Reflection of Our First Staff Google Drive Training

On Monday, Compton JHS fellow teachers and I began the Initial Tech Training  as part of our Lightspeed Amazing Things Grant. If I am truly honest, I stumbled in the beginning. I over complicated the beginning tasks, one of which was corrected by my friend and colleague, Mr. J.

The SMARTboard in our new computer lab was not completely installed. Wires and cables covered the wall. What was my solution? Cover the bulging area with white butcher paper. And, his solution?

"Why don't you shine the projector onto the whiteboard?"

I shook my head, smiled, and moved the stand-alone projector 2 feet to the left.

Even though I had a rough start (this was my first Google Drive training I have given and I'm self taught) my colleagues were understanding and soon I was on a roll. I treated my adult students like my own junior high school students - with respect and patience.

What helped make the training successful was a combination of many things: (1) an excellent staff, (2) an introduction to logging in and navigating around our new school Google Drive accounts on the first contract day of the year, and (3) a team of Admin/Office staff who have been emailing Google Docs, Slides, and Forms to teachers everyday this last week. Since our teachers have had this exposure, Monday was simply an explanation on how our Admin/Office staff have been creating, editing, and sending these files.

One more item made Monday's training easier - our Office staff did not print our School Handbook this year - everything is in Google Drive folders, which were created with gClassFolders. If a teacher wanted to view the bell schedule? Well, he must open it in Compton JHS View -> Compton JHS Handbook -> 02 Schedules.

For the first 30 minutes of the 2-hour training, the teachers were noisy. We edited a common document, an activity I would do with students in the beginning just to prove that I can track all changes: The teachers wrote sentences, answered questions, and playfully deleted each other's work (without me saying a word) - much like our JHS students would do. Then I showed them how to click "Last Edited" to see the revision history. One of my good friends claimed that she was innocent - that she had not deleted everyone's work - but I smiled and proved that she had. Ha! Caught ya!

And then, the class of adults students began playing with the tools. They found the translation tool, which led us to Add-ons. Now our teachers were rolling. P.E. teachers played with clip art. History and science teachers played with the translator add-on. The art teacher played with drawing add-ons. When I asked if anyone wanted a break, they said no. I called a break 10 minutes later because I needed some ice water.

Next a science teacher specifically asked about students sharing their work with her. Her Project Lead the Way students were already starting presentations. I taught the teachers the easiest method - have students create a folder that is Shared with the teacher's email as "Edit" and Change "Specific People Can Access" to "People at [school district's name] with a Link Can View." Students would place all of their work in this folder.

Because our students have a closed Google Drive system, they will not have the ability to share their work with anyone outside our school district. I explained that students would then attach the document to a My Big Campus Discussion or Schoolwork (to be discussed on Wednesday). Any teacher wanting to set up gClassFolders could talk to me privately.

The quietest period was during introduction to Slides. Even our non-techie colleagues wanted to learn how to edit the Master Slide with their own background, fonts, and images. Our teachers, admin, and one aide just played and created. I ran around answering their individual questions.

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday is our initial 6-hour training. Two hours each day we will learn How-Tos, but I promised my colleagues that our 25 continued trainings, which will be a combination of Face-to-Face and Flex Trainings, will not be as overwhelming. My vision includes giving a 10-15 minute How-To followed by 45 minutes of creating, reviewing, and evaluating/scoring student work - work that educators would typically do at home by themselves for free.

Once teachers feel comfortable collaborating with each other in Google Drive and My Big Campus, they can choose to take the next step - use both web applications with their students. Our continued training will be creating/reviewing/evaluating lessons and student work under the guidance of a trainer and with the help of our colleagues.

At the end of the first day of initial training, I feel good. Even our so-called "non-techie" teachers learned something new that they can apply to teacher collaboration and their students. Our first day was good, but our second day of training will be even better.

Maybe our computer lab SMARTboard will be installed by then . . .


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