A growing number of school districts have embraced Google Apps for Education as their cloud-based e-mail and content-management platform. But how these districts approach the effort—and the challenges and problems they encounter—differ widely.
Valuable lessons in how to implement Google Apps for Education (commonly know as Google Docs) can be learned from Crook County High School in Prineville, OR, and from the state’s Virtual School District. Two years ago, Oregon became the nation’s first such statewide Google Docs project, and Crook County High jumped on board. What started as a new e-mail system quickly evolved into a full-blown Google products rollout.
Crook County High adopted a top-down approach to implementing Google Docs in the classroom, according to Rachel Wente-Chaney, who directs the training efforts for the Oregon Virtual School District. School administration ensured that all teachers received a summer boot camp and weekly training each step of the way. The process started two years ago with the sixth grade, and this year the seventh grade adopted Google Docs as well. The keys to success have been a team-based approach to navigating through the process, which has included training and tech support offered at both the local and state level.