My Journey into the Cloud

Guest post from Mrs Smith / PA to Headteachers and Administrators at Parkroyal Community Primary School

Moving into the Google cloud can be compared to running a marathon; with a well defined training plan, good support along the way and a positive attitude, anyone can do it!

July 2015 - The ‘Training‛ Plan

A large amount of planning between Learnmaker and the school had already taken place to ‘personalise‛ the project before my involvement started. My first step onto the ‘training plan‛ was the task of setting up Google accounts for all the staff last summer; at that stage I don‛t think I really had a full understanding of what a dynamic impact this change would have on our school - it just looked like a great deal of work ahead!

January 201- Since the summer term, like a runner following a training plan, the project has been slowly but surely gathering momentum, adding new elements part by part. Some of this has very much been behind the scenes with regard to finance/purchase of equipment, but the start of the whole school training has probably had the biggest impact, very much like running your longest run! My initial thoughts were that it would have been easier to have delivered the training as an INSET but I can now see that training in small increments has allowed staff to ‘get to grips‛ with individual elements of Google before moving onto the next step. This way it hasn‛t seemed to be as much of a mountain to climb!

February 201- Good Support

Runners often talk about ‘hitting the wall‛, a time when you can‛t think how you are going to take the next step; my ‘hit the wall moment came out of trying to keep the office running whilst trying to attend the training. To resolve this situation and offer support, James tailored more individual training for the admin team, rather than the set group sessions, which gave us far more flexibility so we could still keep the cogs turning. We thought we may have issues integrating our MIS system Arbor with Google however James and our Ian, Arbor representative, have been very positive in their support, meeting with us in the half term to resolve any issues to ensure that we can work seamlessly in partnership which feels like another hurdle tackled.

Today and beyon- Positive attitude

Sometimes the only way you know you‛ve mastered something is just to take the plunge and to not look back; I have just said farewell to my old hard drive but this has been far less traumatic than I anticipated and I have found it easier than I thought working out new ways of tackling tasks within Google. It now feels like after months of careful preparation, everyone has made the natural progression and started running their marathon race; we aren‛t anywhere near the end and there are some that are moving at a faster pace than others, but everyone is embracing the changes they‛ve been offered.

There will be many firsts along the way!

There has definitely been a change in mindset and positivity; staff are sharing and editing documents, which in my role of managing two Headteachers, has proved invaluable. All the staff are far more up to date with school events via the Google Calendar and invites, and communication is much improved, especially with access to Google Hangouts which allows us to real time contact staff, an essential tool whilst our admin team are on split sites. One of our many ‘lightbulb moments‛ has come from our lunchtime first aider who is not only logging all incidents directly onto our MIS system, but has used the Google Hangouts facility to advise the teaching staff of any lunchtime accidents instead of the office staff having to replicate the information; a real time saver!

The finish line

I am not sure there will ever be a finish to this ‘race‛ - it is an continuously developing project and it is very exciting to be such a pivotal part of it. I am looking forward to taking on new challenges including Google Certification training. Although the switchover only took place 2 weeks ago, would I go back ...... absolutely not!!!!

Jay Ashcroft

Entrepreneur. Author. Speaker. Cofounder of LearnMaker