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Google Apps at Papanui High School: Revision

As part of the ICT contract we took on the Google Apps package. Initially, this meant that all staff were transferred over from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail and then introduced to Google Apps and how they could be used in teaching & learning.

The February 22nd earthquake was the motivator to start using many of the google apps. Teachers and students could not physically access learning while schools and classrooms were closed for indefinite periods. When we returned to school we had many conversations with students about how we could continue learning should we have more major disruptions. Many teachers began sharing google documents and presentations with their students and insisted on student work being produced and stored on Google docs.

In 2012 we offered four types of Google Apps PD: block sessions, taster sessions, one-on-one help sessions and department sessions to give teachers choice about what and when they learned. The Apps we offered teachers were: Drive, Calendar, Docs, Presentations, Forms, Blogger, Picasa. The results have been:

  • Teachers now know how to set up group contact lists and share documents with whole class groups, or groups of parents or teachers
  • Google docs and presentations are now ubiquitous in all staff communication and meetings
  • Google docs and presentations are the preferred tool for students to submit junior and NCEA assessments – this has had a significant positive impact on the crafting and editing of student work as well as tracking the contribution and colloboration of students on group documents
  • Google docs are used for feedback and feed-forward across all subjects, as well as tracking whether students respond to the feedback given by teachers
  • Many departments have dept blogs, and many individual teachers set up class blogs for students to access learning outside the classroom, as well as, using the blog as a springboard to being lessons storing video files and encouraging students to repeat their learning outside of class time.
  • Many teachers use Picasa to store and share online photos – which our ICT dept are very grateful for!
  • Many teachers Google chat to conference about students around the school and this tool could be developed for real life conversations  or interviews like Skype
  • The school term calendars are now shared with all staff on google calendars, staff personalise their own calendars, and now staff are preparing their 2013 courses on Google calendars and will be embedding them in our PapNet course pages.
  • Forms have been used in classes as surveys, reflections, revision activities as well as for staff response surveys.

Over the contract lifetime the staff has shifted from paper based teaching & learning to being able to access teaching and learning anytime, anywhere. I believe we are well-equipped should the worst disaster or disruption happen again! Additionally, I believe that we are supporting our students far better now for the transition to tertiary education and the possibility of blended online learning. Our students and teachers are competent users of Google Apps which means, beyond 2012, I feel confident we will continue to develop our usage of Google Apps through Google Sites and embedding on PapNet.