Friday, January 15, 2010

Lubec: Google Applications for Education

I spent yesterday at the Lubec School with Ed Latham and Dawn Fernandez in an initial training for using their new Google Apps for Education network. Lubec has 1-to-1 laptops for grades 5-12 and now is focusing intensely on providing the necessary professional development. Dawn, the regional mentor for Downeast, will be doing at least 5 additional sessions this year with the whole staff on helping leverage this hardware to be optimally used in meeting the school's learning goals. She'll also work with teachers in their classrooms to assist in the process of integrating with classroom goals.

By the way, the people at Lubec School are incredibly welcoming, friendly, caring, and enthusiastic. I love small schools! :)

Being a user of the many excellent Google tools, but not having seen the special "Educators" version that allows local administration, I probably learned as much as I taught, thanks to expertise of Ed, Dawn, and Larry (the amiable and extremely helpful local technical guy). I was impressed at the incredible free opportunities in this package for school systems. I drove 4 1/2 hours home to Western Maine wondering why all schools didn't make use of this user-friendly and powerful set of tools. With their well-integrated web applications, the good people at Google have done away with the clunkiness of many of the learning environments that I've experienced . They have done away with much of the top-down control issues and put the ubiquitous system directly in the hands of teachers and principals. Why would anyone use anything else?

What other Maine SAU's are using this in their school?







See Google Applications at LIM Resources


Google Apps for Education

4 comments:

SHANNA WHEELOCK said...

It was a top-notch workshop for all of us at Lubec Consolidated.

Thanks!

I'm looking forward to the next session in february!

Shanna

Dawn said...

Jim:
It was a pleasure to work with you and Ed. I completely agree that the staff and faculty are wonderful and I can't wait to see the end results after the remaining trainings.

Ed Latham said...

Almost 20 years ago I worked for a few years Down East. I delivered potato chips to all of the many small stores that dot the area. Driving in and out of the area for this training I was happy to see the beauty of the area was still there, but the ghost town like shells of all the stores were crumbling. The structures may be crumbling, but the strength of the people we had the pleasure of working with is alive and well. As our State's remote locations loose more and more, the skills and ability of it's people adapt and survive in unique ways. This group will use that ability to adapt to the opportunities that technology provide their children in interesting ways. I can't wait to see the results. Each of our areas of the state have different flavors, and I am grateful we were able to share a taste of Lubec and I look forward to seeing what is on the menu as time goes by.

Ryan said...

At MSAD #72 (Fryeburg and surrounding towns), we started a district-wide Google Apps for Education last summer. I had used a private domain to provide Google Apps to my 6th graders last year, and I am thrilled that the district embraced this amazing set of tools.

The challenge I am presently facing is how to best use the technology to connect the different schools in our district. I received a grant to purchase building sets of headsets with microphones to layer with the Google technology. Students can at different schools can, for example, use iChat to talk over the internet while collaborating on a single document in Google Docs. The next step is building an infrastructure to promote collaboration and showcase student-created work.

Does any one have any tips about using Google Apps to connect distant classrooms? I set up a district-wide web site to try to make connecting interested teachers easier (classroom.msad72.k12.me.us) but am struggling somewhat to get teachers on board. I'd love to hear others' experiences.

Thanks!