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Going 1 to 1 using Google Education

I can only imagine the level of anxiety you have right now, wondering how you can effectively push out 1,000 devices at a school? Well, I hope this article eases the long work hours and sleepless nights. I work at a school district in Arizona that has recently became a Google Reference School. We currently have 8 schools that are 1 to 1. Of course, we were not initially 1 to 1. We began in 2015 as 2 to 1 with 2nd to 8th grade, then slowly became 1 to 1. Our tech department grew from 4 to 13 over the years. This includes our Director, Coordinator, 9 technicians at each campus, a Network Administrator and a Technology Integrator. We now have iPads in Pre-k, Kindergarten and Specials (Art,Music). Our 1st grade to 8th grade all have chrome books.

So here are a few tips to consider in order to survive as a Google Admin:

  1. Choosing devices:

a. Overall cost?

b. Durability against children and unexpected drops?

c. Warranty and device life expectancy?

d. Can your techs replace the keyboard, battery and screen easily?

e. Are the chargers durable? Will the pin break in the device easily?

2.Choosing student usernames and passwords:

a. Consider a username that doesn’t personally identify the student.

b. If you’re considering Single Sign On now or in the future, know that most company’s (McGraw, Discovery) have a requirement and may already have those usernames already taken.

c. Consider short passwords because K-4 may have a hard time typing in 12 characters. On the other hand, not to easy where a stranger can figure it out.

3. Settings:

a. Take a thorough look at all the settings that can be enabled and disabled for students.

b. If you’re enabling email for students, consider blocking emails from coming in or out from other domains

c. Another consideration maybe blocking the history on the student end, so that they are not able to alter there history.

d. For daily sign in for students, enable @stu.domain.k12eld.org to auto populate so students do not have to type it in themselves.

e. Kiosk mode is great for state testing. The chromebooks automatically go to the website without having to sign into the device.

**Consider taking the G Suite Administrator course and exam to gain further knowledge of the settings within Google Admin.

4. Deploying devices:

a. Are your teachers ready? Explain to them your expectations for classroom management, device management, and the procedure to reporting issues. We have a help desk set up where teachers are able to submit a ticket with any issues they may be having.

b. Consider having teachers take the Google Educator Level 1 and 2 course and exam. This will allow teachers to be more familiar with Google Apps.

c. Should the device enrollment, cart wiring , etc be done in house or through a third party? Consider cost and time availability.

5. Organization:

a. Keep an inventory of devices

b. Label and name devices (for example for Cart 1A- Device 31: 1A-31)

c. Properly organize them in your device management by school, grade using sub organizations

d. Choose the proper cart. One that is easily accessible for technicians. Also, consider a method of keeping your carts wired properly

c. How will you secure your cart? We use number locks, we can change the cart code every year. We also do not share the code with students or substitute teachers.

6. Show time!

  1. Will your network support all devices running at once?
  2. Do you have a system in place to provide spare devices, and technical support?
  3. Do you have a policy in place for students who damage devices? Speak to your school admin about weather parents will be held responsible.
  4. Consider having Digital Citizenship lessons for teachers. Not every teacher is “techy” so going over basic internet safety rules could be helpful. Also have teachers teach students Digital Citizenship and technology procedures in the classroom. Visit https://www.commonsense.org/education/ for tools and resources.
  5. Include parents in this techy movement. Whether it’s during a PTA Meeting, hosting a Technology night or in a newsletter. Technology may be new to many parents and often times they are to overwhelmed to learn. Providing that bridge between school and home can create a strong support system. Google has Google Trainers who can host these meetings, you can look one up in your state. Common Sense Education has Ambassadors who can do the same.

I hope you found this a bit helpful. Feel free to reach out to me via twitter @_Marie.Ram. You can also comment below!