Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Getting started with Google in my classroom

The time has come, and our Board is jumping on the Google train. I am excited about the ability to collaborate and to have easy access to documents and all the apps,  but I had some hesitations about getting it going with the students.  The steps below are how I chose to start, on a day when I only had about a 20 minute time-frame.

This resource will tell you everything you need to get going.

Google Apps for Education Support Resources

Ready, set, go....

Step 1: I began by simply having the students go to Google and sign in with their rscloud account, which has been set up by the Board. Student logins are the first 4 letters of their last name, followed by the last 4 digits of their student number.

Since students share the laptops, they needed to make sure that "Stay signed in " was NOT checked.

Example:     Sam Jones would be

The password was set by the administrator, which in our case, is the principal.

So far, so good. After a few false starts, most students were in.

Step 2: The next thing that I had students do was click on the apps button.
 It is the 3X3 array.

This will bring up the Google apps for them to use.
Since we had limited time in the laptop lab, I just let students explore for a few minutes. Their final task for the day was to click on the Calendar app, and to go in and create a calendar for themselves called "School". This will be used by them to keep track of agenda items relating to school, such as forms that are due, due dates, tests, etc.

Step 3: Students went to My calendars and then clicked the drop down arrow. Click "Create new calendar" and then they put in the name "School". They then explored the calendar and some added the date of an upcoming deadline for permission forms.

Glitches?  Just a couple.

The first glitch was that several students tried to write - nope, it is

Then, I did have two students who attempted to sign into Google+ without realizing what they were doing. Since they were not yet 13 years of age, when they signed in with their DOB, their accounts were immediately frozen. I was perplexed as to what happened, but after "googling" it, I discovered that this is a security feature of Google.

An administrator will now need to unblock them. 

Since my students already know how to use email, I didn't bother with using the Mail feature yet. I have a small group already collaborating on writing a script in Google docs, so they are up and running with that.  Now that the students are "in", I am anticipating that they will be able to manage without difficulty. IF I keep them from being overwhelmed.

I think that the biggest takeaway that I have from my use of technology in the classroom this year is to take baby steps.  Whenever the students start to feel overwhelmed, I get major pushback.  When I dole it out in small amounts, they seem to manage it and then many go beyond the small, simple tasks on their own.

Lesson learned.

Don't forget, for an amazing resource on using Google Apps for Education, follow this link for the
WCDSB Chromebook & Google Apps for Education Support Resources 

Google Apps for Education Support Resources

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