Thoughts from the classroom: Moving to Google

Mrs Roberts - Higher Level Teaching Assistant

As a person who was terrified of using computers and iPads, i am now able to print ,send e-mails, use google docs and have a go at anything I'm not sure of on my i-pad or chrome book . Yesterday i sent my first e-mail to all staff in school. Today I have been editing documents for an intervention group in Early Years. Although these achievements may seem small, to me they are a huge step forward in my professional development.


Mrs Beaumont - Headteacher

Dear Google diary...not that long ago I purchased a gorgeous fountain pen and having waited all year to use my birthday money, I did invest some time into finding one that I liked writing with. I have taken it along with my notebook to many a meeting and loved writing with it, making many sets of notes.  

Then came Google Keep!

Having learnt about Google Keep I am totally and utterly in love with a way of capturing notes, photos and audio on coloured post it notes, that I can organise. Not only that, I can add to those notes with my phone when I don’t have my Chrome book or Ipad.  So many people have asked me on courses what I am recording my notes on, especially when taking photos and dropping them into my notes and I can confidently say..’Its Google Keep...I thoroughly recommend it’.

My fountain pen, which I still love, has become redundant when I  take notes. Perhaps I will make it my ‘birthday card’ writing pen. Google Keep is my new ‘fountain pen’ and really pleased I have discovered such a brilliant Google tool.


7th February - Mrs Morgan - Teaching Assistant

So today after lunch, I go back to the room I was covering in this afternoon and there I find James and Max ripping out the 'old' desktop and associated cabling. I'd spent sometime beforehand setting everything up on the desktop ready for the lesson I was teaching. But as I had everything in my Google drive I was able to set everything up again fairly quickly and for the first time in a long while the technology actually worked!!!! I was able to switch from my chrome book to my iPad with ease I was quite impressed. Let's see how long this lasts!!!!!!


Monday 22nd February 2016… Mrs Morton-Race - ITT Student

 

...a new half term, I’m halfway through my teacher training course. I feel very lucky to have been placed at a school which is going through some amazing changes. The school is currently improving the way in which it operates and communicates, and therefore teaches. Migrating the whole school onto Google’s different operating systems is quite remarkable. I have personally used Google Drive and Google Docs for some time now and recently have just started using Google Photos for storing my family photos. So to see this being used by the whole school as a way of communicating, storing and sharing work is brilliant. It just makes complete sense and improves working life so much. Communications are much easier, saving time, using Google Hangouts. Being able to quickly message people who are on the other side of the building, or even outside, saves valuable time allowing it to be allocated elsewhere. Using Google Docs to do planning with the ability to share with other members of staff is priceless. The sharing capability is a huge bonus and allows others to instantly view things which I’m sure will have cut down on photocopying costs. One of the things which I find has made life easier is that photos which are taken on our iPads can be opened immediately on our Chromebooks through Google Drive. Before this, it was a long laborious task trying to get photos from one device to another, using cables. Now cables are no more, hello Chromecast! I’m really looking forward to reaping the benefits of Google over the forthcoming months and reflecting, every now and again, on how life has become so much more easier.


Mrs Hunt / 18th February 2016

Team work

The Early Years Foundation Stage is centred around the children learning through play and exciting experiences.  I lead a team of 5 staff with a cohort of 60 pupils across two classes, which can often be an organisational nightmare; especially, if like me you can’t seem to keep hold of a copy of all the planning documents!

 

This is where the transfer to Google Chrome with James from Learnmaker has been so valuable.  As myself and the other class teacher are also on the SLT, there are many times when our Higher Level Teaching Assistants support and teach the class whilst we are in meetings.  We also have extra support each afternoon from a TA from another year group.  When you also factor in SEN meetings, PPA and illnesses, the planning can sometimes take a back seat, or be started and not finished.  

As soon as I had the training on Google docs, I realised that if I created a template document, it wouldn’t matter who started the planning, or more importantly, where they were, as it could be accessed by all of the team at any time.  EYFS planning is very different to other year groups as it requires practitioners to plan from the children’s interests as well as planning activities and experiences to help them progress.  Therefore, we often have ideas or suggestions at the weekend or throughout the week after we’ve planned.  The shared document allows all team members to add statements from the Development Matters document, plan activities and add images of exciting ideas found on sites such as Pinterest.  

Shared ownership of the planning document ensures that all of the EYFS team know what the learning outcomes are for the coming week whilst still remaining flexible enough to meet the demands of a busy Foundation department.  


Mrs Shaw / Deputy Head / 24th February

 

When getting underway with our blog training this afternoon, one conversation I had with a staff member truly demonstrated how far we had come as a school in developing an IT ethos amongst staff. After accidentally setting her iPad to ‘install software updates’, instead of opening the blog app, it left her wanting to jot down ‘How to…’ notes. At this point we had a chat about Google Keep and the response was...

‘Show me, Show me!’... ‘It’s amazing, it will be so helpful!’

This was closely followed with a list of ways she would now use it her in her role when communicating ideas with staff.

Within two minutes, ‘Google Keep’ was pinned to her chromebook shelf, new notes were colour coded and her pen and paper left untouched in the drawer behind her. As the ‘software updates’ signalled completion on her Ipad, training continued as before and .

If we had, had this conversation two months ago, not only would the pen and paper be on the table, but the chromebook and Ipad most certainly shut away in a drawer.

As for Google Keep - it wasn’t even in the building!


Mr Beevers / 12th February 2016

I am a PC bloke. Having grown up with Microsoft since Windows 3.1, I had a rather grumpy attitude to changing the way in which I work. Much more "I don't want to play...". 

I don't like iPads as a work tool. I need a big screen, a mouse and a keyboard. They are for playing games and checking scores. Having had a school iPad for over a year, I have done pretty much that with it. I don't feel able to create resources with my finger end, and projecting the image of a 4:3 iPad onto a 16:9 screen is annoying.

Grudgingly, I participated with a clear issue in mind, how do I find the time to recreate every worksheet and whiteboard notebook. I don't really want to 'hangout' and I have a working email service, thanks.

My eyes were first opened by a training session on Google Drive, and how I can upload all my existing documents, access them from anywhere, and collaborate on one version of a document. The amazement of opening a Google Doc for nearly the first time and seeing coloured cursors appearing and disappearing across a page, and text magically appearing (and disappearing) was palpable. 

Imagine my joy at having a chrome book which has all that I need, and by Jove, even links with my iPad through Google Drive so that I can see the same documents live on both...at the same time...

I can, and have, created forms for quizzes in a very short time, and I can do pretty much all the analysis I need on Sheets, if only I can find it on the toolbar. I have 'hungout' and it might just help me when I'm stuck in the classroom and need to get a message out.

It's not all plain sailing though. I can access all the 00's of smartboard documents through a web browser, but I can't edit them so I'm finding it hard to use an excellent set of specific resources that I've spent hours on.

This morning, with only a little nervousness, I unplugged my desktop and wrapped up a vast tangle of cables.....

Jay Ashcroft

Entrepreneur. Author. Speaker. Cofounder of LearnMaker