On February 8, our staff met in the computer lab during planning time again to learn about Google Apps for Rural Hall School. Each staff member has a login to our “cloud” domain. We have email, docs, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, sites, calendars, and video. This is a great way for students to complete homework or classwork. There is no problem with software incompatibility or version or operating system.
We loved using the video site! Only teachers can upload video, so the student flip cameras have been put to good use. When the fourth graders went on a three day field trip to the NC outer banks, they took six flip cameras and took video of the stops along the way. Representative movies of each stop were uploaded on the google video site. We have some great photographers here! This was also a great way to have the students at Rural Hall who didn't attend the trip stay in touch with the students who did go - we used Google Moderator and posted questions for the students on the trip to look for things while touring. The teachers on the trip responded back to us at school. We also made a Google Earth tour of the exact trip with all of the stops along the way. The students enjoyed this tour in the computer lab. These applications allowed our students to stay in touch and be "connected" to the field trip even though they were at school.
Another great use we found for Google Apps for Education at RHES was the calendar feature. Each login has its own calendar. We created a calendar for the laptop cart lab. Now, our teachers login to our google apps and sign-up on this calendar to use the laptop lab. They can access this from home to check when making plans and sign-up without having to wait to return to school and use a paper sign-up on the door. – Improvement!
On this staff day in the lab, the teachers logged into Google Apps for Education at RHES and we looked around a bit. I showed the different applications briefly. During the next two staff days, we practiced all of these different possibilities. Having time between these staff days allowed us time to try out some of the applications, think about uses for the applications, and be ready to apply them.