After the busiest first month I’ve had in this role over the past five years, I finally found a few minutes to sit down and put some of what I’ve been reflecting on into words. I tried this last year, but failed miserably after only a few posts. My goal this year is to blog more regularly, as I see it being such a powerful tool to reflect not only privately, but to a world of learners who may – just may – learn a thing or two from my experiences.
I start with GAFE (of course).
This year at @npsc_schools, students and teachers now have access to Google Apps for Education. This was a huge step that took almost a year of research as part of our ongoing initiative of ‘going to the cloud’ as an organization. Our biggest hurdle was to assess all levels of risk management; questions included ‘is Drive really safe?‘, ‘how are we going to police it?‘, ‘why are we going Google when we are a Microsoft shop?’.
Many questions came up with varying levels of concern from both administration and IT. Thanks to colleagues in school boards across Ontario as well as research, all issues were addressed with ease. That is the beauty of developing a network; whether it be through email, Twitter or even at conferences, there is always someone with answers.
Now that users have access, the ongoing battle is – of course – professional development. At first I wasn’t sure where to start, but I decided to start small during the first few weeks, visiting only two classrooms. This way, I was able to show both students and staff what GAFE really is first-hand, and how it can be used effectively in the classroom. First impressions included ‘I don’t need a memory key anymore?‘, ‘I can access my stuff and work on it from anywhere – even my smartphone?‘, or even ‘why haven’t we had this before?‘
Needless to say, GAFE is a hit in the early going, and I don’t anticipate the reactions to differ too much.