Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Finding great Google Apps information but, no time to research it? - Guest Post

If you are a Google Apps Newbie like me you are both excited and overwhelmed by all the amazing and free Google Apps for Education tools that can used in your professional life and with teachers and students. How is it possible at the start of all this to find the time to understand Google Drive, Calendar, Forms, and Sites and all their best features?

This is our district’s first year pilot into “Going Google.” As part of the team overseeing the launch of Google Apps for our district I have found hundreds of great reads on Google Apps. However, I never seem to have the time just then to give the read its full attention. Therefore I have found some specific things that have really helped me to save and read all this great information later in the time I have outside my other responsibilities.

Twitter has been invaluable for learning new things in Google Apps and keeping up on the latest updates. I need something quick and to the point when I check my Twitter feed on my phone at lunch or when I am settling down for the night watching TV. Did you know Google Forms just refreshed their look with updated and more user friendly features? Do you know what the Five Essential Google Drive skills are for teachers? When did the entire Chicago Public School system just switch over to Google Apps? I wouldn’t have known any of this unless I saw these articles via Twitter. If you don’t have the time to read them at the time just “Favorite” them in your Twitter account and get to them when you can. Here are some great people to follow on Twitter concerning Google Apps:

Richard Byrne https://twitter.com/rmbyrne
Eric Curts https://twitter.com/ericcurts
Jamie Casap https://twitter.com/jcasap
Kyle Pace https://twitter.com/kylepace
Mikkel Storaasli https://twitter.com/LeydenASCI
Don Wielinga https://twitter.com/Wielinga1
Google At Work https://twitter.com/GoogleAtWork - not a person but, an informative feed

Pocket (Formerly Read it Later)
The free Pocket app which I use on my desktop, laptop, and phone allows me to simply save anything I find on the web in a neat organized list. I have found hundreds of articles, web sites, videos, tweets, and blog posts concerning Google Apps which I want to read and research but, at the time cannot do. The Pocket app or Pocket Google Chrome extension allows me to get to them later on all of my devices. Check www.getpocket.com

Email a Google Apps School
Yes. Good old email. Check out the Google Apps User Guide which lists Google Apps schools and contacts throughout the country. I have yet to find someone using Google Apps who was unwilling to help me out with a question when they find the time: http://www.appsusergroup.org/school/by-list

Rob McCann is the Director of Curriculum and Student Assessment at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlboro, MA. Rob is part of the team overseeing Assabet’s first year pilot program with Google Apps for Education. You can contact Rob by email at rmccann@assabet.org and check out his new blog at http://avedutec.blogspot.com/