Thursday, February 13, 2014

Increasing Teacher Comfort With Google Drive

Since every middle school student in the division that employs me is getting a Chromebook next year, I am doing my absolute best job to embrace everything that is Chrome; especially since there is currently no plan to give Chromebooks to the adults who work directly with these middle school students.

Thankfully, anything that can be done on a Chromebook can be done on a computer with the Chrome browser installed. I can still completely understand why teachers would like to have their own Chromebook on hand, though. It's all about increasing the comfort level. While our school system has done a fairly good job of providing opportunities for teachers to learn how to use Google Drive, (through workshops and online modules) it's really up to administrators to make sure they have plenty of opportunities to practice. Of course, we all know that the best way to practice any newly acquired skill is being able to apply that skill to real-life situations.

Here are some things people in our building have put in place which basically ensure teachers get to use Google Drive on a regular basis.

Lab Schedules - We have an amazing technology integrator who visits us a couple of days a week to share with teachers all that is cool and fabulous with technology. He worked with our library staff to create a Google Spreadsheet teachers could access to sign up for computer lab time. The revision history makes sure someone doesn't go in and erase someone's time and puts their own name in their place.

PLC Meetings - PLC Agendas are drafted in Google Docs. The link to the agenda is shared 24 hours before the meeting, and teachers are able to add items to the agenda. On the day of the meeting, one person types notes directly into the agenda creating instant minutes. The minutes are then stored on a Google site created just for the grade level so teachers don't have to go searching through their email if they were unable to make a meeting. The site also stores other important bits of information like meeting schedules, bus duty rosters, and links to state and division resources. In addition, I used to create a shortened link that is easy for teachers to remember.

The School Calendar - Our office staff are responsible for keeping the calendar up to date. Now they put all events on a School-Use Google Calendar that is share with all staff members. I have gone a step beyond to place that very same calendar on the home page of the PLC site I mentioned above for easy reference.

Lesson Plans - I teach a class every other day for a small group of students who are in danger of failing the grade level. My plans for the class are stored as a Google spreadsheet that teachers can access to see what I'm doing. I've given editing rights so they can also list any missing or make-up work Some teachers in my building have started using Google docs to store their own lesson plans. One teacher recently commented to me that it is actually easier to store plans on Google Drive because she can simply share the plans with other members of her PLC.

I could go on and on with examples, but the purpose of sharing these is to get your own mind thinking about things you can do in your own building if you end up in a similar circumstance. It is my ultimate hope that teachers will be able to take the skills they learned and use them to assist their students when they get their Chromebooks next fall!

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