As the school year ended at my school, I could sense a bit of tension and excitement, from botht he students and teacher. We will be changing district-wide to Google Apps over the summer in preparation to a full-scare launch, training, and implementation in the fall.
We have one honest-to-goodness “I hate it, and I am not playing” teacher (believe it or not, a computer-savvy man younger than me). We have several “If you make it relevant and train us efficiently, we are in” sorts, and an awful lot more who are smiling and going along with the discussions, but (and I am speculating) secretly wish Google would crash in mid-July and the plans need to be scrapped. Being the anointed early-adopter and unofficial trainer, I look forward to the successes, and am already bracing myself for the backlash.
What I keep repeating, and those of you transitioning may feel the necessity to parrot are the following bits of rationale:
1. If you make the attempt, Apps is really easy and intuitive. It takes a little trial and failure, but it comes along pretty well.
2. It is not Word, but similar. Nor is it Excel, Powerpoint, or Survey Monkey. It is Google Apps, and they behave differently. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s usually beneficial. The online nature of everything Google makes for possibilities not available on a program that lives on your hard drive.
3. It is SO mobile. We moved past a LAN-based email server a few years ago, but Docs and Calendar are going to be a new experience for some. Yes, you can get it from home, too. Yes, you can get it from your phone. XBOX 360? Sure. Probably even from your Flatscreen TV if it is new enough.
4. In the end it will benefit students. No more flash drives or printer blow-ups at home. Just need an internet connection (which recent studies indicate most homes have, unlike homes which have Microsoft Office or a decent printer). Kids can bring their presentations up live in class, or share assignments. Everybody can share a calendar. This will help everyone be on the same page.
5. It’s the wave of the future. Well, online tools are at least. Currently Google is the industry standard in online editing tools, but others such as Microsoft Office 10 and OpenOffice, and the like may soon cut into that market share.