It’s that time of year! Before we know it, school will be out for summer vacation. By the final bell, classrooms worldwide will have reviewed new technology to make the 2016-2017 academic year the very best it can be. If you’re among the many who have decided to move to Google Apps for Education (GAFE), you’re probably knee-deep in planning for a smooth migration over to the software. Well, don’t sweat it! We’re here to help with six steps that will make your GAFE migration planning a breeze–just in time for summer.
Step 1: Take It to the Top
Whenever something changes within an organization, pushback often occurs. A handful of less than enthusiastic folks are to be expected. Much of this is due to lack of communication or fear of change. The best way to begin is to thoroughly present your migration plan to the leaders at your school. Once you’ve received their endorsement, communicating this change to your colleagues will be much easier.
Step 2: Slow and Steady Wins the (Migration) Race
If you’ve already decided to switch over to GAFE, you’re off to a great start. Say you decided to start your migration in June…you might not be so successful. It’s best to present your plan to the staff before they break for summer. Present them with what will be changing, so it’s less of a shock when they’re back in September. From there, you can start setting up the domain. Once school is in session, have some pre-scheduled sessions for your staff to walk them through the applications. Training staff on one application at a time is often most successful.
Step 3: Hands-On Learning
Working in education, you’re probably well-versed in the effectiveness of hands-on learning. Like your student counterparts, the same strategy works for teachers as well. Putting your staff face-to-face with the applications as often as possible is the best way to promote adoption. This can be as simple as sending around Google Forms. Teachers may not even realize they’re using the technology when filling out the form, but it will become second nature! If you’re setting up a training session, use Google Calendar–this action will have the same effect. Immersing them in bits and pieces of the technology is an approach that feels less forced, and will help using GAFE come naturally to your teachers.
Step 4: Communicate, Collaborate, Repeat
Communication cannot stop post-migration. Technology is always evolving, so your communication should be continuous. No matter how tech-savvy your teachers may be, keeping them in the loop on any and all GAFE updates is a must. Another perk to keeping your techiest of teachers well-versed in GAFE is their ability to serve as internal resources for their colleagues. They are your in-house Google Guides. With their help, IT will actually have a lighter workload when it comes to GAFE training in the long run.
Step 5: Win Over the Naysayers
It’s unlikely that everyone will be “all smiles” throughout the migration. People will become doubtful, frustrated, and downright negative. The key to stamping out this negativity is to really get into the GAFE trenches with those people and give them a little extra guidance. Schedule some one-on-one time or group tutoring sessions with individuals who seem to be at the same level of frustration. Once they understand the applications, the less they’ll have to fear. Before long, they will be more confident with the technology and you’ll experience far less resistance. Knowledge is power, so empower your users and they’ll have a better experience!
Step 6: Give Some Google Props!
Give credit to those teachers who have jumped into GAFE head first, making extra efforts to learn the technology and transform into your in-house power users. Praise them in public! This is a fantastic way to encourage others to do the same. Send periodic messages to your users about successful milestones. Give accolades to your Google Guides; they’ve earned it. Reward the users who have set up the most meetings using Google Calendar. Have a user that sent out multiple Google Forms? Recognize them. These small successes are part of the greater acceptance and adoption of GAFE.
Migrating to GAFE may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Give yourself enough time to plan and present it properly. Once you’ve achieved the early stage successes, you can build out your ongoing management plan. As your users become more comfortable with the technology, the overall management will become less time-consuming. Now that you’ve got everything you need…ready, set, migrate!
For more best practices and actionable templates from seasoned GAFE experts who have been through it all, check out the free eBook, “The Ultimate Google Apps for Education Migration Kit.”