12 Google Apps Adoption Tips For Your EDU

YES! Your school is moving to Google Apps. Collaboration will be easier. The technology will be easier. Working with your students will be easier. See a trend?

While many at your school will be excited to learn Google Apps, there will be others who will be filled with hesitation. They don’t know Google Apps and the immediate reaction to the change is one of reluctance.

How do you increase adoption early on and ensure a smooth implementation for your school? Below are 12 tips addressing change management, training and adoption.

1. Set the stage with open and honest communication.

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People naturally resist change. Spend time listening to your fellow colleagues and their fears and questions in order to build trust.

2. Get buy in from the top as early as possible.

Once you have the full support of those in management (or the equivalent) there will be a trickle down effect.

3. Show the ‘what’s in it for me?’ quickly.

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To make the change a beneficial one, it will ultimately come down to each individual wanting to know how his or her daily working environment will be affected.

4. Start small.

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Managing change can be daunting. It’s often best to start small and expand from there. Keep it simple. You want to present a detailed plan to everybody at your school but you don’t want to bury them with detail.

5. Whet their appetite.

Don’t overwhelm anyone with the technology. Get the staff on board and comfortable before the students. Or better yet, get a few departments on board before expanding.

6. Work your plan.

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Google recommends a communication plan that consists of a series of emails that aims to provide information and build support over time.

7. Slow and steady.

Many organizations choose to migrate only email and calendar rather than going with a full-blown transition initially. It proves to be a fairly effective way to ease into the change.

8. Create a training website.

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This site will serve as a way to promote all the training content that you’ve developed. Add videos where people can brush up on the basics and/or a training calendar where users can sign up for training courses. You could also forward The Gooru Newsletter to your users!

9. Embrace the tools.

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There are lots of strategies to implement that can help make training your staff easier but one is to use the actual tools within Google Apps. Hangouts for example is a super tool. Share tips via Hangouts on Air and that way you’re leading by example.

10. Stay top of mind.

Keep the Google Apps momentum going by staying top of mind with your users. Sending out a “tips of the week” email is helpful to ensure users are continuing to learn. Be sure to email your users with new fun features from Google.

11. Develop Google Guides.

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One key to the success of a Google Apps implementation is to develop a core group of committed Google Guides. They transition to GApps earlier and can therefore give extra product training and support.

12. Stay in constant contact.

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It’s critical to keep communicating – often and through multiple channels. Share tips and success stories via email, department meetings, district meetings, brainstorming sessions, or in the hallway.

Best of luck getting your school up and running on Google Apps. Need an additional resource? Grab our eBook on Growing Google Apps for Education here for FREE. Happy Google Apps adoption!

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12 Google Search Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know

Search is Google’s main business and they take it seriously. Features are constantly released that enable it to better display the information that is most relevant to you so you don’t need to scroll through multiple pages of results to find what you need.

If you can’t remember song lyrics that are on the tip of your tongue or need to review your spending habits from last month, you can do it with Google Search. Check out a few of our favorite little known search tricks that can take your searches to the next level.

1. Weigh your options with Google comparisons.

Deciding between two similar items for your next purchase? Easily compare them by putting vs between two search terms. For instance, “f16 vs f/a-18”.

2. goo·gle: ˈɡo͞oɡ(ə)l/, verb, search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet using the search engine Google.

Google can serve as an online dictionary. Just type DEFINE: before the word you need defined. For example, “DEFINE: computer” will give you the definition of the word “computer.”

3. Get exactly what you are looking for.

If your searches turn up results that are too general, try using quotation marks to limit your search to an exact term.

4. Never miss a flight.

Searching my flights will bring up your itinerary for any upcoming trips.

5. I bought what?!

You can track your spending habits by searching my purchases, which will bring up a list of items you have recently purchased. You can also sort this by month by searching “My purchases in December”.

6. This but not that.

The subtraction symbol can be used to exclude certain words from your results. If you want info on Titanic the ship, but not the motion picture of the same name, you should search “Titanic -movie”.

7. Find what you can’t remember.

Can’t remember all the words? No problem! Just substitute asterisks for the words you don’t know, Google will find terms that match the phrase using the asterisks as variables. This is helpful when searching for those song lyrics you only kind of remember.

8. Google, pass the popcorn.

Google keeps a database of every movie and its cast. A search for “movies with Leonardo DiCaprio,” will display all the movies in his acting career.

9. Make it there before they close.

Working late? Google can quickly return the hours of operation for any business with the “hours of operation ___” search term. For example, “hours of operation CVS” returns a map to the nearest CVS, along with their opening and closing times.

10. Predict Mother Nature.

Don’t get stranded without an umbrella! You can get the weather forecast for your area simply by searching weather in the search bar.

11. Just give me the news.

Looking for news stories related to a certain term? By typing news: before your search term you can filter your results to only show news results.

12. Break down language barriers.

Übersetzen ist einfach. Google has a built in translator that is activated by typing translate: before a foreign word or term.
At the time of writing this, Google supports 90 languages.

Bonus: Heads or Tails?

Ask Google to “Flip a coin” and watch as a virtual coin appears in your search results and gets flipped!

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Insert An Animated GIF Into An Email

Animated GIFs are becoming the de facto way to add humor and levity to an email. While it may not be the most professional format, it is quickly gaining popularity in the workplace.

Gmail makes it easy to insert a GIF directly into the body of an email. The quickest method is to simply drag and drop the GIF from your desktop into the compose window. You can also click the paperclip to add the GIF as an attachment and it will display the same way in the email.

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Create An Alias That Automatically Distributes Documents

Do you find yourself sending the same documents everyday to people who forgot where to find them? With this simple trick, collaborators can actually access a file by sending an email.

I would personally recommend creating bookmarks or using search operators to find the frequently used documents. However, after receiving several requests from readers asking if document distribution could be automated within Gmail, I think this method is also pretty amazing.

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Control Which Add-ons Your End Users Install

Third party Add-ons can be a great way for both administrators and end users to get more out of Google Apps. Unfortunately, they can also pose a security risk if the administrator is not controlling which Add-ons are being installed on the domain.

Thanks to a recent update, administrators can not only prevent end users from installing potentially harmful Add-ons but they can also install Add-ons across their entire domain for end users to use. These new security measures allow for total control by the administrator when it comes to Google Apps Add-ons and makes it much easier to create a uniform experience across the domain.

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Split Names Into Two Columns In Google Sheets

Have you ever had a spreadsheet containing a list of names and needed to split them into separate columns for first and last names? You usually would have to write a complex formula to orchestrate such a simple task, but the Split Names add on for Google Sheets removes the need for formulas.

Sorting a spreadsheet of students by last name has never been easier. Just highlight the selection and click split! The add on can even separate middle names, titles, and suffixes.

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I Just Tried The New Chromebook Pixel And I Love It

Enter to win the new Chromebook: 2015 Chromebook Giveaway!

I just got my hands on the newest Chromebook Pixel and it is a big step up from the original Pixel which was released in 2013. For those of you who are new to Chromebooks, the term Chromebook designates a computer running Google’s own operating system, ChromeOS. Most Chromebooks are built by third-party vendors, while the Chromebook Pixel is completely Google from the ground up. Here are some of the improvements I found with this newer model that has been two years in the making.

A New Feel

The first thing I noticed when I took the new Pixel out of the packaging was the weight and feel. The official statistics from Google claim it is the exact same weight as the old Chromebook but it felt heavier. The deceptively heavier feel is likely due to the metal casing on the bottom of the new Chromebook Pixel which feels more solid than the plastic used on the older model. Aside from the difference in materials, the new Chromebook looked essentially the same as the old model.

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Universal Ports

The one other major external difference are the ports on the side of the Pixel. While the 2013 Pixel has two USB 2.0 ports and a Mini DisplayPort, the new model has a much more impressive setup. The 2015 Pixel utilizes USB Type-C Ports (two of them to be exact) which act as a replacement for all other ports. The USB Type-C port can act as a charger, a VGA, a USB, Mini DisplayPort, or an HDMI. These will begin to be the standard in the coming years.

It looks as though Google realized they may be ahead of their time with the USB Type-C, so they also kept the old, standard USB ports (but upgraded them to USB 3.0 ports) to connect devices that have not yet utilized the soon-to-be standard.

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Spacier Keyboard

Opening up the computers, you realize they are nearly identical, aside from the keyboards. The keyboard on the new Pixel has slightly more space, which is really noticeable on the top row of keys. The trackpad is also sunken rather than flush like the older model.

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Way Faster Internals

The really exciting changes with the new Chromebook are not apparent on the surface. What I was most blown away with had nothing to do with the new ports or spacier keyboard, but the fact that this nearly identical looking Chromebook is faster, has more memory, and is more power efficient than its predecessor.

Boasting 8GB of RAM (compared to the original Pixel’s 4GB), the new model has double the memory. By upgrading the CPU from a i5-3337U Processor to the Core i5-5200U, the speed feels like it has doubled and the new processor uses less power, improving battery life.

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More for Less

The icing on the cake is the new Chromebook Pixel, with all its improvements, has a lower starting price than the 2013 version had upon its release. The new Chromebook will start at $999 compared the older Pixel’s starting price of $1299.

For those of you that have also had a chance to try out the new Chromebook Pixel, let me know what you thought in the comments section below!

Enter to win the new Chromebook: 2015 Chromebook Giveaway!

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Create Custom Response Emails For Google Forms

While you can finally add a ton of personalization to Google Forms with custom themes, there still isn’t a native way to customize a confirmation email. This Add-on can help you do just that with quick-and-easy customization.

Using this Add-on, you can create a completely custom email that will be sent to submitters upon completion of a Form. This can be used to add a warm personal touch or a branded thank you note to help your marketing efforts.

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Simple Deployment of 2-Step Verification in Google Apps

2-Step Verification in Google Apps is one of our favorite (if not our #1) security tool available to Google Apps Admins. 2-Step Verification adds an additional layer of security to your domain’s Google Apps accounts, requiring user’s to input a pin number (sent to their mobile phone) whenever they log-in via a new device.

The downside of 2-Step Verification in Google Apps is that Google Apps Admins had to carefully monitor users voluntary enrollment in the program before it was actually enforced. That’s what makes this latest update so exciting.

Now, Google Apps Admins will have the ability to set a 2-Step Verification enforcement date in the future, giving their users a specific amount of time to enroll in the program. Users will be reminded to enroll in 2-Step Verification whenever they sign-in, along with email reminders leading up to the enforcement date.

2-Step Verification

The process for setting up an enforcement date is actually incredibly simple:

1. Access the Google Apps Admin Console and select the Security icon

2. Select Basic Settings then click on the link that says Go to advanced settings to enforce 2-step verification

3. Click the option to Turn on enforcement from date and choose your date

4. You can also click on the enrollment report link to monitor which users have / have not enrolled

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Use These 6 Tips to Become a Google Calendar Gooru

Google Calendar is used by most Google Apps users several times a day. Whether you are scheduling a meeting at work or creating a reminder to pick up your kids from school, it serves as the pulse of your day-to-day scheduling.

Using these 6 tips, you can utilize the full feature set that Google Calendar has to offer. Making a separate calendar for a conference room or embedding a video call in an event invite can drastically increase efficiency and clarity in your life and schedule.

1. Create a conference room scheduler using Calendar Resources


This is an excerpt from How to Create a Resource in Google Calendar.

Do you find yourself lightly knocking on the door of a conference room to check if it is in use? Maybe an awkward peak through the window? Now you never have to leave your desk to check which conference rooms are available.

A Calendar Resource is a shared calendar that represents the usage of a physical object or space. This is commonly used for conference rooms, company vehicles, or even a shared tool such as an office coffee machine. Creating a Calendar Resource is an ideal way to ensure that the shared spaces and tools at your organization are being utilized efficiently.

2. Find a convenient time to meet using the Find a Time tool


This is an excerpt from Find Available Time on your Contact’s Calendar.

Have you ever wanted to schedule an event for a contact’s calendar, but you weren’t sure when they would be available?

After creating an event and adding your contacts and / or resources, you can use the ‘Find a time’ feature to bring up everyone’s schedules side-by-side. This makes it really easy to find available time that works for everyone!

Another great way to view the available time on your contact’s calendar is by subscribing to their calendar.

3. Block out your out of office days using the All Day Event Notifier


This is an excerpt from All Day Event Notifications in Google Calendar.

An All Day event in Google Calendar can be a great way to block off days when you’re out of the office or an important event is happening with a flexible timeframe.

Previously, Google set the All Day event notification time for 5PM the previous day with no option for customizability. Now you can set the notifications for later in the day, the morning of the event or whenever you’d like!

4. Let others know when you can meet by creating Appointment Slots


This is an excerpt from How to Create and Reserve Appointment Slots.

Appointment slots allows users to set aside blocks of time on their calendars where their colleagues, clients or students can reserve specific portions. Each calendar also comes with a unique URL for the appointments page, so it can be easily shared or embedded.

This feature has become especially popular in the education community, where it’s perfect for teachers who want to specify ‘office hours’ on their calendars. A great way for teachers to use this feature is to create a group for all of their students, and invite that group to their appointment slots.

5. Set up the perfect meeting by scheduling an event


This is an excerpt from Create Events, Invite Guests and Email Attendees in Google Calendar.

After you’ve created an event, Google makes it extremely easy to invite people that are important to you. Calendar syncs with your Google Contacts, so you can just start typing their name to quickly add them to an event.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Gmail integration in Google Calendar, you should definitely check it out! One way to make sure that you’ve emailed everyone from a recent event is by sending a message through the actual event.

6. Seamlessly turn your meetings into video conference calls


This is an excerpt from How to add video calls to Google Calendars.

Hangouts, especially when tied with Calendars, is a great way to visually collaborate with people inside and outside your domain.

This feature gives you the ability to add, remove and edit the title of video calls right inside a Calendar event. There are also granular controls for Admins in the Admin Console, allowing you to add / remove this feature for your entire domain or specific OUs.

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