This year we decided to take on a new project in school – adapting Google Apps for Education.
It works like this. Google offer schools the facility to have a corporate email structure with cloud storage, shared calendars, internal websites and other bits & pieces. And, if you’re a school, the cost is free. Obviously, this is a big plus for any school – I don’t know of any that complain of having too many resources.
And what’s on offer?
- Each user gets a gmail account (for us, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Create groups so that you can share resources or email them.
- Each account comes with 30GB of cloud storage via Google Drive
- Each account comes with Google docs (the ability to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms)
- Google Classroom (it’s new & I haven’t figured out its potential or pitfalls yet)
- Google Sites (the ability to create websites internally or viewable externally)
So. How do you actually tap into this resource?
If you go to this link, you can apply to Google to take on their Apps for Education suite.
Step 1 was to get registered. This can be done using the existing domain for the school. Google can then move your email to a gmail account. The alternative is to create a new domain, but you need to jump through an extra hoop or two while Google verifies that you are acting on behalf of your school.
Step 2 is to get accounts set up within the school. If you have a lot of students then what you do is to get the names of the students on a CSV file and allocate them all email identities and passwords. This does take a bit of time – but that’s nothing compared to step 3
Step 3: take students to the computer room and get them all to open up their accounts. this is best described as bedlam. Chaos is a good alternative word at this point.
Step 4: get students to accomplish basic tasks such as opening drive, creating a document, or uploading files and sending an email.
Step 5: email the group you just signed up giving them instructions on how to add their account to their phone/tablet. (they like this bit)
A few teachers have started using the Classroom app, and seem to be happy with the ability to email notes and assignments to groups of students.
It’s early days yet, but there’s a lot of potential.
There’s a lot o resources out there from people who are a lot more experienced than I – but hopefully this will help someone get a start!