Don’t be afraid ~ give me Google Apps

It was really fun to read Head in the Clouds from friend and ICT integrator Michael, who works in a large secondary school here in Sydney. I always enjoyed visitng Michael, and admired the sensible way that he adopts Web 2.0 and cloud computing in great ways to support the learning of the students at his school.

Michael says:

Over the past few days, it’s been very hard to contain my excitement over Google’s recent moves to add all the applications from standard Google accounts to Google Apps for Education. While the core suite of applications – Mail, Docs and Calendar – are extremely useful and have put my school on the Web 2.0 map, I’ve been so disappointed that other Google apps like Reader, Picasa and Blogger have been off-limits for so long.

Sure, students can create their own Google accounts, you say? Having worked with frustrated teachers and students who all-too-easily forget usernames and passwords, I’ve really come to appreciate the ability to control accounts as the school administrator and have kids quickly online and using the tools they need to get ahead.

Now when all of my students log in, they get immediate access to an incredibly powerful set of Web 2.0 applications without the need to enter a single name or additional password! Exploring these is going to take some time, but it’s great to know they’re there for anyone to use.

As a technology expert/administrator, Michael  see this the use of these Web 2.0 Google tools as providing a level playing field for all teachers and students.

I also use Google Apps to power my own learning and my work with my PLN (though not at school).  Just last evening the invincible Teacherman79, popped up in my Gtalk, to chat briefly about some stuff he is preparing for a College class he is teaching in Virtual WorldsJeff is a middle school gifted and talented teacher in Montana, and he just wanted someone to run a ‘critical friend’s’ eye over  a handout he was preparing to facilitate kids  choosing  their  OWN way of learning pathway.

You guessed it – he shared his Google Doc with me, and within minutes we were editing that document together ~ and enjoying working! Realtime collaboration is very powerful.

Just one tiny example from me!

In case you didn’t know, here are some of the most interesting features of the new version of Google documents:

  • Real time collaboration: See updates from other collaborators as they edit the document.
  • Higher-quality imports: More consistent imports from your desktop into Google Docs.
  • Chat with other collaborators: As you make your edits, you can chat with other document editors about the changes, from within the document.
  • Ruler: Google documents have a ruler for setting margins, indentations, and tab stops.

There is  so much that teachers and students can do using Google tools these days to collaborate within their classrooms, and beyond their classrooms.

Too easy!

Now, if only more technology experts/adminstrators would take the view that Michael does ~ adapting to  and adopting cloud computing ~  instead of locking down machines and networks to proprietory systems and software within a walled garden.

5 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid ~ give me Google Apps

  1. Amazing article Jude. We actually use a lot of these features at our school in NYC, and I am surprised at how many instructors do not take advantage of these free utilities that can enhance instruction. We have smart boards in our classrooms and communicate via network to their laptops and iPads.

    I will say that many Google Apps are available on GiveMeApps.com http://www.givemeapps.com (Give Me Apps).

  2. Judy,

    I only just discovered this post, having been stuck at home for the past couple of days with a chest infection! :(

    Thank you SO much for these kind words and professional support. It’s a privilege to be able to network with you through the blogosphere and to let you know that much of the ground work that you laid in your role at the CEO years ago is now coming to fruition in a big way. The great tragedy is of course that there has been no one with your enthusiasm and willingness to engage with teachers on the ground.

    I’m so excited for your new role and can’t wait to hear more updates via Hey Jude in the months to come ;)

    Michael

  3. Lesleigh – those 50 teachers are very lucky to have you working so hard to support them in their learning curve. People like you and Michael are what makes the teaching world go round! Thanks for the feedback :-)

  4. You never cease to amaze me Jude!

    At present I am supporting/steering 50 teachers through a Web 2 Moodle course on Web2 tools and one of the major components is Google Docs.

    I wanted to create a blog post of my own on the variety of ways to utilise Google Docs/Spreadsheets in an educational environment but your post is far too important to pass up. Again I forward on your post and thank you for steering us onto you iPal, Michael.

  5. Pingback: Digi-days « READINGPOWER

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