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My Google Apps Journey: The Beginning

I promised you stories, so here’s one. It all started about a year ago when a student tried to print an essay on a school computer using his flash drive. The problem was, the drive had the virus Disk Knight on it.

And then things went crazy.

Pretty soon Disk Knight had infected the majority of computers on campus. While we dealt with the problem, I started thinking that it might be time for a better way.

For too long, our school’s technology had too many moving parts. For example, we used Microsoft Office at school, but students used Works or WordPerfect at home. (This tech divide is typical in urban schools.) Some students ended up spending more time learning about file formats than doing their work. And it left everybody frustrated.

All of this mayhem led me to think about trying out Google Apps Education Edition, which includes free email accounts and collaborative online word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.

The free email got my attention at first. Up until Google Apps, not all of our students had email accounts. If they did, they ran the gamut. How would you like to email a student at pimpdaddy11, babyangel89, or my favorite, xxx_califoneeyas_finest_xxx? The idea of a common, professional email account structure for all students sounded perfect.

But what ultimately got me to sign up for Google Apps was its simple, easy-to-use office applications. I’ll say more in an upcoming post, but it became clear very quickly that Google Apps would solve nearly all of the problems our students were experiencing. No more flash drives. No more viruses. No more anxiety about file formats. No more emailing documents to yourself. And, most important, no more lost work.

With that vision in mind, I began taking steps to make Google Apps a reality at our school.