Join us for GoogleFest 2015. Attendees will get first-hand knowledge from Google Experts, CDW staff, and Michigan Google Certified Teachers using Google tools that include: Google Apps for Education (GAFE), Forms & Scripts, Classroom, Sites, Google Play, and much more.
If you have ever experienced issues getting students to and/or into a website or application, you know how frustrating it can be. I recently observed a classroom of 9th graders in which all students could login to laptops (using network logins they can’t change), but six students were unable to login to their district Google accounts (accounts they have had for over two years but can change). The teacher had to scramble to get them their logins and help them get to the site. It was more than 10 minutes before everyone was where they needed to be. Not good.
This is obviously a problem and certainly one that can be avoided. Here are some ideas that we have seen districts use to make tech use more efficient and fluid:
Set the student web browser to open on a page that has all the direct links they need. This should include teacher pages and district-supported sites. It helps if this page is not cluttered with an overwhelming amount of content. (elementary school example, decent secondary example)
If you are a teacher, provide a clear way for students to access your stuff (documents, links, help, etc.). This means you should have an online home for your stuff. (seemore about this from Ron). When they click to your course/page, they should be able to access the most pertinent content without scrolling or clicking excessively.
Set up integration between systems if possible. At Kent ISD, we have been using the GADS Sync toolto sync our Google domain with our LDAP directory. Students are also unable to change their passwords to avoid login issues like those mentioned above. Even if you can’t do an integration, you can set a common username structure for all district-supported applications and lock passwords for critical systems. Yes, students need to learn login management, but I argue they can learn that using non-critical systems.
These ideas take some work and some collaboration among IT and other staff, but if that work does not get done, then we will continue to waste time getting students where they need to be online. Worse yet, teachers will continue to resist and avoid technology because it interferes with what they do. We need to make sure systems are in place to make tech access as easy as possible for all. If you have strategies that have worked for you, please share them in the comments.
Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the Kent ISD Tech Camp! This 3-day à la carte event will be chock-full with learning, interaction, and hands-on activities. Tech Camp will be held at Kent Innovation High, which affords us a much larger venue and one that’s very conducive to learning with your peers.
As we get closer, we’ll publish a full list of sessions, SCECH information and the link to sign up. For now, add it to your calendar – you’ll not want to miss it!
Want to bring technology into your classroom? Looking to discover new ways of creating meaningful learning experiences for your students?
This self-paced, online course is intended for anyone – of any technical skill level – hoping to use Google’s educational tools in the classroom. Through videos, use-cases, and examples you’ll get ideas about how to bring Google for Education (including Google Apps for Education with classroom, Google Maps and more) into your teaching.
Google Drive is already one of the best cloud storage services around, and last week it got even better— that is if you’re using a Google Apps for Education (GAfE) account. In an effort to further enhance its commitment to education, Google is offering both educators and students unlimited Drive storage at no cost. As far as we can tell, unlimited means just that for as long as you have that GAfE account. There is one small caveat though – you are “limited” to a single file size of 5TB. I don’t think I even have a total of 5TB of storage in the many files I do hoard, let alone a single file of that size.
Let there be no doubt the strategy from the search giant to build their user base by getting people hooked on ubiquitous access at a young age.
Something that we should all think about beyond the ever present talk about privacy issues, which are both ongoing and debunked is: What happens to your files when you leave an EDU organization?
Since our students may move from district to district, and will eventually graduate – what’s your plan for data portability and to help them take their digital artifacts with them? Google has a relatively unknown utility which allows anyone to make a backup of most of their Google product files, to include Drive data. Formerly called Google Takeout, now Data Tools – this service creates a downloadable .ZIP file of your content.
Having a statement on data portability might be a great addition to your student handbook and might be a good topic for a short staff professional development topic.
If you ever have any questions about your organization’s Google Apps for Education accounts, please feel free to contact the expert Kent ISD Educational Technology Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org – We’re always willing to provide professional learning for you and your staff around technology integration into the classroom.