by +Dan Taylor
Last week I was delighted to get the opportunity to present to a group of University and School leaders together with +Suan Yeo and others at the Google office in Taipei, Taiwan.
As usual it was a packed trip….flying in from Europe and straight into our second annual Taiwan summit held with +David Freeman and +Douglas Bradburn at Morrison Academy Taichung, and featuring some amazing Asian Google experts you should check out online including +James Sayer +Lee Webster +Wesley Przybylski +Andy Wu +Michael Still, with +Robert Allen Moody / +Suzanne Becking coming all the way from Kansas to present!
Straight after the summit we were on the high speed train to Taipei where the Google office is located in the iconic Taipei 101 building, which I would recommend anyone to visit if they get a chance.
My presentation focused on an audience of School and University leaders looking to adopt Google Apps and I walked through firstly some of the challenges that leadership face in making the move and then focused in on some key factors for success.
In my opinion the biggest factor for a successful Google Apps implementation is training. When asked what are the top 3 factors of successful Google schools are I generally answer (1) Training (2) Training and (3) Training :). Training is what helps you kick-off and build a Google community in your school which then grows organically and becomes self-sustaining.
I’ve been involved in IT implementations for over 20 years now and the one thing I’ve consistently seen projects fail on is a lack of prioritisation for training. This is even more pronounced with Google Apps where from a technical point of view it’s actually pretty simple nowadays to implement, migrate data and connect to other systems despite what some people may tell you.
Key training audiences to start with are ‘Admins’ and ‘key users’.
You need skilled admins from day 1 to help with tasks such as user creation, setting up Sub-Orgs and setting default apps and permissions for your users. Get them involved in day 1 and if you are using an external partner for your implementation make sure they are integrated with the team. Don’t be scarred to get admins from outside your core IT team as well, School administrative tasks can help with a lot of the user management.
Key users’ are normally a self-selecting group of keen Google people from across the school and I would be open to try to get a cross section in your pilot group….teaching staff, school management, IT staff, and administrative staff so you have a cross section of the school community to build out from.
From a Google Apps point of view I would say the two main drivers to turbo charge your adoption are ‘Chrome browser’ and ‘Google Classroom;’ Drive and Gmail you know about and they are the backbone of successful Google Apps projects but Chrome and Classroom take you to the next level
The Chrome browser is key, not just because Google Apps run better on Chrome, but for two big reason. (1) admin and (2) Apps/extensions. The admin possibilities with Chrome are really powerful and it’s easy to get started. You can set home-pages, default Apps and much more. When combined with tools like +Hapara – Making Learning Visible Teacher Dashboard to add extra control for your Chrome usage the possibilities are endless.
Google Classroom is Googles Classroom management solution and while it is certainly not a fully featured LMS which you can manage across the school, it’s a great tool for individual teachers to share info with their class. Give teaching staff the freedom to use Classroom and provide some ‘quick start’ training and you’ll be amazed at how quickly it takes off.
About the Contributor
Dan Taylor is from the UK and the Director of AppsEvents. He has been involved in the Google Education community since the launch of Google Apps for Education in 2006.