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Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Ideas About Technology & Learning: Using Google Apps In The Classroom



Google Apps is a service that provides customizable versions of several Google products under a custom domain name (like www.gacharters.org).

It features several "Apps" that are similar in function to competing software tools - including Gmail, Google Groups, Google Calendar, Google Drive (which houses Google Docs), Google Talk, and Google Sites.

Google Apps for Education is free and offers the same amount of storage as free Gmail accounts.

The teaching and learning opportunities offered by Google Apps are exciting and boundless, but are tempered by a set of sobering caveats that schools must consider carefully before adopting ...

Opportunities

  1. Teaching & Learning On Cloud Nine. Imagine a synchronized, paperless, collaborative school environment with engaged students and an organized, efficient faculty, staff, and administration.
  2. Streamlined Technology Expenses. The money saved on traditional hardware, software, and printing can be reinvested into innovative solutions like tablet computers, e-books, and learning Apps.
  3. Increased Network Security. Personal flash drives are acknowledged "vectors of infection" on computer networks. The Google Apps solution lessens dependence on transferring files via this method.

Caveats
  1. No Cloud (Shall Be) Left Behind. Cloud-based computing solutions (ones where all data is stored on an organization's network) require consistent, stable Internet access - which still cannot be assumed to be available to all students at home.
  2. All Inputs And Processes Determine Outcomes. No idea is inherently a plan for its implementation. The outcomes described above are achieved only through robust, thoughtful planning; adequate expertise and training; controlled growth, stable leadership, and committed teamwork.
  3. Money Is The Value Of Time. The money saved on traditional hardware, software, and printing may require greater investment in training and management expertise to navigate Google Apps' significant learning curve. This learning curve must also account for the resistance that often accompanies innovation and change.
  4. Do Not Mistake Activity For Achievement. Google products all have disarmingly simple interfaces. This may seduce even the most prudent school leader into adding "Google Apps System Administrator" to their already taxing duties. Empower your technology staff to manage and support this implementation to facilitate its success.



To Learn More ...
  1. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Slide Presentation - 54 Slides)
  2. Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps (Professional Development Webinar - 58 minutes, 52 seconds)
Please share your thoughts on these "Big Ideas" and best practices by leaving comments below. Email us or follow us on Twitter @dbrowndbrown to submit your own "Big Ideas" and best practices!
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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