I was one of the speakers at Google’s Back to School event in September, the first time a primary school teacher addressed the conference. Most of the audience were primary school teachers, which was just as well! I spoke about my school’s journey with Google – the good, the bad and Google Wave.
I spoke about the reasons we chose Google as our back end for all our administrative work. Gmail was the email service, and back then (and still now) to me was the best email suite available. I also really liked the idea of shared calendars, which Google allowed. This allowed me to let everyone know where I was at all times – a useful thing for a principal. However, I admitted the main reason was because it was free.
I spoke about the various things we tried in the school using Google’s tools. We were the first school in the country to use digital roll books before they were legal(!), the first in the country to use online absence notes, and the first in the world to have an Android app. So, basically we tried a lot of things out and some of them stuck!
Google Drive was key for us expanding Google’s use in the school. We were now able to share all sorts of things with each other. Having a managed G Suite solution was an even better step and over time, almost by accident, we were pretty much using most of G Suite for Education’s tools.
Google Classroom is the latest thing we’re using and it’s amazing. We dumped our homework journals and now all our homework is given via Classroom. It’s extended the possibilities of how we give homework. In fact, you’d hardly call it homework anymore as it hardly resembles what we were doing before.
The final fit for us were Chromebooks. We have over 100 of them in the school and they are constantly in use. Chromebooks are easy to use and never get bloated with software.
That’s basically our set up and we’re delighted with it.