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Creating A Cloud-Based Culture & Google Apps Stores Explained

This blog post accompanies my presentation at the Vermont Google Summit 2014
#GIEsummit

The world is changing from the local to the cloud.  Now how do you get there?   Some people have said that businesses will never adopt the cloud completely, but take a look at the below video.  The world wide culture is in flux and ultimately the efficiency of the cloud will take over.



What are some things we need to do?

Step 1: Realize that Microsoft Office is not needed!  ~ Everyone, including myself has to admit that Microsoft Office is a great program with many features that are hard to find in web-based applications.  That said the collaborative nature of Google Apps (or even MS's web office) out weight many of the fancy features offered in locally installed applications.

Step 2: Look for web-based alternatives! ~ It is important to never stop familiarizing yourself with alternatives.  You need to look, even if you figure out that your current method is still the best.  More on this below.

Step 3: Stop printing! ~ But don't force a paperless classroom.  Having a paperless classroom is not a directive, but more of an indicator, and welcome side effect, that many teachers should experience when effectively engaging students in the 1:1 environment.

Step 4: Think collaboratively! ~ This is where pedagogy meets the cloud and the best reason to create a cloud based culture in your school.

Step 5: Force yourself! ~ Making the switch to a cloud-based culture means taking the time to figure out the differences.  It is easy to just do it the old way, but important that you stick with it.


Look for web-based alternatives! 

Looking for alternatives can be a challenge if you don't know where to look.  Luckily Google has created several app stores that nicely categorizes many options out there.  However there are several and each have their own purpose.

~ Designed to be the app store for the Chrome browser, however many of the links from the App section are just url's to webpages that can be accessed from any computer. 
~ Domain administrators can distribute these to Chromebooks.
  • Apps:  These show up as icons in the Chrome browser new tab page, or in the Chrome start menu. Some of the apps integrate with Google Docs and will show up when you click "Create".
  • Extensions: These only work with the Chrome browser but add many new features.  Each user must sign into the browser itself, which is different then logging into Google Apps.   
  • Themes: Different themes for the Chrome browser.

  • These are only installed by Domain Administrators.
  • These are tools that the school would decide to launch for specific groups like all students.
  • Installed apps from here will show up in the same menu that includes the Google Tools by your log on name, when you click "More".

3. Google Play: https://play.google.com/
~ Primarily designed for Android tablets, however the books, movies, and music sections will work on any device.

  • Android Apps (Android Only)
  • Books (All devices): This is where you can look to find Textbooks.
  • Movies & TV (All devices):
  • Newsstand  (All devices): 
  • Music (All devices):

4. Add-ons: Open a Document or Spreadsheet => Add-ons => Get add-ons
~ Add-ons add functionality to either Documents or Spreadsheets.  For example my gClassFolders spreadsheet add-on will automatically create student assignment folders for teachers.   There are other add-ons for mail merges, and even Avery labels. 


What are some great apps?

Here are some top edu app resources that you should explore.