Working with Google and some progressive network admins in Vermont to offer a panel on Google Apps for Education at the state's annual Tech Pizza Conference.
[Jeff Keltner from Google and Google Apps administrators from Vermont schools, Lucie deLaBruere, Eric Hall, Katie Dugan, Rick Armitage, and BJ Behrendt fielding questions about implementing Google Apps for Education in K12 environment]
We set up a Google Moderator site to collect questions participants would like addressed at this panel.
If you have teachers who are interested integrating Google products in their classroom, check out this summer professional development opportunity
TEACHING THE GOOGLE GENERATION
St. Albans City School w/ Lucie deLaBruere, Google Certified Educator - August 10-14
(With Orientation Session on June 1 - followed by 3 hours online prior to intitute.
Learn how to use the extensive suite of free Google Tools in your Classroom to support 21st century learning. Gain access to hundreds of resources and lesson plans from Google Teachers Academy. Tools such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Video, Google Sites, Custom Search Engine, Google Reader, and more are changing the way today's students learn. Use them to change the way you teach and the learning culture in your classroom.
Reporting back after the Panel:
Lucie deLaBruere started the session by announcing that applications are currently open for the next Google Teachers Academy and encouraged folks to apply. She then introduced the panel.
Jeff Keltner from Google provided a quick demo of Google Apps. A panel of Google Apps admins from Vermont Schools briefly introduced how they use Google Apps in their school including Rick Armitage, Eric Hall, Katie Duggan, BJ Behrendt
We then introduced the questions participants had submitted to the Google Moderator site set up for this session. www.tinyurl.com/googlepizza
Jeff answered some of the questions posted on the Google Moderator and also fielded questions from staff.
Although we did not get a chance to answer all the questions, the panel agreed to post some input to the questions we did not get to.
Lucie closed up the session by inviting teachers who want professionial development in Google Apps and other Google products in education to consider her class "Teaching The Google Generation" this summer.
Here are some highlights from the panel session.
Jeff reminded folks that Google Apps has several benefits for schools, included no advertisement. The one thing that changed his life was able able to use 'search' instead of organizing his life. It takes a while to accept that the world does not need to be organized, when you can the world when you can just search.
Jeff highlighted the benefits of 'chat', video communication, and calendar, Google Docs, real time collaboration, Google forms, google sites, and free tech support.
The panel then highlighted some of the Google Apps implementation at their schools which included curriculum mapping, student sharing documents, 7th and 8th grade, secretarial staff.
Everyone's implementation seemed to evolve from trying to solve a problem, (i.e. shared calendaring, increased student access at hoome, collaborating with parents, needing to chat. student writing project, curriculum mapping, live web calendaring, needing private video sharing.
Google releases new code every 2 weeks. New features are constantly being added. The goal is not to add every feature requested, but to be responsive for features requested.
Question: How responsive is Google to bug request. Very responsive, go to Help button,
Jeff got applause from the panel as he listed some of the features coming up (soon) including group and user management, distribution list,
Question: Does Google Apps work with subdomains. What are best practice to get users across different domains collaborating.
Jeff suggested not to go down the subdomain group and felt that one domain was a better scenario. He announced a coming ability to create groups and change permission based on membership in groups. (applause from panel)
Jeff continued to address questions about being able to disable and enable feature and being able to restrict what students can do w/ the tools.
The panel jumped in and commented that Google Apps has helped them address ethics and safety in real time (not just theory). The group questioned the wisdom of using technology to avoid conversation and opportunity to have those conversation.
Question: How can we address needs for archiving.
Jeff mentined that Google does not provide free email archiving, but they do partner with Postini and offer discounted e-discovery services school for archiving and that it can be down on a user basis. The challenge with addressing archiving is that different lawyers have different interpretations. Some believe that you need to archive all, others believe that you just need a policy that tells folks to not delete certain types of message, or to CC a copy messages that need archiving to an archive account.
Google honors privacy but keeps everything until a user deletes it; if empty trash bin, then its gone forever.
Google is currently working with to offer filtering to schools for free. Expected launch will be June 1. The system will filter email differently for different users in your domain on content and have options such as delivered/ flagged.
Jeff mentioned that Google Moderator is now available to Google Apps. He then demonstrated Google Moderator (which was used by President Obama in a recent town meeting forum)
Help File for adding Moderator to Google Apps:
Question: Can you add aliases. Yes, you can add as many domain to a single domain as you would like. When you set them up as one domain, you can share across subdomains.
Questions: What is the impact on bandwidth.
Bandwidth can vary. Panel responded that their bandwidth issues were more from other application such as You Tube than Google Apps. Some panel members said that their bandwidth use went down.
Question: What are some of the issues you ran into in implementation:
- If you have younger kids, log in for the first time ahead of time, because the "captcha" is a hurdle, especially for little kids.
- Provide training in advance
- Give the tools to teachers first
- Give the tools to students first and let them lead.
- Demo new features often; don't assume people know all the cool features or are using them.Train on deleting emails vs. conversation...
- Some users were losing emails because they didn't know they were deleting the whole conversation. or better yet, (use archive...you nolonger need to delete anything)Give the kids home access. Think about who should be involved in the decision.
- Let go of some of the need to control.
- Consider putting tools in the hands of kids even if you can't track it all.
- Develop digital citizens.
- Google Apps can now provide differentiated levels of access for students. At current the share is available on document basis. Coming soon: share a folder, distribution list, google sites, and video.
- Help folks understand DELETE. Understand that delete forever, means its gone. Delete is forever for privacy purposes..delete document that is shared gives you options about deleting share or document.
- Some panel members found revision history useful to tell who did what work in a project. Others saw that revision doesn't work anywhere need at the level as tracking.
Questions: Does Google plan to offer cloud storage for all kinds of files.
Answer: It currently uploads pdf in the doc dashboard. You can also use google sites (page type called file cabinet) to put files in the cloud. Files are searchable in google sites and has some files management capacity that allows it to be used like a storage cabinet with document repository
Quetion: Do you have to add a new team member to shared document.
Yes at this time. Google Sites allows search across all the sites which can store up to 100 gigabyte per domain...
Time ran out, but the the Google Panel has been kind enough to include some of answers to the questions that did not get addressed in the Google moderator. They have also offered to help others by answering other questions, allowing visits, or even doing training. Lucie is currently working on a 3 hour hands on workshop for NECC that helps first time Google Apps administrator understand the possibilities and options for administrating a domain.
Thanks to Jeff and the Vermont ed tech panel for helping out with this workshop at Vemont's annual techies conference for School IT staff.