What are effective ways of implementing Google Apps for Education?

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This coming school year my district will be implementing Google Apps for Education. I will be a part of the team that will lead this implementation. In the coming months we will be trained in Google Apps, but I’m concerned that the focus will be on the products themselves rather than how to effectively teach students how to effectively use them in their schoolwork.

In the past when I’ve introduced a new technology (Schoology as an example) I’ve done little assignments using that technology to build on the skills needed to use it. Because I like using videos, I’ve done video assignments where students needed to accomplish a task (i.e.creating a profile or posting to a message board) on their own time and I made a video tutorial that would guide them if they needed help. That worked fairly well because it was only 110 students and they were all in my class. Google Apps will be introduced district wide (about 1300 students with 600 in my building) so I’d love to hear any ideas or suggestions on how to begin to reach this many students effectively.

For those that have been a part of implementing a technology tool on a large scale, what suggestions do you have or successful/not so successful stories that could help me this school year? For those that haven’t (like me) do you have any ideas/suggestions that you think would work well?

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10 thoughts on “What are effective ways of implementing Google Apps for Education?

  1. Unfortunately I don’t have experience or tips on how to implement Google Apps. I do know that when I began in my current district last year, I was introduced to Google Apps and immediately fell in love! This opens so many doors, it’s incredible. I love that our district gives every student their own Gmail account, too! Everything we do with Google Apps only requires their Gmail login, so students aren’t managing multiple login IDs or passwords, which is helpful. Good luck with the implementation, and I’m sorry I can’t be of any help!

  2. Hi Tyler,
    Wow! Sounds like quite the job you’ve got going. I definitely haven’t had experience implementing technology on a large scale. I do, however, think that video tutorials are always good. Anytime I want to learn how to do something, I go straight to YouTube. I’m sure many people do. Video tutorials are great because they can be easily stopped and replayed. I really know nothing about Google Apps, but it sounds like something that will be great for your district! Good luck on the adventure! I’d love to hear how it turns out.

  3. Tyler,

    You should stick with what has worked, your short videos. Our school is in the process of implementing a system called LANSchool and our tech specialist is tackling the training process by making 2-5 minute long videos on each tool. For my 505 class I evaluated his process and the teachers that took the time over the summer to watch a video and fill out the survey responded very positively (90% in almost every category). What they liked most was the fact that they could go back to that video whenever they need a refresher. In the past we have done large Professional Development meetings where the tech guy walks us all through it, but none of us are paying attention and as a result we don’t learn it or we go harass him later for a private tutorial. Good luck.

    Jeremy

    • Thanks for the input. I wish we had a tech specialist position so someone had the responsibility of making the videos attached to their job. As it stands now it will more than likely be myself and a few others making some videos because we want this to be successful.

  4. Tyler,
    I think you already have the right idea. Have students use the technology to apply skills they need for your class. If you set up an initial assignment that really walks them through the technology, then the next assignments can be scaffolded to a point where you are no longer teaching the tech and just using it to achieve course objectives. This is really great for your school. We don’t use much technology at all, and I sometimes have to fight for it. It’s nice that your school both supports and purchases technology for you and the students.

    • I think you’re right that the slow implementation is probably a good way to go. My problem is going to be getting lab/laptop time for students to be able to use the tech to complete the assignments (at least for those that don’t have it at home). Thanks for your input!

  5. I think you are going to be very pleased with the outcome of having Google Apps for Education. During the spring semester I sort of pushed the issue at my school and was able to get it started and am not looking back. I stuck to the very basics in fourth grade and the students ran with it. After getting all of my students going, I went to fifth grade and gave training down there. They loved it! It was the neatest thing watching the children just thrive on something new yet very manageable. Some even went home and taught their parents how to use it. Best of luck!

  6. Tyler, I think your videos will be a pretty good way to get your information out there, but you may want to present to the teachers as well. Once you have a few teachers that are effectively integrating the tools in meaningful ways, they will become great advocates as well. Students will pick up the skills, especially if they have classroom support. Best of luck!

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