26 May 2013

Google here Google there

My week appears to have been dominated by all things Google! Me and million others!
More this week than any other? I did receive lots of messages about googledoc use and discussed them at the NZALT meeting where I presented the NZQA info about online submissions for moderation.
And this level of "Google activity" got me thinking...
Every day several times a day I typically search, email, use calendars, create and share docs, presentations, forms, upload images, follow and participate in groups, watch Youtube clips, use Maps as GPS... I have used googlesites to document or communicate information. I embed elements from my Drive in other online spaces. My Android phone is surgically attached to my hand, the Android tablet is central to our living area.  I have even started to use Chrome and added a range of apps, including Lucidchart, Pocket. Still my default browser is Firefox, firmly, but who knows? I own a macbook air which has virtually no storage place as most of my stuff is cloud based, mostly in Drive and some in Dropbox.
And that is only my personal use..

The teaching and learning world is taken by storm by GoogleApps for Education: docs, control panel, apps... Excellent teachers are selected to attend the Google Academy, forward thinking and successful schools showcase how the Apps combined with Teacher Dashboard transform teaching and learning, amazing stories of implementation to develop a digital age approach to learning for all students are widely disseminated, whole countries like Malaysia not only adapt the cloud services but also the hardware, Chromebooks are featured prominently, GAFECommunity conferences worldwide are extremely well attended by innovative teachers looking to empower their students to own their learning. Resources to get started, presentations to implement, tips from any of these events are shared widely through social media.
And that is only what I am aware off...

I have actually not set out to learn about Google stuff, it just has grown as part of my daily routine,
it feels as whenever I need to do something there is a Google way, and that it makes my many aspects of my daily life easier:
- googledrive for all NZAFT business
- collaboration on documents with colleagues
- eportfolio publishing
- blog posts
- googledrive to share and organise shared documents
- hangout to allow for those online meetings and record them
- presentations with speakernotes shared
- everything viewable and editable at my fingertips anywhere anytime on phone

Google is omnipresent in my online activities. I can't quite trace back how this has come to be. It all started with a Gmail address and playing with the tabs in iGoogle I think.
What surprises me is that some people I work with can't access googledocs from their place of work: no need sharing a doc with them at their institution address, no need asking them to quickly join a hangout. Others are still under the impression that if you don't send a form or document on paper or attachment to an email, then it won't be replied to, that the link to the form or the doco won't be followed. That only if you have a google account you can fill in a form! And others can't quite get what it means that it is on the cloud.

I can't say I am a Google enthusiast any more than I am a car enthusiast:
- both equally take me from A to B when I need (although I admit that going from A to B with google is far less of a straight road, as often one thing leads to another! ;-))
- both I drive with caution but also with the comfort associated with familiarity and a good dose of safety ( I have googled my name on a range of browsers and devices and different locations and I am yet to see in the first 10 pages of the search any of the documents I have published to the web from Drive),
- both I enjoy the reliability of and the feeling of ownership derived from a certain element of mastery Oh that feeling of freedom when the tool does exactly what you want (eg: I don't think about "How" I drive to B) and that frees you to concentrate on the next step!
So I know what Google enables me to do. I know it now as it is born of need.  I know some know heaps more and use much more Google things and make it work for them and their institutions, schools etc. so I continue looking as something will resonate and it ll get used. (Like the DocStory builder!)

I felt I needed to look at some of these applications in a school context, with learning outcomes firmly in mind, with students experience at the heart, to see what they look like in a context where the freedom of use can be restricted due to the constraints (age limitations, digital competence, infrastructure, access, data ownership etc.) and to see what users make of them (like this or that!), where they can embed, how they can communicate with parents, communities... What makes GoogleApps different so that they seem to be so widely implemented (if not widely and judiciously used)? Is it because their use, contrarily to LMS for instance, revolves around a personal user ID, namely an email address and a user owned product such as a doc? Hum...

Upon receiving info about the GoogleTools for Learning course coming up,  I suggested to the NZAFT exec ATeam that we went on a learning outing together: I have been doing "the Google evangelist" with the team for over a year now, but I'm limited by my own experience. And I am ready to listen to expert advice in the education field. Our team has steadily grown their use and started to see some massive changes in the way we work and relate to others for planning and communication purposes. This is timely for all of us, and the opportunity to work together to share experience and freshly acquired knowledge to our community of practice at the upcoming Fransème is too good to miss!

So I am going back on my word: I am going to a "how to" workshop! LOL!  I' ll soon write what I got out of it!

1 comment:

  1. Your Google post reminded me of a song my father used to sing:
    'Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googly eyes
    Barney Google, had a wife three times his size
    She sued Barney for divorce
    Now he's living with his horse
    Barney Google with the goo-goo-googly eyes'

    Now how silly is that? I'm sure if he were still with us today he'd be moved to sing that song ad nauseam, given the ubiquity of Google in our lives.
    It certainly seems to enable lots of people to do things that would otherwise have been impossible so in that sense I suppose it's transformative.
    The other night I used a Google doc to help a student with her writing. Not sure how useful she found the session but the tool was certainly helpful. Which reminds me. I still haven't managed to get a google doc successfully onto MyPortfolio so it can be accessed in its editable form. BTTDB. It'd fallen off the radar in the wake of 1001 other things that make up the typical school week.
    I look forward to your future Google findings.


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