Getting GAFE with IT

laptop1-230x153Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is taking off at NPSC.

It’s an exciting time.

One day last week, I woke and listened to the radio as I often do as I get ready for work. Wednesday last week though was a bit different; the following headline came on the air:

Local Students are Learning with ‘The Cloud’

I have been researching GAFE for over a year now in the hopes of eventually getting it up and running at NPSC. Many bookmarks and favourites later, we secured our domain and ran a small pilot with teachers and students last spring – and it (as you would assume) sold itself.

Throughout my research, of all the resources that I came across, I have to say that this White Paper along with Cloud Research Report were instrumental in selling the idea of going to the cloud to many groups of key stakeholders. I would like to thank many people, especially contacts at OCSB, WRDSB, YRDSB and UGDSB (I apologize if I forgot you!), as they all were helpful in sharing their adoption stories, successes/obstacles throughout their journeys and next steps, which allowed for a more educated research.

So, needless to say, it was definitely nice to hear that radio announcement, where I started to feel that all of that work paid off.

Currently, we are now rolling out PD opportunities to staff and students to introduce them to some of the basic tools – mainly Google Drive for now. I’m sure it goes without saying, but the following factors are what users like about Google Apps:

  • Simplicity
  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • Safe and secure
  • Collaboration potential second to none

Where the challenge comes now is getting the necessary resources out users so that they can further discover the potential of the vast Google Educational Suite of tools.

Queue in Synergyse.

courtesy of

I ran into Synergyse last year at their booth Connect 2014 in Niagara Falls. I was with my good friend Andrew Swartz; we stopped, listened and watched for no more than two minutes; we looked at each other and said “really?”.

This year at the GAFE Summit in Ottawa, I was in a session with fellow eLCs Joe Sisco and Tom Carroll, where  Tim Lee from Amplified IT put on another demo of Synergyse. Tom and I looked at each other and said “are you kidding me?” As eLCs – involved at some level with any type of roll out related to edTech tools, we thought we’d won the lottery.

In a nutshell, Synergyse trains folks on software when they need it, in the Google tool that they need help with, at their own pace, without needing to go to YouTube. You have to see it for yourself.

I hooked up with Amplified IT since then and am now testing it out with a few other teachers. This product seems like the perfect in the moment, self-directed PD that would be instrumental in the product launch stage of GAFE, but I’m only one person.

Have you used it? Did you like it? Not like it?

Do you recommend it for a K-12 organization – in the early stages of getting GAFE with IT?

Any thoughts or recommendations to other helpful tools would be – awesome.

One Reply to “Getting GAFE with IT”

  1. Almost brought tears to my eyes:) So happy for your accomplishment. NPSC is very lucky
    to have you and even more importantly, the students and teachers are lucky you are there!

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