Having set up my school with Google Apps for Education (GAfE) I have found that I am a wanted man. I have created a blog and instructional videos for staff and students, which demonstrate some of the basics needed to use Google Drive with classes. However, people seem to prefer the live version but with a fairly full teaching timetable of 39 hours per fortnight including a day and a half off site it is proving difficult to nip all the problems in the bud as quickly as I would like. This increases the chance of some people giving up on transferring their classes to Google Drive.
We are just over two and a half months in we have about half the school (2000 students and staff) accessing the learning portal and Google Drive over the course of a week with peaks of 400 users each day. At present access to computer rooms and devices is limited.
Help has arrived!!
I have set up my team of digital leaders who are extremely enthusiastic and willing to help staff and students realise the potential of GAfE. I have created a sub-organisation in GAfE admin and turned Google+ on for these students so they can communicate and use the hangouts. They have already started planning their use of hangouts on air for podcasts/webinars and training. Simon from realsmart, who have set up the Google to SIMs link provided a great hangout so I was able to set up the groups.
I have not turned G+ on for the other students as our main focus is currently on access and Google Drive.
I set up a Google Document and this is what happened:
It shows the potentially untapped skills and drive that the students can bring to school developments and I get very excited every time we meet up or I read the document. I aim to empower them to approach teachers about carrying out joint planning to assist the teachers in incorporating new technologies into lessons. I know from conversations that many teachers want to improve their use of technology for learning but lack the time or confidence to get things off the ground.
What next with the digital Leaders?
- Re-order their badges as I ordered massive ones that would be a bit conspicuous.
- Introduce them officially to the school.
- Put staff training in the diary, lead by digital leaders.
They are going to make me look amazing and I believe that it will improve their skills beyond the usual focus on academic rigor (sorry Mr Gove)
For further information on digital leaders you can visit the digital leader network, which shares blogs and information on teachers working with digital leaders across the uk.