Going Google in Your School or District
Brad Currie, Billy Krakower, Scott Rocco
Rolling out a G Suite for Education plan for a school or district is an exciting yet daunting undertaking that requires time, support, and patience. The initiative requires a commitment to the Chrome Browser and an ability to look at teaching and learning in a new way.
It can be done in a 1:1 or BYOD setting and involve a plethora of devices including Chromebooks, iPads, or a Windows based computer.
5 Hacks for Going Google at Your School
1 – Assess The Needs of Students and Staff
Gaining insight from stakeholders can a tremendous help when trying to transform a learning environment. Conducting a Google Form survey to assess staff needs is a step in the right direction.
Consider creating a Chrome Committee that consists of students, staff, administration, tech support, and parents to gain further insight to guide decision making. Informal classroom observations and conversations with staff would help in solidifying the initiative.
2 – Establish a G Suite for Education PLC
Driving pedagogically sound teaching with technology starts with teachers holding consistent conversations around best practices pertaining to student engagement within the G Suite for Education framework. Teachers could meet with their subject area or grade level colleagues within their school or district.
Focusing on such things as the SAMR Model to support developing lessons with Google Apps like Docs, Slides, Sites, Drawings, and Maps can go a long way in promoting the success of students. Creating and maintaining a Google Classroom “Class” for the PLC will help with sharing ideas and resources throughout the school year.
3 – Differentiate Your Approach to G Suite Training
A school or district is only as good as the number of qualified technology coaches made available to support staff. It’s always important to remember that most educators are going to be at one of three ability levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Planning individual or group trainings must include knowing what staff members are or are not capable of doing within the G Suite for Education space. Training can take place before, during, and after school for staff.
Additionally, virtual training should be offered as much as humanly possible. Leaning on the expertise of middle school and high school tech clubs can help teachers integrate Google Apps more effectively.
Holding parent tech nights/mornings 3 or 4 times during the school year can help acclimate them to this new learning environment especially since students will be required to do assignments at home. Shifting the use of time during faculty meetings to focus on sharing best practice tech initiatives can help everyone out in the long run.
4 – Hold a District Wide G Suite for Education Summit
A day of learning consisting of a G Suite for Education Keynote Address and staff-led breakout sessions will be beneficial for all involved. The Evolving Educators have many of the country’s leading educational thought leaders when it comes to Google Apps integration.
An additional step to consider is that staff should be given an additional day within one month of Summit to dig deeper so they have to time to apply what was learned. Those who volunteer to present at the Summit should will be offered a chance to attend out of district conferences and workshops to further sharpen their skills.
5 – Support a Google Educator Certification Initiative
A two or three year plan should be put into place to have as many staff members as possible become Google Certified educators, trainers, and innovators. Learn more by visiting https://edu.google.com/training/.
Points of Emphasis for Students and Teachers
For the Going Google initiative to be a success students and staff must commit to a paperless learning environment with Chrome, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Classrooms and a host of other apps, extensions, and add-ons. A new reality consisting of real time creation, collaboration, and communication must exist. Going Google will transform the way students learn, teachers teach, and leaders lead with G Suite for Education.
Brad Currie, Billy Krakower, and Scott Rocco are co-authors of the soon to be released Hacking Google for Education, Book 11 in the Hack Learning Series. Learn more about them by visiting www.evolvingeducators.com.