This week has been one of the smoothest starts to the year technology-wise that I have ever had. It’s really hard to believe considering all the changes that have happened over the last few months too. For starters, we switched over to Snow Leopard Server, had 30 SMARTboards installed in teacher classrooms (with very little teacher training), brand new Macbooks for all teachers, switched our entire communication system over to Google Apps and now a class set of iPod Touches on the way. And we’ve barely heard a peep from the normal parade of complaints coming from teachers and students during the time. The Tech Gods must be smiling down on us from cyberspace.
One of the most important changes that has happened is the move over from First Class (Boo!) to Google Apps (Yay!). When I first arrived at this school 2 years ago, I can’t tell you how frustrated I was. I was coming from a leading IT school where we were 1:1 and had cutting edge learning for students. Taking a few steps backwards, I was so frustrated at how difficult it was to communicate with my colleagues and find information. I had to go through a minimum of 14 sub folders to even find the curriculum! Now, with Google Apps, it just oozes collaboration and efficiency. Now, and if you use gmail you will know that emails are threaded conversations and much easier to follow. Google Docs allows for everyone to work off one document and efficiently collaborate together. Students now have Google Sites as their digital porfolios and the learning never stops just because the school bell has rung.
If you are at a school and frustrated with archaic communication systems, I highly recommend that you take a look into Google Apps. Of course, there are plenty of other worthwhile options but Google Apps is free and you have (almost) unlimited storage!
Here’s a quick video of Google Docs for those of you that aren’t familiar: