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Setting up a school with Google Apps - first steps!

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Started by Melissa Grant 14 Jun 2013 1:47pm () Replies (23)

Hi Google App users!

I'm about to set a school up and have heard there are a few teething problems if you don't work through the set up process correctly.  My one question at this stage is:  When I send the domain name over to Google for verification and this is approved does google mail immediately start working and therefore the teachers lose their outlook mail flow and have to immediately start using google mail?


  • Cheryl (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 2:23pm ()

    Google mail is web based so is completely independent from Outlook. Stuff in Outlook stays there. In Outlook you can then "add an account" and add your gmail acct.... it will haul in gmail into IMAP folders in Outlook. THis means that the emails stay in gmail but you can view and work with them in Outlook.

  • anne robertson (View all users posts) 20 Jun 2013 8:42am ()

    I am interested in seeing how this thread goes as we are also looking to go to GAFE.  I am not  a technician but am trying to get as much information as I can about the set up process in support of my argument that we adopt GAFE.  Looking forward to comments

  • Ross Alexander (View all users posts) 20 Jun 2013 10:43am ()

    I have been involved in setting up GAFE in a couple of schools, and also with an RTLB cluster. Some thoughts:

    • Communicate clearly to all staff why the change is being made. What are the benefits to them in terms of productivity? What are the possibilities for your students?
    • Show examples of the benefits to staff and students being able to access email, docs, calendars etc. from anywhere
    • Share the GA page on the Enabling e-Learning website to see what other schools have done
    • Emphasise the power of collaborating online – both with staff and students
    • Migrating from your existing email platform to Gmail does take time, and is an area where there can be huge impact (frustration if it doesn’t go smoothly) on staff. Best done during term break!
    • If you are in a large school consider phasing in the implementation
    • Lastly, consider how Google Apps (or any other cloud-based platform) fits into the whole school development of e-learning capability. The e-Learning Planning framework provides a way of supporting staff, leaders and community in understanding that it’s not just about the technology.
  • Diane Henderson (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2013 3:31pm ()

    We are also in the process of setting up GAFE for a small cluster of 3 schools.  Our ideas os to move the Outlook mail to the new gmail domain so we are all using the same.  We are also considering using Hapara to organise student folders and have more control of which apps are used etc.  Has anyone had experience in setting this up?

  • Amy McCauley (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2013 3:58pm ()

    Re Hapara Teacher Dashboard - contact Lenva Shearing (lenva.shearing@hapara.com) and she will help you with everything you need to set this up & any questions you have.  We have just set it up with our school and the process is very straight forward and easy to navigate and it's great having NZ-based help with this.  

  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 8:38am ()

    Thanks for the heads up on Hapara Teacher Dashboard.

    A couple of questions - what is the main rationale that you would use Hapara? Is it safety because you can monitor their movements across Google apps? Or is it accountability on the student and teacher with keeping up todate on progress/work? 

    We operate with Google accounts and individual teachers use Google drive accordingly within the teaching and learning.... we are using Watchdog currently, but with a move towards BYO iPads in the very near future, we are looking at a more rigorous filtering and monitoring system whitch Watchdog and others offer.

    Another query is ... how are schools considering the idea that the student's google accounts can be taken with them once they leave a particular school network? This idea of developing Life long learners needs to also include the ability to take your learning and work along with you as you move through the schooling system. Enduring accounts so to speak.  I know you can download Docs and then upload to another Gmail account, but is this the only way for someone to 'own' their work?    Thoughts? 



  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 11:08am ()

    You can share your work to a private google account and then take copies of it.  Then the documents in the school drive can be deleted, so it is easy to take the documents and presentations with you.

  • Rob Clarke (View all users posts) 07 Aug 2013 10:22am ()

    Hi Anjela,

    I would use hapara if I was implementing GAFE with a class or school. It enables the teacher to easily manage the whole lot (including documents, emails - plus monitoring, blogs, comments, picasa) from one easy to use dashboard. I've seen it used and it's seriously impressive.

    With regards to your safety question - like anything in the elearning realm, if you have strong agreements that are used in an ongoing manner to discuss, mediate and help learners understand the ethics around digital communications, then safety becomes less of an issue and learning is the issue. Does that make sense?

    Re: monitoring systems - there are a few on the market and it is worth doing some homework on these. I saw the most brilliant one I've yet seen in the north island recently called 'Mobile Manager' by lightspeed systems - it looks seriously powerful. Some options here...

    Re: moving accounts when children leave. This depends on your philosophy - it can be messy and time consuming doing it manually. Google have this nifty tool called Takeout which does this for you - the user needs access to both accounts though. You could therefore get students to do this themselves. More here - https://delicious.com/robclarke/googleapps

    I hope this helps - get in touch if you want more help.


  • sansam (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 10:20am ()

    The teacher dashboard provides a great monitoring system of all docs, blogs, and blog comments.

    It is easy for a teacher to open up a doc and provide instant feedback and feed forward on children's writing.
    There is certainly a safety aspect to it, but more importantly makes it easier to access children's work and provide ongoing feedback.
    We have just begun using the Remote Control part of dashboard as well, which lets us see what webpages children have open on their browsers (in Chrome) and enables teachers to send  direct messages to child, open webpages on all children's netbooks as well as closing them when needed.
    When our children leave the school they provide us with a gmail address (with parent permission) so we are able to hand over administrator rights to blogs.  Docs aren't as easy to transfer to a new account as yet not able to transfer ownership of a document unless you are still in the same domain (the school ). Hopefully google may change this as it would make life a lot easier.
    Would be interested to hear what other schools do to roll over accounts.
  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 11:09am ()

    Just share then take a copy of all your documents. You become the new owner.

  • sansam (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 11:31am ()

    That is a really big job when you have 200+ accounts!  But yes, did do that for some accounts.

  • dorothyjburt (View all users posts) 07 Aug 2013 10:52am ()

    @Cheryl re email:  In our cluster of 11 GAFE Schools there are a wide range of Mail clients in use.  Our cluster staff access gmail in Apple Mail, Outlook, through a variety of browsers etc.  It 'just works'.

    @anjela and others commenting on kids/teachers moving their content as lifelong learners.  We have found a simple solution.  Create a folder >share the folder with your new Google Account > dump all docs in the shared folder(select all >move) > change folder ownership to the new account

    We have found that students from Year 5-13 can do this themselves - haven't tried with younger kids yet.

    Teachers Dashboard, including Remote Control, was designed simply to solve a number of the problems in this thread :)


  • Emily Watts (View all users posts) 06 Apr 2014 6:16pm ()

    Hi Melissa (and others)- I see that you asked this question almost a year ago - I would love to know how the set up of GAFE has gone for you? I'm just about to embark on this at our little school (38 students) in order to set the seniors initially up with gmail accounts and for them to create work in G.docs and share. Any heads up on things you wish you'd know before you started, any teething issues and unforeseen difficulties? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks all,


  • annerotorua (View all users posts) 06 Apr 2014 7:34pm ()

    Our advice - highly recommend you use Google Apps for Education in conjunction with Hapara Teacher Dashboard - makes it so much easier to manage.

    We had a hiccup at the start with setting up our GAFE account as we were assigned a Google Apps for Business trial ( despite thinking we had registered for Google Apps for Education) so do check that you have the right kind of account.

    Have received fantastic support from both Hapara and Google. In case you don't know Google have a support line in NZ ph 09 915 0981. You need a pin to get support from the Google Helpline - see the support section under your google admin login for details re pin.

    Enjoy using Google Apps. It is fantastic.


  • Rob Clarke (View all users posts) 06 Apr 2014 7:55pm ()

    Hi Emily and others,

    One aspect to be mindful of is when making changes to your DNS records you can create mayhem if you make a mistake. The key part is the change of the mail delivery, this in my view is the critical part as it affects everyone at the same time - so you need to consider how you are supporting the change prior and as soon afterwards as possible.

    Another thing to consider is to create a shared folder in Drive inside a generic Admin account which houses schoolwide documents - that way you avoid ownership issues when people move on/etc.

    A really good solution is to create a school start page - at the upcoming GAFE Summit in CHCH and AKLD I'm running a workshop on creating your own school start page if you can make it.

    If you want help with your installation/deployment I'm happy to advise, drop me an email off forum.


  • Emily Watts (View all users posts) 08 Apr 2014 7:05pm ()

    Great advice ... thank you! Will be in touch via email Rob ... will certainly need advice along the way. I'm planning on comign to the GAFE Summit too.

  • Rob Clarke (View all users posts) 08 Apr 2014 7:11pm ()

    Great we'll look forward to seeing you there!

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