Google Goodies – February, 2011

These are notes for the presentation by John and Bea at EdTech 2011 in Ashland, Virginia. We both became Google Certified Teachers in December of 2009.


Do you think you know what Google is? Google makes its money from advertising. But their mission is to organize the world’s information, making it universally accessible and useful. In addition to its search engine, Google offers a variety of Web-enabled services such as free e-mail (Gmail), a news service, apps for the desktop (Google Earth, Google Sketchup), maps, Google Voice, and of course, YouTube.

Google’s now got a phone platform that’s popular (Android) and another project to simplify computing by taking away most of what we think of as a operating system (ChromeOS). They also make a nice browser for PCs and Macs.

We are going to look at some of our favorite Google Services, and in addition, Google Apps for Education. We’ll share our experiences using GoogleApps both for teachers and for students.

Keep in mind there are two basic types of Google Accounts – those tied to an organization, and those we might call “personal” accounts. A Google account is tied to an e-mail address, which might also be a G-mail address.

Goodies we are sharing:

This is the third year for Goochland using Google Apps with teachers and the second with student accounts. Our first year of student accounts included access to Gmail for students; this year we were unable to afford email archiving, so we no longer offer the student e-mail accounts.

GoogleApps can be configured via LDAP and with a single-sign-on feature. However, we are currently managing the accounts via the Google Apps Dashboard using a mass upload at the start of the year. We use a system to track student accounts by using their graduation year in their account ID. This way, we can search for students by using their graduation year in the IDs and remove students as they graduate.

We feel introducing GoogleApps to teachers first is ideal… they acclimate to the shared environment, the concept of wikis, etc., and then they clamor for these features with students. We have a great penetration of GoogleApps with teachers now, and it’s helped that our administrators have demanded its use.

Some example uses of Google Apps for teachers/staff:

In addition to these examples and tools, we’re big fans of Google Earth and Google Sketchup.