Saturday, November 23, 2013

Google vs Microsoft 365

I'm not a huge fan of the Ford vs. Chevy debate.  I feel that products have similar features/benefits that meet the needs of individuals (such as get from point A to point B). 

Consumers, however, develop an emotional attachment to their choice in product when compared to others.  This is influenced by 'personal opinion,'  'advertising/marketing,' and 'environmental/cohort' factors.    

Thus comes the Google vs. Microsoft 365 debate.

Being immersed in a Google Apps for Education Network and Community I rarely find myself debating the issue, but it does exists and there are, indeed, some who prefer the Microsoft environment.  I am not one of those persons.  

When you search Microsoft in Education two links jump out at you... 'How to Buy' and 'Volume Licensing.'  No such link exists on the Google in Education site.

Google has a vast history of innovation, sharing and collaboration.  This is what we are looking for our youth to develop in mind and spirit ~ to be innovative and collaborative. Google most definitely models that.

Take a look at the Loon Project, for a perfect example of what the Google team is pursuing ~ Internet for Everyone.

Google competes by developing tools that people want.  Microsoft competes by getting lobbyists to find ways to stop Google through government intervention (which to date has not been successful).   

Google and Microsoft are becoming increasingly 'comparable' products when in fact they used to be distinctly different.  Why?  Because Microsoft is now trying to become more like Google. 

We all know that the 'document' in Google Apps does not have as many complex features that Microsoft Word offers.  That is a given.  For the features that Google does not have in the documents they make up 100m fold with the 'SHARE' button and the shear number of applications that are linked to one account for the students and teachers.  With one Google log in you have access to Documents, Slides, Sheets, Drawings, Forms, Blogger, Sites, Maps, Earth, Calendar, YouTube, Google+, Photos, Search, Apps, Chrome, Chrome Apps, Chrome Extensions,  Cultural Institute, the Art Project, Google A Day, StoryBuilder, Scripts, Hangouts on Air...more.

In Drive, you ALSO have immediate access to add to your productivity suite (for FREE) just by clicking on 'Add More Apps'. See image below.

I could go on all day and cite the reasons why Google Apps for Education is a better choice than Microsoft 365 because it is already the solution that I love and continue to thrive with.  

When I step away from it and consider the bigger picture, I see this.  

Google Apps for Education is a one stop shopping solution for schools but the true value lies in the sharing and collaboration that is endless. 

 Googlers in Education share tirelessly with each other, create how to blogs, videos, sites, training materials, post tweets, host summits, events.  

If you don't have a Google+ account, go ahead and create one today.  Then, join the Google in Education Communities (there are many but start here: and tell +Lee Webster that +Allison Mollica sent you! :)

Additionally, the Google in Education Team is 'available' and 'responsive' to the community. Google Apps for Education Summits are offered worldwide and Google provides certification, training and support that helps schools build professional development networks as well.  

If you are on the fence...  I can tell you that the professional learning network in Google Apps for Education is massive and the common element is the desire to engage learners and continually improve the educational learning environment.  It is more about the people than the product and that is what makes the product so great.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

School Mode gClassFolders ~ Quick Deployment Video

I am a huge fan of gClass Folders.  I want to get the word out because creating a solid work flow for Google Drive in the classroom is the 'secret sauce' to success.  

Last year, I was working in a school and observed a teacher and her class working on a Google Document project.  Each student was taking a 'template' that was posted online and the directions were to make a copy and then share with the teacher.  Sounds pretty simple.  The first problem the teacher had was the document was not shared as view only.   Some of the students were making a copy and others were typing their answers right in the template.  I discovered this 30 minutes into the class ~ thank goodness for Revision History.

Then  I asked the teacher how they were 'sharing' and how she would access/assess.  Her answer:  They are just sharing with me and sending me an email link.  So I did the math.  6 blocks that day, approx 20 kids per block.  That is 120 emails and 120 random documents shared in her Google Drive account.  Her plan was to 'search' for each students document to access and assess.  Madness!  

gClassFolders combined with a form 'Assignment Collector' solved all of these issues.  A teacher can run gClass in teacher mode which is what she did as well as many other teachers that year.  

Here is a link to my presentation on how to use the Teacher Mode of gClassFolders.  

I've just started working with school mode.  I think it is fantastic but recommend you have a solid understanding of how Teacher Mode  works first.  School Mode would be run by your IT manager, SIS administrator, Google Admin, etc, not by a classroom teacher.

As always, thanks to Bjorn and Andrew for inventing, developing and maintaining this oustanding resource.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

GClass Folders ~ A Set Up Guide for Teachers

If you are teacher using Google Drive and you are not lucky enough to have the Hapara classroom, then gClass folders is a must have for organization that will take formative assessment to a whole new level.  The added benefits are an organized classroom in Google Drive and the ability to teach with 'less paper...'  That is if you have access to computers.  If access is an issue, start using gClass folders right away and demonstrate to your school how Chromebooks could fix your access issue.  They are financially pleasing to your administration and really the best product for your Google Apps classroom.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cloud Camp NH has sold out and we have a wait list.  However, there are a few ways you can still join us using Google (and other) tools.  Make sure you have a Google Plus Account. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

The State of Tech: The State of Tech Live

The State of Tech: The State of Tech Live: The Next State of Tech Live on Saturday, March 9th at 4:00 pm EST.  The topic for the show will be "The Best Chrome Apps & Extensions.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Upcoming Workshops & Presentations

April 1, 12:30-1:30, Intro to Google+ Hangouts, LESCN Conference, Meredith, NH
Google+ Hangouts is a simple effective platform for teaching andcommunicating in real
time with others. . Join us for this introduction to how Google+ Hangouts can used to enhance and engage your students and staff!

April 12, Google Apps Edu Reboot for Certified Trainers, Google, Inc NYC

April 27-28th, Google Apps in Education UK Summit, Halifax,  England

July 11, 2013, CloudCampNH, UNH Manchester

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This 'beginners' tutorial is broken into 5 segments. Students can follow from Segment 1-5, creating a 'Fit Club Customer Survey' (demo). Each question type is covered. When you are finished you will be very capable of leveraging your use of Google Forms and you'll be ready to 'level up!'

Thursday, February 21, 2013

gClass Folders Version 2 Updated Directions

Use this quick link to gClass Folders v2 - (click on the link and make a copy of the spreadsheet)

What are gClass Folders?
gClass folders is just a name of a 'template' that will let you easily set up for your class & students folders in Google Drive. By populating a spreadsheet with your student information with a simple 'click' you can produce this:

Example of gClass Folders -English w/ multi-period; and Social Studies - one block

Class Edit ~ These will be files that are editable by everyone in the classExample: Group assignments 
Class View ~ These will be files that are only viewable by everyone in the classExample: Syllabus, worksheet templates 
Teacher ~ This is a folder used by gClassHub to store files that integrate with the applications. This is only viewable by the TeacherExample: Doctopus 
Assignment Folders ~ This is only between the teacher and the particular student.Example: Student work

Directions for Setting up your gClass Folders
Get Your Spreadsheet
  1. Make a copy of gClassFolders and create a new document.

Populate your Spreadsheet
  1. Enter the information pertaining to your class(es). 
Set up the Script
  1. Click the gClassFolders menu>Select 'Initial Settings' 
  2. In the Red Authorization Box, click OK to authorize. 
  3. Click 'Close' on Authorization Status. 
  4. Click on the gClass Folder Menu>'Initial Settings' again to modify your settings 
  5. Rename Assignment Folders to Dropboxes and Assignment Folder to Dropbox (see image to right). 
Sort your Sheet
  1. Click on gClass Folders menu 
  2. Select Sort Sheet 
Create Folders
  1. Click on gClass Folders 
  2. Select Create gClass Folders and Shares 
If you are the teacher who has created the folders, you should now see the class folders in your Drive
Student Instructions
  1. Students should go to their "Drive" 
  2. Create a Folder for their class 
  3. Click "Shared With Me" 
  4. Drag the Class Edit, Class View, and their class dropbox to the folder they just created in Drive.
Formative Assessment can be provided through the use of comments within the page. Teachers and students can choose to be notified via email when new comments are added and view them as a stream within the document itself.

For Future Reference: Far From Faltering in Digital Age, Libraries Thrive as Community Hubs | Valley News

For Future Reference: Far From Faltering in Digital Age, Libraries Thrive as Community Hubs | Valley News

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I am looking forward to the North of England Summit this spring where I will be presenting:

Google Apps Treasure Trove
Google Apps has so much to offer and 'even more.'  In this 'ignite' style session take a look at many of the 'treasures' Google has to offer and with resources that will allow to explore and utilize long after you leave.  Learn unique trick and tips for common core apps such as mail, forms, and search... and discover some treasures you never knew existed!   

One hour presentations go by so fast, I plan to highlight some of may favorite tips, tricks, features, and resources for using Google in Education and provide resources to help you put them to use when you get back home!

One of the reasons I am especially keen on this event is because I will get to connect with people I had the privilege of meeting and working with at the 1st European Google in Education Summit in Prague last October.  +Dan Taylor and his team are great and I look forward to connecting with +Mark Allen and hoping that Dan doesn't schedule my session at the same time he is presenting.  I am expecting two days of high impact, positive energy, learning and most of all, fun. 

Many educational conferences are paid for by school districts and organizations.  What is unique about the Google Summits, is that many of us traveling and attending these summits do it on our own tab and are willing to invest our own funds because it is such a worthwhile experience!  

Join us at the Halifax for the North of England Google in Education Summit!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Becoming Google Apps for Education Certified

I am often asked what the difference is between a Google Qualified Individual, Certified Trainer and Certified Teacher and how to go about earning these qualifications.  All good questions and very easily addressed.  Here is a breakdown of the differences and resources for following your Google 'Certified' Path.

"Qualified Individual" applicants must:
  • Pass online examinations testing your comprehensive knowledge of Google Apps for Education. (To prepare for the exams, we strongly suggest reviewing the six training modules of training content in the Google Apps Education Training Center.)
  • Upon completion of the exams, you will receive a Qualified Individual certificate which grants you this status for 12 months

"Certified Trainer" individual applicants must:
  • Have previously achieved ‘Qualified Individual’ status.
  • Complete a case study demonstrating your experience in technology instruction and/or professional development. Additional strong references from school or business clients are required.
  • Submit a 2 minute video introduction about your background, role in education technology, and innovative approach to using Google Apps
  • Create sample learning materials and produce a short video which demonstrates your familiarity with Google Apps features.
  • Demonstrate extensive experience using and training Google Apps to educational organizations prior to application.
  • Commit to conducting at least 3 professional development activities related to Google Apps every quarter

To become a 'Google Certified Teacher' you must attend a Google Teacher Academy:

    The GTA is a FREE professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the globe get the most from innovative technologies. Produced by CUE, each Academy is an intensive, two-day event during which participants get hands-on experience with Google's free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in a supportive community of educators making impact.

The GTA is offered a few times per year in different locations.  You must apply for acceptance into the academy.  

Everything you need to know is posted on the Google Teacher Academy Site.