I love Google Docs. I’m composing this blog post in a google doc. And I love Slack (I wrote about it here first!). But, given the economics of google and questions of privacy, as well as Slack’s new Terms of Service, more and more institutions are turning to alternatives.
Enter sandstorm.io. It is a “self-hostable productivity suite.” It is proving particularly popular at Canadian institutions because of laws that prevent student data from being housed on servers outside the country.
Many of the tools look an awful lot like the tools we already use, like google docs or Slack, but stripped down (like when we first started using google docs because it wasn’t Word and then it tried to be Word and this is why we can’t have nice things). Many of the tools that you can plug into the suite are open source, so you can modify them if you have the skills/drive
We’ve been struggling in our own office around these very issues of privacy and security, as well as accessibility and familiarity. The students are now mostly familiar with the google suite of tools having used them in K-12. But, for our own work, and our work moving forward, is feeding the google beast an inevitable outcome or can we find alternatives like this?