I know that some K-12 systems use Google Apps for Education, an "integrated communication and collaboration solution." https://www.google.com/work/apps/education/products.html and https://support.google.com/a/answer/139019?hl=en I wonder if adult education programs use it and, if so, how. If you use Google Apps for Education, please reply here (or email me) describing what features you find useful, if having an integrated system like this -- or this one in particular -- is useful, and/or what challenges you and your students have found in using Google Apps for Education.
David J. Rosen
To share my experience with Google Apps for Education (GAFE) at the adult education level:
I work for two programs housed in the same building. We are the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council and the West Central Ohio ABLE/GED. In August I attended a GAFE conference and learned quite a bit. It has been a goal of mine since the conference to use some of the features I learned about, starting with the staff and moving toward the students. Here are a few things that work great for our group:
- Gmail - Instead of all of our GED instructors and literacy tutors having @yahoo, @gmail or @hotmail email accounts, I set up a @limaliteracy.net email account for everyone and supplied training on how and most importantly, WHY to use it. (collaboration). One challenge here is that many people are overwhelmed with the number of email addresses issued to them. For example, we have an instructor who works through our GED program, which is through the local school system, and she teaches at the community college. All the entities have given her an email address!
- Google Drive - With the Gmail address, come all the other apps, Google Drive being one. For our office group, we have started using shared documents and shared folders, for things like turning in attendance and time sheets, so the administrative assistant has access at any time to that information.
- Google Calendar - While I'd like everyone in our group to use this feature, we haven't made it that far yet. But a couple of us are able to share calendars so that we can see each others daily schedules. That way I know in the morning if the coordinator will be on a webinar at 2 p.m. that afternoon. This will also be great for our group because each GED instructor is at a different location. It will be nice to look at a shared calendar to determine who is where, when :) I also hope to use the administrative assistant's calendar as a dynamic "school calendar" that feeds directly into our website.
These are some of the things I've tried with GAFE. I know there are many more (Google Classroom). I plan to keep working towards getting all of our staff, instructors and tutors using it. Then I'll move on to implementing it with students. I'm anxious to hear how other adult programs are using this as well!
I know many adult ed teachers -- and classes -- who use Google Drive to store documents and to collaborate on writing a document. In addition to Gmail accounts for all teachers and/or everyone in a class, this might be the most widely-used app.
I wonder if Google Calendar -- allowing everyone to see everyone's daily schedule -- would be a good tool for figuring out possible time(s) for teachers to meet, and then, if some or all teachers are in different locations, if Google Hangout would be a good tool for a teacher's meeting. Have you tried that? Has anyone else here tried that? If so, do you like Google Hangout for teachers meetings?
I also wonder if anyone has used Google Classroom apps. If so, which ones and how?
David J. Rosen
Hi! I run a multi-county ABLE program in rural Southeastern Ohio. Our career tech district uses GAFE, which is great because we have access to all these resources. We also use Google Drive for attendance reporting, and my office staff (and anyone else who wants to) can access my calendar to see my schedule. But I have also been using Google hangouts pretty consistently in the past year with staff.
At first, I simply recorded face to face staff meetings using Hangouts "On air." With a large part-time staff, many of whom are also full-time teachers, it is difficult to get the whole group together. But there is important information that is passed along at staff meting and those who do not attend are at a disadvantage. The Hangout On Air allows the face to face meeting proceed normally while the important parts are captured for all. Now, even when a face-to-face meeting is scheduled, staff members will ask me to make sure I am recording the meeting so they can keep up with all the change coming at us if they cannot attend. I struggle with whether or not staff should get compensation to watch/listen to the recording. Those who attend the meeting are paid to do so. I think that those that watch should get some compensation, but not the same hours as those who actually attended the face to face meeting. After all, they can fast forward through the 10 minute breaks and the other boring parts!
I will also say that I think Google has increased functionality with on air hangouts when I wasn't looking. At first, I wasn't able to do a hang out on air and have a conversation with anyone else tuning in. But now that seems to work just fine, which means I can have a meeting where all participants tune in via the hang out and can discuss agenda topics and I am still recording it.
The hardest part of conducting an online meeting where no one can answer a question or talk back is not being able to get audience feedback cues to see if they are comprehending what you are trying to say. My best advice is to simply plow through and have a conversation with the viewer anyway.
I have also used hangouts for committee work. This allows me to involve my staff that live and teach further away from our main office, many of whom have terrific ideas and insights but due to time and budget restrictions cannot travel to attend a face-to-face meeting.
So far I think it works best when I initiate the meeting and when I conduct the meeting. And there are certainly some staff who resist participating. But ABLE instructors in Ohio are expected to have a certain amount of technology proficiency, and using this method of communication is one way to demonstrate technology skills.
And, did I mention, it saves time and money? :-)
Connie Shriver, CMPI
Thanks, Connie. Great examples. Do you know if your staff who use Google Hangouts for staff meetings have then also tried using Hangouts with their students? For example, if a teacher has web access in the classroom, it might be possible to do an "On Air" hangout, and post the important parts on a class web page or other online presence so that students who were in class could re-visit the presentation, and those who missed class could use it as a make-up for the class. I wonder if any of your teachers are using Google hangouts that way?
When you use hangouts for committee work, do you also use other Google apps -- such as Google Docs or Forms -- to do the committee work together?
I wonder if anyone -- especially in situations where teachers are spread out and work part-time -- has tried using Google Apps (or other online tools) to do curriculum development or revision. For example, a program trying to revise its curriculum to better align with CCR standards might take the standards and create Google docs file folders for each one, with sub-files and documents within each. The existing curriculum could then be divided up and placed within the appropriate standards file folders. Someone could be tasked with noting which folders were empty (gaps in the curriculum) which folders had curriculum that was too thin or in other ways inadequate. The folders could be labeled (or color-coded?) for "Begun", "In-progress" and "Complete" revisions. If committees of teachers were working on particular parts of the curriculum and needed to discuss it, perhaps a Google Group threaded discussion or a Google Hangout would be a way to do this.
Although this topic is Google Apps, I certainly don't limit my use of other online tools. I look at the (learning, curriculum, assessment or other) task and then what online tools might work best to accomplish it.
How do you use Google Apps -- or Google Classroom?
David J. Rosen