(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

This time last year, we were tailgating with the USC marching band at the EDUCAUSE conference—an annual gathering of the higher-education IT community. Last week, with more than 15 million people now actively using Google Apps for Education, we ventured to Philadelphia for a few jam-packed days at EDUCAUSE 2011. Our time in the city of brotherly love included a booth with 30+ Googlers and a woodsy backdrop for our fireside chat series; meeting with hundreds of CIOs from universities using and considering Google Apps for Education; a party at the Academy of Natural Sciences; and of course liberty and the lifelong pursuit of the Philly cheesesteak. Here’s a glimpse:

The Campus Computing Project released its annual report at EDUCAUSE, too. This year’s survey named Google as the leading provider of outsourced cloud-based campus email services. According to the survey, 89 percent of higher education institutions are either already using or considering switching to cloud-based solutions. Of four-year colleges and universities (including community colleges) that have already moved to the cloud, more than 56 percent have gone Google—including 64 percent of public universities and 66 percent of private universities.

Last month we shared that 61 of US News and World Report’s top 100 Universities are using Google Apps for Education. That number’s now up to 62, and is still just a snapshot of the thousands of institutions using Apps on campus. Schools that have recently selected Apps for Education as their collaboration platform include Harvard University, University of Texas at Austin, Wellesley College, University of Amsterdam, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of York and University of Bristol.

In addition to these new schools, we’re also bringing some new integrations to Apps:
  • OpenClass: Pearson has developed a free cloud-based Learning Management System that is tightly integrated with Google Apps and provides a new kind of learning environment that stimulates social learning. This is available in the Apps Marketplace.
  • SlideRocket EDU: This presentation software integrated for cloud-based collaborative education enables you to unleash the creation, sharing and communication of ideas with an online application that connects with content in Google Apps for Education and is available on any device or browser. This is available in the Apps Marketplace.
  • Blackboard Bboogle: Last year, Northwestern University presented their popular Bboogle (Blackboard + Google) application at our EDUCAUSE booth. Bboogle has now been certified by Blackboard and is available to other universities as a Building Block through Blackboard’s Extensions website. Bboogle enables instructors to link Blackboard course sites directly to Google Docs, Calendars and Sites without requiring a second login. And by automatically setting permissions for editing, it helps encourage and facilitate collaborative instruction.
  • Desire2Learn: Users will soon be able to add widgets to Course Homepages that make it easy to view unread email messages in Gmail, keep track of upcoming events in Calendar, and submit assignments created in Docs.
If you weren’t able to join us in person at this year’s EDUCAUSE conference, you can check out some of our photos, and we’ll hope to see you next year.