Friday, September 26, 2014

Troubleshooting In a BYOD-Google Apps Classroom: Lessons From the Fire Swamp!

Yesterday, I had a chance to help some of our 6th grade students set up folders in Google Drive and share those folders with their teacher. It took a bit longer than I expected, but for the most part, the kids did a great job. Still, when I was done, I felt like I had survived this scene from one of my favorite movies!


In The Princess Bride, Wesley and Buttercup learned three lessons on how to survive in "The Fire Swamp." Hopefully, surviving in a classroom isn't like surviving the Fire Swamp, but here were the lessons I learned that may help you when teaching in a BYOD classroom with Google Apps for Education!

Lesson 1: Students Didn't Bring Their Device
Fortunately, we have a supply of laptops and Chromebooks available for students to check out for the day if they come unprepared. Our goal is to help students come prepared every day with a fully charged device, but some days, they forget. Having extras allows them to still take part in Digital Age Learning.

Lesson 2: Personal Google Accounts
Often students will not be able to access the files we know they should. Most likely, this is because they are logged in to a personal G-mail account. We try to remind students that their Google Apps for Education account is their "professional account," that needs to be used when working on school related activities. Given that many have G-mail accounts, it can be difficult, and often they forget to switch. By checking in the upper right corner to see which account they are logged into, you can help them get to the right one and get on task.

Lesson 3: Google Apps on an iOS device
One of the students in class was trying to utilize her iPad as her primary tool. Using Safari in the mobile version of Google Apps did not allow her to complete the tasks as easily, and she quickly got behind. While I think the iPad is a great tool, with many redeeming qualities, it doesn't always play well with Google Apps. In our eLearning2 initiative, our minimum requirement is a device that will run the Chrome browser. Those who choose to use an iPad, do so with the understanding that they need to be able to figure out a workflow within our ecosystem.

Hopefully these three lessons will help with troubleshooting as we move forward. I chose to leave out the fourth issue I dealt with, the parent who locked down the child's computer so that they couldn't get to Google Apps. I'll leave that one for another post...



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