GoogleApps for Education - Questions Answered

Tough to catch fast-moving Danny Silva in a photo! Read his blog and more images online

Listen to Danny Silva
responding to Karen's Questions

During the TCEA 2010 Conference, I had a chance to chat with Karen from Spring Branch ISD in Texas on her district's use of GoogleApps for Education (Read and Listen: "Into the Guts of GoogleApps for Education"). She had a chance to listen to the podcast we recorded and shared some questions in an email as a follow-up to our conversation.

I've pretty much pondered those questions for some time, but then, today at Google Teacher Academy for Administrators, I had the chance to put the questions to Danny Silva. He responded quickly since he was due to present in moments...I really appreciate his being so open and sharing about responding.

Below are the complete questions Karen asked me via email. I encourage GoogleApps for Education school districts to share THEIR responses in the comments, or via a link to your audio/video/text response.

While we're waiting for the audio of Danny Silva, I ran into Kern Kelley and he responded...below are my notes:

#1 – We were not able to figure out how to remove the “add stuff” link to all the widgets (many of which were inappropriate) on the start page. So, we inactivated their page and created one of our own. However, it doesn’t model an iGoogle start page like the original one, and I think it would be good to model the real world and offer some of the widgets to our students. Do you know how to solve that? 
Response to Question #1: Kern suggests that you need to double-check and ensure that you have the Education Edition. He is absolutely sure you can do this. Once that happens, you only see what you approve to appear. As I recall from Danny Silva's, Danny recommends you make the Sites (wiki) web site the default start location.
#2 – We have two domains as I understand it – one for students and one for teachers. The teacher domain actually ties into our Outlook accounts ( and the student domain is different ( the issue is when teachers create forms for quizzes or when they want students to login to complete the form (say for a quiz) they cannot as the teacher must restrict it to domain users. Do you know how to resolve this?
Response to Question #2 - Kern's response to this one was to use GoogleForms. No matter what domain you are in, you can aggregate data using a GoogleForm. Some worry that you have to have two accounts for teachers--one for the teacher domain, one for the students--but Kern's suggestion is excellent.
#3 – Students have formatting issues with documents. I haven’t been able to duplicate their issue so I’m trying to figure out if it could be a printer setting. Evidently the preview doesn’t reflect the way the document actually prints. In many cases, a return is inserted at the end of each line of text even when students and teachers assure me they didn’t not insert them.
Response to Question #3 - Kern's response was essentially, no easy answer for this one. People's computers differ--for example, in types of fonts--so we should expect this kind of variability in document formatting. If you want something that is going to do definite layout--like a flyer or newsletter--you'll have to rely on a dedicated program like Pages (Mac) or Publisher (Windows).

Kern also suggested we check Matt Montaigne's web site on making the transition to GoogleDocs. He cautions making promises about what GoogleDoc can or cannot do.

Listen to Danny Silva
responding to Karen's Questions

On a slightly different angle, Danny Silva did a great job of sharing GoogleCalendar tips and tricks in his session.

View his session materials

One of the tips includes multiple calendars displayed on a "one page." This means multiple calendars=divided responsibilities. Craig Nansen (GTAdmin participant) pointed out that he has folks looking at $3000 solution when it would be just as easy to go with GoogleCalendars.

You can also setup resources for your school, add resources to an event, etc.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


rmeyners said…
There IS some difficulty with sharing between domains or from a "public" account to an "Education" account, at least when a Single Sign-On Integration is part of the mix. Not sure if that is what the SpringBranchers are referring to in question #2 but if so, here are a couple of suggestions:
One - share it as a public web-page (with an option to embed it in Moodle or other html venue).
Two - if the target audience from a separate enterprise can only login to their Ed Edition account through Single Sign-On integration, alter the URL of the publicly shared document to reflect this (see ). Otherwise they are given a normal "public" GAPPS login form that will never accept their SSO credentials. This is a work-around that will hopefully be rendered un-necessary when Google corrects(?) the glitch.
Kyle Brumbaugh said…

The best answer is what Kern gave you, plus one more issue. The printer that is used also has a lot to do with how certain documents come out in Google Docs.

Some printers have fewer lines vertically when printing in particular fonts with different font sizes. Also, Google Docs defaults to a 10 point font, while most other applications and printers are set up for a default 10 point font. It is also advisable to use the print preview and the insert page break to decrease the chance that Google Apps will change around the formatting.

Glad to hear that you had a good time at #GTAdmin.

Looking forward to having you as part of the GCT group.

Kyle B.
GCT - Bay Area '06 & '08

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