Assemble Google Apps School Guides

It is now time to plan the professional development for the teachers.  You will need to determine the learning objectives you want your teachers to master and the pace of your professional development plan.  You will also need to consider how the training is delivered (i.e. school site staff meeting, webex etc.).  There are lots of great training resources in the Google Apps Training Center. Be sure to use these resources before reinventing the wheel!   

Plan for 1-2 weeks to complete the following tasks:

Training preparations

When planning your Professional Development plan, there are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Account for extra lead time when scheduling training
  • Consider advocating for stipends given to Google Apps School Guides
  • Have some Google Apps/Google giveaways on hand 
  • Create a Google Apps training site for the district with links to resources, videos, highlighted tips and tricks, FAQs, common tutorials, etc. (example from the state of Oregon) 
  • Measure the level of prior knowledge and technical proficiency to plan accordingly for different levels
    • Consider using Forms in Google Docs to collect the information and also use as a demonstration of the tool.
  • Determine whether Google Apps training is centralized at the district level or customized by Guides at the school level.

Objectives

Set clear objectives and goals for Google Apps usage and training at your district. For example, will training be project based (i.e. teachers will be able to create a class website, set-up a course syllabus) or product based (i.e. teachers will be able to use Forms in Google Docs, learn how to create calendars).

The objectives of the training program should build in relevancy for teachers and demonstrate how using Google Apps will engage students and make teachers more effective.
EXPERT TIP
“Have teachers start using docs for professional purposes before the students. We used calendar to schedule meetings, curriculum, and resources (labs, etc.) and Docs to plan collaboratively. The combination of workshops and job-embedded development makes teachers more comfortable and proficient. This takes longer but I think it helps a lot towards system-wide adoption.”
- John Calvert, Clarkstown Central School District, NY

Identify new or existing practices to promote

As part of the objectives, you can identify some existing processes or projects done at a school or district level that teachers can now implement with Google Apps.

For example:
  • Class sites: Encourage every teacher to have an online presence, conduct training on Google Sites
  • Lesson plans: Set up grade-level folders schoolwide for teachers to contribute and access and conduct training on shared folders with Google Docs
  • School calendar: Create a shared calendar that consolidates all schoolwide activites (assemblies, events, sports, testing, etc.) into one place.
For more ideas review the Top 10 ways to start using Google Apps.

EXPERT TIP
Apps (Docs in particular) also helps satisfy the requirements set forth by the new Common Core Standards that 37 States, including NY, have signed onto. Every system is scrambling to prepare for next year when they are in place. In the writing strand, look at “Production and Distribution,” in Speaking and Listening, look at “Comprehension and Collaboration.” It is a home run- could be it’s own section.” 
- John Calvert, Clarkstown Central School District, NY

Timing
Once you have objectives in mind, determine the frequency and duration of training necessary for accomplishing your goals.

There are several ways you can conduct your training
  • Frequent and short - take 20 min/week in staff meetings to introduce a new feature and have teachers practice (10 min for presentation, 10 min for practice)
  • Concentrated - devote staff development days to covering all the tools
  • Online - create screencasts or videos for an online training library

Delivery

There are several options to consider when structuring training sessions, for example:
  • Facilitation - large district-wide summits, in-person staff meetings, webinars, recorded videos hosted in Google Apps
  • Environment/infrastructure - bring your own laptop, computer lab, projector
  • Group work and individual exercises
  • Allocation of time for independent practice
  • Review sessions - potentially through recorded videos or webinars - to follow up on training
  • Success stories - have a place for teachers to share how they are successfully using the tools or other tips/tricks they have