bom Jesus’s ability to offer live classes via Meet has become a differentiator for the organization.

Education Plus’s security features, such as the dashboard features for security controls as well as investigation tools, help the Grupo Bom Jesus schools keep teachers and students safer. “As we are responsible for children and young people, security is essential for a safe environment, and knowing those tools are there helps drive confidence in the system,” says Bardi.

Unlimited originality reports encourage students to improve sourcing

Once the Grupo Bom Jesus schools upgraded to Education Plus, teachers began exploring originality reports, which use the power of Google Search to help students integrate outside content into their writing. Education Plus includes unlimited access to the feature, encouraging students to use it as well as teachers, scanning work against a repository of student projects.

“We’ve had a few other apps for plagiarism and research in the past, but they were very costly,” and were not built into solutions that teachers and students were already using, says Clivatti. Originality reports are a part of Education Plus, making it easy to scan student work directly from Education Fundamentals tools, like Google Docs. “It’s very important for our older students to learn how to cite sources correctly.”

No matter which technology solutions that Grupo Educacional Bom Jesus deploys in the future, its education team wants to ensure that like Education Plus, the tools enable teaching and learning—not take it over. “Parents tell us that they want their children to have a humanized education,” Bardi says. “That’s a great challenge—to invest more and more in education, but not to forget the human side. The adoption of Google has been very organic. Education Plus has helped us make even more connections with students and strengthen the culture of our schools.”