Google Apps Project

This page gives information on the implementation of Google Apps Educational Edition 

Introduction 

The project started in January 2008 and continues to grow. This page is intended to give information on the implementation, the successes and the challenges.  Please contact me for any if you have any comments or questions.

According the leading experts in education the two defining trends in education for the next coming years in technology is cloud computing and portability Read 2009 Horizon Report. Google Apps allows educators to implement cloud computing.

Google Apps Edition Editon is free for non-profit educational institutions and has no ads. Google has explictly stated it will never charge for Google Apps. Millions of students and thousands of educational institutions have signed up including

It allows students and teachers to create documents(Word, Excel, PowerPoint), share calendars, email, chat, create web pages,video and more. It is secure as everything stays within the registered domain and cannot be accessed by people who do not have a school login. It is an excellent tool to provide elearning. It works on any computer including Macs. Many Personal Digital Devices - such as cell phones - can access many of the tools available.

Implementing the Project

The project took about 1 week to set up from the time the school was registered with Google as a non-profit public educational institution to having all students registered.

The project requires ownership web address where the administator changes can configure MX records to activate email.  The MX records will edit by the administrator of adamscott.ca. The process was simple as Google emailed clear instuctions. See video tutorial on how to do this click here.

Registing students on the adamscott.ca domain was quick.  Google requires a text file containing students names, logins, and passwords. A text file was already been created for student logins on for the school server by the IT department.  To create the exact four fields (first name,last name, login, password) for the text file, MS Excel was used. This file was then used to create all the users in a batch process. The whole procedure took less than 30 minutes for around 1000 students.

Two classes were selected to initially test Google Apps - both Grade 12 English University.  These classes were selected because they were senior level students who would quickly learn the technology and the teacher was willing to try new technology. Students were required to have a permission form signed.

Each class was given about 20 minutes of instruction on using Google Apps.  Students were also instructed NOT to use Google Apps for any personal email or chats. Most students were able to use Google Apps with little trouble. See video of students speaking.

Once the project showed success other classes started using google Apps in different subjects areas from grades 9 to 12.  Math teachers really like Google Apps because it gives the students a spreadsheet at home. Most students did not have a spreadsheet at home until they signed up for Google Apps. See video of Math Teachers comments. 

Students in a Grade 10 History Class are collaborating and creating a virtual museum on the same web page.

This video is from a Geography teacher on using Google Apps and this video is from a student using Google Apps.

How Google Apps Improves Learning

According to students the best things about Google Apps are:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to work on documents both at home and school
  • Same interface at home and school
  • documents are never lost
  • When collaborating on a document - Google Apps can record who did what.
  • ability to collaborate (i.e. able to work on the same document at the same time from remote locations)
  • Teacher calendar
  • Chat
  • Having both spreadsheet and PowerPoint software at home
  • Large enough user space that large projects such as video and podcasts can be saved and easily moved from home to school
  • Works on both Macs and PCs

According to teachers the best things about Google Apps are:

  • ability to easily share electronic documents with all students in a class quickly and easily
  • ability to up load Word and PowerPoint files
  • Easy to use web page creator
  • ability to search documents
  • calender
  • ability to make comments on students work as they are working on the document
  • prevents plagiarism (can see every revision of a document)
  • ability to post videos that are only viewable for people inside school domain
  • ability to limit (i.e. only to students of a class) who see class marks generated by markbook when the marks are posted
  • less photo-coping and printing