The next event I attended was “Google Apps Admin Console – Best Practices for Schools,” led by Peter Henrie. Peter is an educational technology consultant for AmplifiedIT – a consultancy that works solely with educational institutions.
Part of your role as administration is to ensure that you are enabling necessary features for faculty, staff, and students as well as tweak them to meet your needs.
This is a largely hands on workshop for the administrator console, so I may not be writing as much. Right now, the Google Admin panel has two versions: an older version and a new one (you see it if your account is less than five months old or you have been migrated).
There is also the Google Marketplace, a way to add on services (both free and paid). It’s important to understand that third party services are not bound by the Terms of Services for Google Apps for Education. Therefore, be sure that before you add them, you check out the terms of service. One great tool (that is paid) to check out is CloudLock. Also check to ensure that services you do not want are turned off. Be sure to check not only the default GAFE apps, but the additional google services.
In the Administrator console, you can also assign people different roles. For example, you may not want someone to have full access to administrative privileges, but they should be able to reset passwords. A great tool to enable user abilities without endangering the security or setup of your system.
Another great feature (that I have used as we piloted Google Drive) is the ability to pull reports. You can examine stats such as: email usage, doc creation, collaboration, etc. over a period of time. It’s a great tool for advertising its success and adoption.
Another key suggestion is to write down the support numbers and your pin. Because when you really need Google is when your console goes down – and you can’t get in to get the number. Be sure to note that the PIN changes regularly!
He also highlights that calendars can be used to schedule resources (e.g. computer carts, rooms, etc). One of the best tutorials on this is by Anson Alexander:
Another element that he highlighted is that you get more accesibility and services the more you enable (e.g. using gmail or Google Plus) as well as devices (e.g. Chromebooks). Every time you add a service or device, be sure to explore all of the settings. Understand the settings and what you have setup. For example, in GMail you can include spam filters, content filters, and routing.
The key concepts I have taken from this session is explore your settings fully and regularly.