Google Apps for Education (GAFE): A Powerful Tool for Educators… Honest!

January 29, 2014

Google Apps… If you asked me a year ago if Google Apps for Education (GAFE) at the CBE  would make a difference at all, I would have, at best, been on the fence. Now, the potential of where we can go is huge! First, a bit of background information…

The CBE, as of early December 2013, is now offering additional Google Apps for Education as a choice of productivity and collaboration tools for students and teachers.  Google Apps is widely used and allows users to work in an environment that is safe, collaborative and engaging. 

Why did the CBE choose Google Apps?

  • Lower infrastructure costs — Material will be stored securely on Google’s servers…
  • Lower support costs — Google hosts the email and calendar services…
  • Innovative solutions — We can leverage the ongoing creative and technical solutions of the Google Apps platform to provide employees with powerful, easy-to-use tools for getting their work done
  • Highly scalable environment — With Google Apps, our capacity will grow automatically as our organization grows, and we’ll avoid the complexity of internal systems
  • Access to services from anywhere, at anytime — A key benefit of the Google-hosted solution is that we can access email, contacts, documents, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, from anywhere in the world

All students and teachers will have access to the following Google Apps: Google Drive, Sites, Groups, Gmail, Calendar
Enough background… Kids and teachers are beginning to use these tools in phenomenal ways! But, as a principal, can they help me…?

A School Google Calendar…

We have just begun to test utilizing these tools as a school staff. We now have a Google Calendar that all our teachers can view and add to and make changes to… It is accessible at home and at school, and is always up to date rather than me emailing changes out or updated docs as, shockingly, the calendar is changing all the time. Now, staff knows where to go to get the most up to date information.

Shared Staff Google Documents…

In the last week, we have set up a number of Google Docs, one of which is a document that all staff can access, which has the agenda items, notes, links, questions, comments, etc. If a staff member is absent, they can find the info easily. If they have a question or a thank-you or an information item, they can add it in to the document…

Capturing Thinking…

The doc also provides the ability for group discussion notes, ideas, and thinking to be recorded in one place and for everyone to see it live as it is added. No more having people email me notes on their group’s discussion and thought…

No More PowerPoint…

Best of all, the staff does not have to sit through any more PowerPoints, and I do not have to put together any more Powerpoints on the Tuesday evening at home while watching the newest episode of Arrow… And that, my friends, will be good for everyone!

Stay tuned for updates on the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) experiment at Keeler School. I am loving it so far… 🙂
Work hard, learn tons!
D


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