15 Questions GoogleApps Needs to Answer

At one point I thought there was only reason why Google Apps would make a better VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) in my school over the LA-imposed one.
It just worked.
The teachers got it straight away. Within half an hour of using it, they had produced something collectively of value in the school. The children got it straight away too. In my first lesson with Google Apps, the children learnt a knew skill, created something relevant to the curriculum and shared their work with me within the Google Apps domain. It took 45 minutes, without any painful file management, reminding children exactly where on the server they should save their work. Some of the children followed up at the weekend by continuing their work and sharing improvements with me. Google Apps was, in short, a great learning resource. It still is. As my friend Mark Allen (@edintheclouds) says, it is the iphone of the internet.
Source: Steve Philip, A Growing Argument for GoogleApps in Schools


No matter how wonderful something is, ain't nothing perfect. (smile) 


Thanks to the GCT list of educators who are asking the tough questions about GoogleApps for Education as they try to use it in their teaching and learning situations. Below are a few questions, scenarios that they've encountered and their questions have gone unanswered.


For fun, I've also thrown in some additional questions from technology directors considering adoption of GoogleApps for Education in their State.

UPDATE 12/3/2010: Note that they feature responses from GoogleApps for Education users (Henry Thiele, Jim O'Hagan, iteachag)--thanks for your responses! Goes to show that the power of the GoogleApps community is active and working!
  1. Has anyone seen Google cloud picker as a pop-up when you try to insert a Google Document into at Google Site? It forces you to sign in but then brings you to your regular @gmail.com log in screen (as opposed to the Google Apps domain that I'm already signed into). Result: there is no way to insert docs, images, spreadsheets, etc into a Google Site in our Apps domain.
    Response from Jim O'Hagan: 
    Question 1 means their admin hasn't upgraded to the latest version of apps
  2. Does anyone know how to get rid of "recommended items" in Google Reader? The recommended item for today was not appropriate for my 5th graders and I can't seem to figure out how to delete that feed from Reader.
  3. This year we decided to use Blogger to set up ePortfolios with our students.  Today I tried to set up individual blogs with one class of Grade 4 students.  Unfortunately to set up a blog they needed to enter a cellphone number to get a code, and the students do not have cellphones in school.  I gave the students my phone number and received some messages back with codes, but then I got a message saying that I was only allowed to use my cellphone number  a certain amount of times and after that I had to use a different number. With over 200 students who would like to start working on ePortfolios this is going to be a difficult problem to solve.
  4. We just started using Apps for Ed in my school. Yesterday I had a 4th grade class collaborating, sharing docs in groups of three. The doc was even divided up into 3 sections, so no one was working on the same section in the doc. The problem was this: when they started to type, the text would actually go into the line ABOVE where the cursor was. This caused great confusion and problems.
  5. In GoogleApps for Education, has anyone had problems with Instant & inappropriate suggestions when kids are searching?
  6. For those using GoogleApps for Education, how do you stop students from adding inappropriate gadgets? Will Google be filtering gadgets for use in K-12 education?
    Response from Henry Thiele: for linking to this response to this question.
  7. When will GoogleDocs be able to export to ePub, the standard ebook format for Nooks and iPads?
  8. A teacher has a Google site with her students as contributors, all with usernames. After a few weeks, for some reason a number of entries in the comments section of the webpages and within the blog come up with Unknown even though everyone is known. It is not shared and the unknown entries are coming from the students but the entry is ignoring their username.
  9. A teacher asked me today of there is a way to hide *individual* dates in a calendar. So what she'd like to do, is at the beginning of the week, instead of hiding a *whole* calendar, just hide a couple of dates in that calendar.
    Response from Henry Thiele: 
     I am not completely sure what this question entails, however the Agenda view may accomplish the teacher's wish. http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-3-calendar/chapter-7/1-2
    Follow up response from iteachag in comments: 
    As Henry stated, "I am not completely sure what this question entails" but what I think they might want to do is set the event that they do not want to show as private. Leave the other events as public. When they want to show them, turn them back to public. This will not make the event disappear but others will only see the event as free/busy. http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-3-calendar/chapter-4/1-3
  10. Which is better, GoogleApps for Education or MS LIVE ?
  11. Is it possible to insert GoogleDocs Draw documents into Google Sites wiki pages easily?
    Response from Henry Thiele: 
    http://sites.google.com/site/mori79/html-gadgets/how-tos/embed-docs#drawings
  12. This year we decided to use Blogger to set up ePortfolios with our students.  Today I tried to set up individual blogs with one class of Grade 4 students.  Unfortunately to set up a blog they needed to enter a cellphone number to get a code, and the students do not have cellphones in school.  I gave the students my phone number and received some messages back with codes, but then I got a message saying that I was only allowed to use my cellphone number  a certain amount of times and after that I had to use a different number. With over 200 students who would like to start working on ePortfolios this is going to be a difficult problem to solve.
  13. I am working with an individual who has the following problem involving spreadsheets, sharing, and sheet protection. Here is what happens is 1)  I create a google doc and add a bunch of people to it with edit access. 2)  For each sheet in the workbook, I set the option of who can edit "Me and the following collaborators" and then picked who was able to actually edit each tab.  Clicked the "Done" (or Finish or Save...whatever it says) on the Protect Sheet pop-up. 3)  Saved it (actually it auto saved) 4)  Closed. All seemed to be fine until I needed to add new people to the document.  When I did steps 2 & 3, when I click the Save button to close the dialog box, it does NOT save my changes.  So any new changes I needed to make for protection on a sheet are not sticking. This seems to be a common problem for a TON of people.  The link in this email chain is from Google's forums saying "we're aware and working on it".  But I'm not sure when this will get resolved.
  14. Seems like what I read said Google + Postini was 66% off for the first year only. Does anyone know for sure if the price goes up after that first year?
    Response from Henry Thiele: 
    If you sign up before December 31, 2010 Message Security is free - for the duration of your 4 year agreement - (not just for 1 year). There are no details released about the plan after that point, but I have been told that Google understands how important this is to K-12 schools.
  15. Anyone have any good deployment resources for Google apps?
    Response from Henry Thiele: 
    EDU Specialists: http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/search?categoryId=26&orderBy=rating

    Deployment Specialists:
    http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/search?categoryId=13&orderBy=rating

    We have used SADA Systems with great success.





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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

Comments

Henry Thiele said…
Answer to # 6
http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-5-sites/chapter-5/4-2
Henry Thiele said…
#14 - if you sign up before December 31, 2010 Message Security is free - for the duration of your 4 year agreement - (not just for 1 year). There are no details released about the plan after that point, but I have been told that Google understands how important this is to K-12 schools.
Henry Thiele said…
#9 - I am not completely sure what this question entails, however the Agenda view may accomplish the teacher's wish. http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-3-calendar/chapter-7/1-2
Henry Thiele said…
#11 http://sites.google.com/site/mori79/html-gadgets/how-tos/embed-docs#drawings
Henry Thiele said…
#15

EDU Specialists: http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/search?categoryId=26&orderBy=rating

Deployment Specialists:
http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/search?categoryId=13&orderBy=rating

We have used SADA Systems with great success.
Miguel Guhlin said…
via Twitter -

jimohagan: @mguhlin questions 3&12 are the same. Question 1 means their admin hasn't upgraded to the latest version of apps
iteachag said…
#9 - As Henry stated, "I am not completely sure what this question entails" but what I think they might want to do is set the event that they do not want to show as private. Leave the other events as public. When they want to show them, turn them back to public. This will not make the event disappear but others will only see the event as free/busy. http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-3-calendar/chapter-4/1-3
Miguel Guhlin said…
No answers to question #3, the one about the cell phone requirement. It's popped up on email listservs.

Hmm....

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