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March 10, 2015
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9 Expert Pieces of Advice for Adopting Google Apps for Education at Your School

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well then, it’s time to imitate. When your school, school district, college, or university “Goes Google” you’ll need resources to help ease the transition. While there are plenty of resources out there to aid schools in making the switch to Google Apps for Education a successful one, why not imitate those who have already gone through a GAFE implementation?

With this mindset, we created “Growing Google Apps for Education: Adoption, training, and change management tips for your school’s implementation” which is an easy to consume guide filled with tons of advice from GAFE experts on everything you need to know to get your school up and running – smoothly.

Below are some of our favorite words of wisdom.

On setting the stage with your hesitant users:

“When we first began this journey, I spent a lot of time listening to people’s fears and questions. If I could alleviate them, I would. If I couldn’t, I was honest with them. Once I built that relationship, they trusted me to lead them in the right direction.” – Kate Fahey, Instructional Technology Specialist, Lockport Township High School East in greater Chicago.

On getting the right folks involved from the start:

“We initially met with our technology advisory committee made up of teachers, administrators, and IT staff. I started putting information together explaining why we chose Google Apps for Education and the benefits to using it.” – David Andrade, MS Ed., Educational Technology Specialist and owner of EdTechGuy Consulting

On learning to crawl before you walk:

“We started the project with a small scale trial, with just certain departments using it with their students. This proved successful with other teams asking to become part of the trial on hearing the positive feedback from those initial teams.” – James Kieft, Learning Technologies Manager, Reading College

On starting with Gmail as the initial first step:

“The whole suite of apps was available from day one, but we only trained staff on Gmail to begin with. People have to log in to check their email so it’s an easy process to move from that point.” – Dean Stokes, Google Certified Teacher and Google Education Trainer

On getting users used to Drive:

“We rolled out all of Google Apps to everyone right at the beginning but didn’t force anyone to use it initially. We then started migrating users away from their network drives to Google Drive without any real issues.” – David Andrade, MS Ed., Educational Technology Specialist and owner of EdTechGuy Consulting

On taking advantage of Hangouts:

“When launching apps the focus is on how they can support or enhance teaching and learning. With Hangouts for example, I did a number of Hangouts on Air where I talked to different staff about how they were using technology in the classroom. This leading by example has worked in helping staff identify how apps could benefit their own teaching.” – James Kieft, Learning Technologies Manager, Reading College

On just-in-time training:

“I’m a huge fan of just-in-time training. When we were rolling out Google Drive to our teachers, we met with departments and focused on the specific task, such as updating a document. I supplemented the department trainings with individual teacher sessions as needed. I also go into the classroom and co-teach with my teachers when they need that extra assistance. My door is always open to quick questions or longer, and scheduled sessions with teachers and small groups.” – Kate Fahey, Instructional Technology Specialist, Lockport Township High School East in greater Chicago.

On sharing new tips as you go:

“Once Google Apps is up and running, I try to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds by providing Tips of the Week on how to use tools like Chrome and the other services. You can create a demo slam contest and ask teachers to come up with three minute showcases on time savers/cool tweaks or tools and get them to show off at meetings.” – Peter Henrie, Co-Founder AmplifiedIT

On keeping the communication flowing:

“I am in constant contact with the teachers via email, department meetings, district meetings, quick questions in the hallway, brainstorming sessions, co-teaching, and many other avenues. Some of the most eager teachers were the most inexperienced, yet some of the negative ones were already using technology in a meaningful way. For some, it was as simple as sharing a Google Doc with their students for the first time.” – Kate Fahey, Instructional Technology Specialist, Lockport Township High School East in greater Chicago.

Want more Google Apps for Education adoption advice? Download the eBook below and get the insight you need for a successful GAFE implementation.

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