10 Ways to Drive GAFE Adoption at your School

My next session is 10 Ways to Drive GAFE Adoption at your School by Peter Henrie of AmplifiedIT. I have done a little work with the guys at AmplifiedIT (they facilitated our adoption of Cloudlock), so I know I will get some great information from them. Peter tells us that his objective is for us to go back to our schools equipped with a few ideas of how to drive adoption of Google Apps at our schools.

1. Plan your school’s adoption: map out what, who, when where and Identify areas which would benefit from Google Tools. Set milestones, like going paperless or increase docs use by 50% by next semester.

2. When you reach milestones, celebrate them publicly. How do you know if people are using Google Apps or if you have hit your milestones, use the Reports Tab in the Control Panel. Here is a document that can help you navigate the reporting tools.

App Usage report in the Audit Log.

App Usage report in the Audit Log.

3. Help staff transform their current lessons with GAFE, not simply use the technology for technology sake. Focus on curriculum delivery, create champions of various tools, deliver key outcomes, and have department/subject specialization. I think this idea is especially important. Science teachers and History teachers have different needs, as do elementary and high school teachers.

4. Explore external/online training solutions like Synergyse Google Apps Training. These tools (often paid) can allow people to train on their own schedule and on their own topics. Its reporting tools give you up to date information on who has completed professional development. As these tools only focus on PD, so their content is always up to date.

5. Create & Publicize Templates. Templates are kind of hidden away, so you will need to direct people to them. You can create templates for things like course websites, forms, agendas, etc. Teachers can create and add their own templates, which is a great way to sure lessons and other tools. You can learn how to create and submit a template here.

6. Get people to use other services in GAFE: Calendar, Groups, Sites, and Drive. To get people to use these tools, create resources in them. For example, if you want them to use Calendar create a  Test Calendar or a Resources Calendar. For Groups, you can create discussion groups. For sites, use them for course websites or digital portfolios. Drive is a great way to have people share robust files that are too large for email (video).

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.03.39 PM7. Browse the EDU sections of Chrome Webstore and Google Apps Marketplaces. The Chrome Webstore allows you to add extension or add-ons to Chrome and has an education extension. The benefit of using these add-ons is that you can not only access a myriad of tools (paid and free) and automatically have single sign-on. The Google Apps Marektplace is a feature that your administrator will need to enable and tends to include more robust tools that are often tied to third party tools (like an LMS).

8. Remove Obstacles: Don’t make it hard for people to use these tools. Make sure that GAFE is configured correctly, create a browser policy (to facilitate Chrome adoption), delegate admin rights, and use Groups for easy sharing.

9. Create a Teacher Dashboard. Peter recommends Hapara. If the cost is prohibitive, try Google Classroom (which has fewer functions). The dashboard makes GAFE more usable and easier to navigate.

10. Lead by Example: Model effective integration of GAFE by using Google Docs, default to Chrome, and practicing what you preach. If you draft the minutes of a faculty meeting on a Google doc and share it out with faculty to revise or view, then it not only forces them to log in to that Google Doc, but demonstrates application and learning.

AmplifiedIT has also drafted a couple of ebooks on Google Apps adoption: 14 Ways to Increase Google Apps Adoption at your School and 9 Expert Pieces of Advice for Adopting Google Apps for Education at Your School.

GAFE Summit Los Angeles – Ken Shelton

Kenneth Shelton courtesy of http://kennethshelton.net/

Kenneth Shelton courtesy of http://kennethshelton.net/

I am so excited to be in Los Angeles at the Google Summit at Harvard Westlake. Harvard Westlake is not only a great school, but my good friend Moss Pike (follow him on twitter) is organizing this conference!

The Keynote Speaker is Kenneth Shelton. His topic is “Why Technology Matters.” Ken tells us that he wants to use this time to discuss how we identify the word “technology,” how students use it, and how it can and should be used. He says that he looks at technology as a way to accelerate learning. It doesn’t make a bad teacher good, but it allows a good teachers to become better!

One of the greatest hurdles facing educators in technology is anxiety. On the other side are teachers who can’t get enough technology (self-identified)! Ken next shows us a series of images that can all be identified as “technology,” things like: bicycles, erasers, stoplights, etc. Technology doesn’t have to involve electricity or plugging in. So he asks us “what is one word that highlights how we feel with technology” and shares a tinyurl for us to submit our thoughts via a Google Form. Ken shows us some of the responses which range from “frustrating” to “empowering.” I personally feel that technology itself is neutral, it’s how you use it.

“We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” – Carl Sage

Technology Myths

Digital Immigrants vs. Digital Natives – this has been a popular concept in the realm of educational technology and I’m happy to see Ken knock this one out. I find it frustrating and an unnecessary barrier. We all grew up with technology, it has just changed. Additionally, just because a student knows how to post a status update or search a map doesn’t mean that they can harness it effectively.

It’s Easier than it Looks – Technology use is not the same as effective use. For example, we don’t give students the keys to a car without driving lessons. It looks easy, but it’s not. We cannot just give kids tools and then let them run. Kids may be better at figuring things out, but that doesn’t mean they can use it meaningfully.

It’s Harder than it Looks – Technology has become more user friendly and there are numerous resources to learn how to use them.

Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Blooms Taxonomy – Ken steps into controversial territory when he says that Blooms Taxonomy is a myth. It shifts regularly and requires a strict protocol and hierarchy. Ken states that in the digital age they are no longer hierarchical, you can create to understand without going through remembering. You can blend creating with application and understanding. You don’t have to follow it from the bottom up.

A New Philosophy

Advantage of NOT Knowing – When you are in the creation phase, you have a million opportunities for an outcome. You have an advantage of not knowing and thus can explore. We are used to getting the result we are looking for, we get frustrated. When this happens in the classroom, we try to shield our students from knowing that. There are millions of possibilities and we should embrace it! By focusing on the result that we want, you ignore the thousands of other possible options and outcomes.

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” – Lao Tzu

If you embrace change, then you can do many more things than you envisioned.

Strong Meaningful pedagogy hasn’t changed. What has changed, is how we can incorporate meaningful tools and processes into our classroom. Do we embrace innovations or do we stick to our old ways? You have to try the new thing and adapt. The more you experiment with new tools, the better you get at them. We have a fear of trying something new; we don’t want to fail or stumble. However, if I knew that everything would be the same in 5 years I would be horrified. We have to try new things while stumbling along the way.

Students need good boundaries.

Most rules and boundaries in education apply only to the physical boundaries of the school. We need to expand our conversations about rules to things that take place outside of the physical construction of a school; this includes the digital realm. If we want to keep students safe, then we need to have meaningful discussions with them about digital citizenship. Talk to them about building a positive digital footprint. What will someone find when they google your name? The case of Justine Sacco is the most famous recent case of “digital shaming.” While her case is a good one to highlight about how an errant tweet can create chaos, it also brought about a new discussion about how powerful digital shaming has become. In fact, Monica Lewinsky just did a TED talk about this


I really think that it is necessary to discuss our reaction to people’s online behavior. Does an errant tweet really necessitate a public shaming by millions of people worldwide? Is this a new version of cyber bullying?

In addition to discussing what to post online, it’s a good idea to talk to students about contributing meaningfully. Do we need a million cat videos? Probably not… When my students create something often, I do like to encourage them to put it out there – build your own portfolio of what you want others to see. Kids are making stuff and putting it out there all of the time. Are we discussing with students and parents what they are putting online? Let’s talk about responsible use!

We need to support students, parents, and teachers to use technology in a responsible and product manner. If we don’t support our stakeholders and give them support, then we are setting them up for failure. The tools are important in that we must use them meaningfully.

The last component of why technology matters is to plant the seeds of intellectual curiosity.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sa.” Antoine de Saint Expuery

Technology can open up new worlds for students in a responsible manner and build a sustainable model of motivation. Technology can give students a voice; children that are shy or struggle with communication skills can harness new technologies in powerful ways. Students can make their thinking visible, show their work, and create a powerful narrative.

Use Zaption to Enhance Video Content

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers.

Video has become a more ubiquitous element in education today: YouTubeVideos, Kahn Academy, Flipped Content, iTunes U, and more. However, most teachers don’t want their students passively absorbing content. Rather, they want to make sure that students are engaged with the material. A great tool for incorporating more responsive features in your lessons is Zaption, which you can use to create interactive videos via a web browser or their free iOS App.

Take the Zaption Tour to see what’s possible.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.55.49 PMWhile Zaption does offer a robust, subscription model, the free tool will allow teachers to do a lot with both existing videos as well as those they create. After you sign up for an account, select “New Tour” on the top left of your screen. This will open the editing screen. The great thing about Zaption is that everything is drag and drop. So if you’re a bit lost, just try clicking and dragging something! If you want to add video, you can search for content online (YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, Nat Geo, etc), the Zaption library, or upload your own videos…

Read the rest of the article here: Use Zaption to Enhance Video Content.

Primary Source Materials for Your iPad

Primary sources are vital resources for educators. iTunes has collected various primary sources, including: historic film, documents, and oral histories. Many of their posted resources are free! Check it out here.

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iTunes Resources for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and here is a great repository of resources via iTunes. You will find iTunes U courses, podcasts, books, apps, and more.

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Man vs. the Machine: Google Translate

I’m a huge fan of Google Translate as it can come in handy in a pinch. However, how effective is it against a “real life translator?” Here’s a great infographic from Verbalink that highlights just that!