by Anuj Dhawan
Adoption of any new software can be more daunting than starting dating again in real life. I am outlining the first 100 days of my journey on the G Suite and Classroom product. I resisted change like anyone else, but when it was an order from my boss I hardly had a choice.
I was introduced to G Suite in March 2015. My transition was quite sudden and did not give me any opportunity to prepare for the change. Upon leaving a meeting where I accepted the responsibility to program manage the Google and Chrome rollout for Woolworths, my CIO walked along with me and called one of the IT administrators with instructions to migrate me from the legacy world to G Suite.
Day 1: Saving a document frenzy
MS Outlook was no more my primary tool for emails, and my laptop was replaced by a first-generation Samsung Chromebook. My world was upside down. I had to attend a meeting and I wanted to save a report that I had been working on for three hours in Google Docs, but after looking for almost 30 minutes, I could not find a save button. I did not want to lose my work, so after an hour of hunting through each menu item and missing my meeting, I decided to Google it and soon realised there is no save option in Google Docs – it is smart enough to save work every three seconds. This was my separation for life from the save button.
This started a journey for me in which I embraced and explored this new technology. I shared knowledge with my peers and colleagues by creating a G Suite Community and regularly posted new tips for making a user’s life easy. I recommend that schools create a repository of these tricks and tips on Google Sites that becomes a reference guide for the whole school.
G Suite for Education is free, and it comes with a bundled cloud-based tool named Classroom. Classroom is ‘mission control’ for the class. Users can create classes, distribute assignments, send feedback and see everything in one place. It is instant, paperless and easy.
Day 50: Adoption of a Chromebook
Chromebooks are notebooks manufactured and released in the market with a Google designed, managed and supported operating system known as Chrome OS. They are Google’s answer to offer cloud computing on a user’s desktop.
The question I have been asked is why do we need another operating system in the market? My simple answer is, given the way that users consume and work on their devices today, there was a need for a more simplified, secure and agile operating system.
Three major things have changed since the evolution of Windows devices:
- Users spend 60–80 percent of their time on their laptop browsing the Internet. Given that the Chrome Web browser is leading the way in the existing market, a laptop with only this browser is an option for doing up to 80 percent of users’ daily work.
- Most business software applications, such as Xero (accounting software) and Canvas (learning management system), are now cloud-based services, removing the need to install software like in the old days.
- Users need a more secure device that offers a seamless experience between their mobile, tablet and laptop. As users are more connected in the current digital age, there are also more threats to their devices and data. The Chrome operating system offers the highest secured environment level to schools and students, and does not allow users to make any root level changes. This means that Chromebooks do not require antivirus software.
The Chromebook devices designed for education are in the price range of $300–500. With the public school system still struggling to make 1:1 laptops available, this kind of price structure offers a viable alternative for every student.
Professional Development/Training Plan
This is one of the areas that, if not planned appropriately, can change the outlook and outcome of the technology implementation. Teachers are already under the pressure, and the additional overhead of learning technology can be perceived as a challenge. Principals should reassure staff by building an upfront training plan with their school’s G Suite partner. Knowing there is support when needed will take away 80 percent of teachers’ concern – Google has created online communities via Google+ and a technical support site. There is also a large amount of support material in online community forums.
By the third month, I was completely working with G Suite and a Chromebook. I felt more efficient and never felt that my current choices were limiting my workspace.
Delivery methods in education need an overhaul. Students deserve to be on a digital platform to compete with the world. Principals should not resist change, but embrace it for the future – change is the only constant thing in this world.
For video demonstrations of Google Classroom, go to:
Anuj Dhawan is the CEO of Digitally Infinite. Anuj has been involved with Google’s productivity suite and Chrome products for six years since completing the transformation in Woolworths Limited. The simplicity of the technology and cost effectiveness prompted him to start Digitally Infinite. Today, Digitally Infinite helps schools and organisations transition to Google products and Chromebooks, and offer two hours of free assessment to those considering the move.
Readers of Education Technology Solutions Magazine are eligible for an exclusive price of $325 (+GST) for the HP G5 Chromebook (on orders placed by schools before 31st October 2017).
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