As I am working hard to roll out Google Apps for Education for our online school, I am struggling to find the community that supports it. With all of the great things that Google Apps has to offer, it is mind boggling that there wouldn’t be a single community spaces (or even a series of well-developed communities) that would be talking about best practices for collaborative document creation or the easiest ways to communicate with students using global contact lists.
Does this place exist?
Well, this is what I have found so far:
But, these sites are not enough to me. I want a conversation about student learning with Google Apps. And the way that it will start is by stating in one place just who is using Google Apps for Education and how to contact them to ask questions. One of my favorite bloggers, presenters, and teachers (Lucy Gray) has taken us in that direction quite a bit by offering a Google Form to identify yourself.
The next step in this process of creating community around the topic is to tag every blog post, presentation, and wiki edit, tweet and video with “GoogleAppsEd” or #GoogleAppsEd.
I want to see us start tagging ourselves as GAE users, not because we love Google or because we believe that they are best thing to happen to education since the invention of erasers. I believe that the conversation is important because if we would like students to collaborate using these tools, we must be using them to collaborate.
The last step, that I would like to figure out is setting up a series of online meetups to talk about the issues inherent in rolling out Google Apps for Eduction. Here are the ones I would start with, but please add ones that you woud like to discuss in the comments:
- The legality of giving students e-mail adresses as young as Kindergarten.
- Using Google Apps as a wharehouse for our data.
- Advanced uses of Docs (forms, turning things in via sharing, etc.)
- Advanced uses of gmail (academic uses of chat, system-wide groups, etc.)
- Advanced uses of calendar (student and faculty calendars meshing)
- Labs for google apps including Moderator.
I think that there is a lot more here, but I just want to start the conversation. Please spread the link to Lucy Gray’s spreadsheet and form and the tag for spreading the conversation. Let’s talk soon.