Lowering barriers to technology adoption: three tips from City Schools of Decatur

Editor’s note: Schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors for the ExploreEDU event series, which invites neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. Today’s guest author is Eston Melton, Director of Technology from City Schools of Decatur in Decatur, GA. The district hosted an event on February 22 at Google’s Atlanta office with their partner Promevo.

At City Schools of Decatur, we believe that technology should feel like an instinctive part of teaching and learning. Since adopting G Suite for Education in 2015 and Chromebooks in 2016, we’ve focused on making it as easy as possible for teachers and students to use new technology. Here are our main takeaways for lowering barriers to integrating technology:

1. Anticipate future needs

Four years ago, our fourth graders were issued one-to-one tablets. As these students approached eighth grade, our middle school’s leadership wanted to transition them to a device that would be easier to maintain while still meeting the requirements of our students’ learning; Chromebooks were identified as the solution. But after we deployed Chromebooks, we realized that we could have expanded the device vetting process district-wide to identify good fits for lower and higher grade levels at the same time. For instance, some elementary schools were keen to add Chromebooks, but needed a different type of Chromebook to fit smaller learners. To help us better anticipate such needs in the future, we’re creating a diverse team of IT staff, teachers, students and parents to standardize how we vet services and devices for all corners of our instructional program. This team will ensure that we can support successful initiatives that others could adopt down the road—not only for devices, but also the critical training and ongoing support needed to get the most from them.

2. Create clear access policies for teachers and students

Being thoughtful about how files and other materials are shared between students, teachers and administrators is critical. In one of my previous districts, students and staff initially had separate G Suite domains, which meant teachers and students struggled to share materials with each other. We avoided this issue at City Schools of Decatur because we set up both students and staff on a single G Suite domain, and our IT department created G Suite organizational units for staff and students that made setting different levels of permissions easy. That ease of sharing also meant that it was important to train staff on being deliberate with their sharing permissions in Drive. Comfort with Drive has allowed many of our teachers to use Google Classroom to share materials and assignments.

CitySchools_Decatur_teacher.png
Students using Chromebooks for online coursework guided by their teacher in the background. Photo credit: Katie Meyer.

3. Encourage experimentation in the classroom

We encourage students and teachers to experiment with technology so they can learn what works best for their own styles and needs. G Suite for Education lets students try new presentation styles by giving them access to collaborative tools such as Sheets and Slides. Students can also reach audiences beyond their peers by sharing their work with the public on channels such as our 3ten Convergence Media’s YouTube channel or our English students’ creative writing Blogger sites.

Students aren’t the only ones who experiment—we see staff use Google tools to implement quick improvements in their work as well. For example, when it was time for students to select their courses, our staff recognized that our course selection site featuring static PDFs was not user-friendly. Using Google Sites, our staff was able to rapidly implement several cycles of feedback to create an improved site, made better with an instructional video and cleaner layout.

Over the past few years, we’ve learned that technology adoption requires a balance of careful planning and open-mindedness. We believe this mindset is key to our district’s long-term success, and to the success of our students.

A technological Renaissance for cultural institutions

Editor’s Note: Last week in Florence, we joined the Uffizi Galleries for a two-day summit to discuss the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital age. In this post, Eike Schmidt, the Director of the Uffizi Galleries, shares his thoughts on how technology can enable access to cultural heritage. You can explore over 70 masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Uffizi Galleries on Google Arts & Culture, including the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli in ultra-high resolution.

People’s ability to access cultural heritage in the future will rely on technology, and on our ability to work together across disciplines.

Last week in Florence we hosted Digital Meets Culture, a two-day summit organized in partnership with Google. We welcomed leaders of cultural institutions, academics, representatives of UNESCO, the European Commission and national governments from 23 countries. Together we discussed the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital age, as well as the potential digital technology offers for the cultural sector to grow. These discussions are reflected in a paper titled “Recommendation for the future of digital and culture” which you can read here in full.

Digital Meets Culture Global Summit
Participants of the Digital Meets Culture Global Summit. Credit: Luca Parisse

The recommendation highlights the importance of digital tools and skills cultural institutions need to share their riches with an even wider audience and allow everyone to explore the world’s cultural heritage. Our  commitment to preserve culture in all its forms with the latest available technology is crucial, so that often fragile pieces of heritage can continue to be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

In today’s global world, more than ever, it is critical to embrace the diversity of our social and cultural identities. And technology can help us in our work protecting this diversity. Digital platforms are undoubtedly powerful tools in nurturing mutual understanding across cultures.

As one of the first partner museums of Google Arts & Culture, it was my honor to host the meetings in Florence, engage in the discussions and be part of the first Digital Meets Culture Summit. I hope some of these findings will serve as basis for further discussions on technology and culture. What is clear to me is that by working collaboratively, across disciplines, we can move a step closer towards making arts and culture universally accessible. I believe that it is through harnessing the latest technology and combining that with our love of culture will bring about a Renaissance for our institutions for the benefit of all who care about our cultures.

About the author: Dr Eike Schmidt was appointed Director of the Uffizi Galleries in 2015. Born in 1968 in Freiburg (Germany), he is an art historian and international expert in Florentine art. Former curator and researcher at among others, National Gallery of Art in Washington, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, he was the Director of the Department of European Sculpture & Works of Art at Sotheby’s, London.

What do productivity, machine learning and next generation teams have in common? Google Cloud Next ‘17.

On March 8-10, Google will host one its largest events ever — Google Cloud Next 2017. In the last year, the Google Cloud team has introduced some new products and solutions to help businesses face some of their biggest productivity problems. Next is our way of bringing together customers and partners under one roof to see the results of all these updates. That includes the latest cloud innovations and more than 200 sessions, where you can check out new products and features firsthand.

While I applaud anyone who figures out a way to attend all 200, there are a few sessions that you should definitely see if you want ideas to help boost your team’s productivity.

One that comes to mind is the Building stronger teams with team-based functionality session. Think about when you work on a project at home. Now think about how you work on a project at work. Do you find that your work’s success depends on a team of people rather than one person? Most would say yes. Yet, historically, productivity tools have focused on helping individuals get more done — like how you manage your inbox or tackle your to-do list. Since we rely on teams to successfully complete tasks, we need tools to help that group be more productive as a whole. It’s a new concept, and I’m excited that this session will share some of the early work that we’re doing to move beyond individual productivity to, instead, use technology to help entire teams achieve more.

Businesses hear all the time about how machine learning can have a positive impact, and many are interested to see how they can achieve that same impact for their companies. Fortunately, Google has always been at the forefront of machine learning technologies like computer vision, predictive modeling, natural language processing and speech recognition.

To that end, I recommend checking out Machine learning powering the workforce: Explore in Google Docs to see how machine learning in G Suite can instantly help you tackle everyday tasks and complex business challenges with the click of a button. Then, follow that up with Introduction to Google Cloud Machine Learning to learn how you can build your very own custom business applications on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Whether it’s using the Sheets API to give project managers using Asana a way to do deeper comparison of their projects, or using the Slides API to create a deck in Slides from a Trello board in just one click, the ways in which our customers and partners are automating their processes using G Suite APIs are impressive (and growing). The APIs we’re building across G Suite, as part of the larger Cloud platform, are being tailored to solve the most common business flows and the Automating internal processes using Apps Script and APIs for Docs editors session shows how some folks are already using Apps Script to make their internal processes hum.

These are the sessions that excite me, but you can find the sessions that excite you in the full Next ’17 agenda. And if you’re wondering, you can still register. Grab your spot and I’ll see you there!

What do productivity, machine learning and next generation teams have in common? Google Cloud Next ‘17.

On March 8-10, Google will host one its largest events ever — Google Cloud Next 2017. In the last year, the Google Cloud team has introduced some new products and solutions to help businesses face some of their biggest productivity problems. Next is our way of bringing together customers and partners under one roof to see the results of all these updates. That includes the latest cloud innovations and more than 200 sessions, where you can check out new products and features firsthand.

While I applaud anyone who figures out a way to attend all 200, there are a few sessions that you should definitely see if you want ideas to help boost your team’s productivity.

One that comes to mind is the Building stronger teams with team-based functionality session. Think about when you work on a project at home. Now think about how you work on a project at work. Do you find that your work’s success depends on a team of people rather than one person? Most would say yes. Yet, historically, productivity tools have focused on helping individuals get more done — like how you manage your inbox or tackle your to-do list. Since we rely on teams to successfully complete tasks, we need tools to help that group be more productive as a whole. It’s a new concept, and I’m excited that this session will share some of the early work that we’re doing to move beyond individual productivity to, instead, use technology to help entire teams achieve more.

Businesses hear all the time about how machine learning can have a positive impact, and many are interested to see how they can achieve that same impact for their companies. Fortunately, Google has always been at the forefront of machine learning technologies like computer vision, predictive modeling, natural language processing and speech recognition.

To that end, I recommend checking out Machine learning powering the workforce: Explore in Google Docs to see how machine learning in G Suite can instantly help you tackle everyday tasks and complex business challenges with the click of a button. Then, follow that up with Introduction to Google Cloud Machine Learning to learn how you can build your very own custom business applications on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Whether it’s using the Sheets API to give project managers using Asana a way to do deeper comparison of their projects, or using the Slides API to create a deck in Slides from a Trello board in just one click, the ways in which our customers and partners are automating their processes using G Suite APIs are impressive (and growing). The APIs we’re building across G Suite, as part of the larger Cloud platform, are being tailored to solve the most common business flows and the Automating internal processes using Apps Script and APIs for Docs editors session shows how some folks are already using Apps Script to make their internal processes hum.

These are the sessions that excite me, but you can find the sessions that excite you in the full Next ’17 agenda. And if you’re wondering, you can still register. Grab your spot and I’ll see you there!

Shielding you from Potentially Harmful Applications

Earlier this month, we shared an overview of the ways we keep you safe, on Google and on the web, more broadly. Today, we wanted to specifically focus on one element of Android security—Potentially Harmful Applications—highlighting fraudsters’ common tactics, and how we shield you from these threats.

PHA_SecurityIllustration.png

Potentially Harmful Applications,” or PHAs, are Android applications that could harm you or your device, or do something unintended with the data on your device. Some examples of PHA badness include:

  • Backdoors: Apps that let hackers control your device, giving them unauthorized access to your data.
  • Billing fraud: Apps that charge you in an intentionally misleading way, like premium SMS scams or call scams.
  • Spyware: Apps that collect personal information from your device without consent
  • Hostile Downloads: Apps that download harmful programs, often through bundling with another program
  • Trojan Apps: Apps that appear benign (e.g., a game that claims only to be a game) but actually perform undesirable actions.
PHA_illustration.png

As we described in the Safer Internet post, we have a variety of automated systems that help keep you safe on Android, starting with Verify Apps—one of our key defenses against PHAs.

Verify Apps is a cloud-based service that proactively checks every application prior to install to determine if the application is potentially harmful, and subsequently rechecks devices regularly to help ensure they’re safe. Verify Apps checks more than 6 billion installed applications and scans around 400 million devices per day. If Verify Apps detects a PHA before you install it or on your device if, it will prompt you to remove the app immediately.

Testapp.png

Sometimes, Verify Apps will remove an application without requiring you to confirm the removal. This is an action we’ll take very rarely, but if a PHA is purely harmful, has no possible benefit to users, or is  impossible for you to remove on your own, we’ll zap it automatically. Ongoing protection from Verify Apps has ensured that in 2015, over 99 percent of all Android devices were free of known PHAs.

Verify Apps is just one of many protections we’ve instituted on Android to keep billions of people and devices safe. Just as PHAs are constantly evolving their tactics, we’re constantly improving our protections. We’ll continue to take action when we have the slightest suspicion that something might not be right. And we’re committed to educating and protecting people from current and future security threats—on mobile and online in general.

Be sure to check if Verify Apps is enabled on your Android device, and stay clear from harmful apps by only installing from a trusted source.

Shielding you from Potentially Harmful Applications

Earlier this month, we shared an overview of the ways we keep you safe, on Google and on the web, more broadly. Today, we wanted to specifically focus on one element of Android security—Potentially Harmful Applications—highlighting fraudsters’ common tactics, and how we shield you from these threats.

PHA_SecurityIllustration.png

Potentially Harmful Applications,” or PHAs, are Android applications that could harm you or your device, or do something unintended with the data on your device. Some examples of PHA badness include:

  • Backdoors: Apps that let hackers control your device, giving them unauthorized access to your data.
  • Billing fraud: Apps that charge you in an intentionally misleading way, like premium SMS scams or call scams.
  • Spyware: Apps that collect personal information from your device without consent
  • Hostile Downloads: Apps that download harmful programs, often through bundling with another program
  • Trojan Apps: Apps that appear benign (e.g., a game that claims only to be a game) but actually perform undesirable actions.
PHA_illustration.png

As we described in the Safer Internet post, we have a variety of automated systems that help keep you safe on Android, starting with Verify Apps—one of our key defenses against PHAs.

Verify Apps is a cloud-based service that proactively checks every application prior to install to determine if the application is potentially harmful, and subsequently rechecks devices regularly to help ensure they’re safe. Verify Apps checks more than 6 billion installed applications and scans around 400 million devices per day. If Verify Apps detects a PHA before you install it or on your device if, it will prompt you to remove the app immediately.

Testapp.png

Sometimes, Verify Apps will remove an application without requiring you to confirm the removal. This is an action we’ll take very rarely, but if a PHA is purely harmful, has no possible benefit to users, or is  impossible for you to remove on your own, we’ll zap it automatically. Ongoing protection from Verify Apps has ensured that in 2015, over 99 percent of all Android devices were free of known PHAs.

Verify Apps is just one of many protections we’ve instituted on Android to keep billions of people and devices safe. Just as PHAs are constantly evolving their tactics, we’re constantly improving our protections. We’ll continue to take action when we have the slightest suspicion that something might not be right. And we’re committed to educating and protecting people from current and future security threats—on mobile and online in general.

Be sure to check if Verify Apps is enabled on your Android device, and stay clear from harmful apps by only installing from a trusted source.

Shielding you from Potentially Harmful Applications

Earlier this month, we shared an overview of the ways we keep you safe, on Google and on the web, more broadly. Today, we wanted to specifically focus on one element of Android security—Potentially Harmful Applications—highlighting fraudsters’ common tactics, and how we shield you from these threats.

PHA_SecurityIllustration.png

Potentially Harmful Applications,” or PHAs, are Android applications that could harm you or your device, or do something unintended with the data on your device. Some examples of PHA badness include:

  • Backdoors: Apps that let hackers control your device, giving them unauthorized access to your data.
  • Billing fraud: Apps that charge you in an intentionally misleading way, like premium SMS scams or call scams.
  • Spyware: Apps that collect personal information from your device without consent
  • Hostile Downloads: Apps that download harmful programs, often through bundling with another program
  • Trojan Apps: Apps that appear benign (e.g., a game that claims only to be a game) but actually perform undesirable actions.
PHA_illustration.png

As we described in the Safer Internet post, we have a variety of automated systems that help keep you safe on Android, starting with Verify Apps—one of our key defenses against PHAs.

Verify Apps is a cloud-based service that proactively checks every application prior to install to determine if the application is potentially harmful, and subsequently rechecks devices regularly to help ensure they’re safe. Verify Apps checks more than 6 billion installed applications and scans around 400 million devices per day. If Verify Apps detects a PHA before you install it or on your device if, it will prompt you to remove the app immediately.

Testapp.png

Sometimes, Verify Apps will remove an application without requiring you to confirm the removal. This is an action we’ll take very rarely, but if a PHA is purely harmful, has no possible benefit to users, or is  impossible for you to remove on your own, we’ll zap it automatically. Ongoing protection from Verify Apps has ensured that in 2015, over 99 percent of all Android devices were free of known PHAs.

Verify Apps is just one of many protections we’ve instituted on Android to keep billions of people and devices safe. Just as PHAs are constantly evolving their tactics, we’re constantly improving our protections. We’ll continue to take action when we have the slightest suspicion that something might not be right. And we’re committed to educating and protecting people from current and future security threats—on mobile and online in general.

Be sure to check if Verify Apps is enabled on your Android device, and stay clear from harmful apps by only installing from a trusted source.

Looking forward to Next ‘17: 8 G Suite sessions you don’t want to miss

We’re three weeks away from Google Cloud Next, one of the largest events Google has ever hosted. As we get ready to welcome you on March 8th, I’m reminded of how exciting it is to be in the cloud computing industry right now, helping shape how businesses will work together in the coming years.

About six months have passed since we announced G Suite, our set of intelligent apps for business. Since then, we’ve focused on bringing you new collaboration tools, like Team Drives and Jamboard, and have partnered with companies like Box and Slack to help businesses of all sizes unlock productivity across their organizations. At Next, we’ll get a chance to hear from businesses directly about these G Suite additions and collect feedback to shape what we build in the future.

I have the privilege to join some of Google’s top leaders on stage at Next, including Diane Greene, Sundar Pichai and Eric Schmidt. While I look forward to hearing my colleagues unpack the potential of cloud for businesses, I’m especially excited to hear from one of our newest Google Cloud leaders, Fei-Fei Li, about the value that machine learning will bring to the enterprise.

It’s one thing to talk about product innovations, it’s another to try them for yourself. This year’s Next will feature Cloud Showcase,  an area for interactive product experiences, allowing each attendee to see and feel the power of Google Cloud products firsthand. We’re opening up the doors for attendees to experience machine learning, application development, collaboration and productivity through interactive installations that are unique to Google Cloud.

Besides the keynotes and show floor, there are over 200 sessions at Next this year. If you need help narrowing down that list, here are some sessions I’m excited for:

If you’re interested in learning more about how Machine Learning can impact your business or how you can build more agile, productive teams, check out:

  • Introduction to Google Cloud Machine Learning
  • Machine learning powering the workforce: Assist Cards in Google Cloud search
  • Machine learning powering the workforce: Explore in Google Docs

To learn how to create custom apps with G Suite, or integrate your G Suite apps with existing workflows to accomplish more, there’s:

  • Automating internal processes using Apps Script and APIs for Docs editors
  • Citizen developers building low-code apps with AppMaker on G Suite
  • New Google Docs integrations to streamline your workflows

For insight into controlling business data, building custom dashboards and running custom queries, be sure to go to:

  • Gaining full control over your organization’s cloud resources
  • Getting the most out of Google Admin Reports and BigQuery

Register here to secure your spot at Next ‘17.

Looking forward to Next ‘17: 8 G Suite sessions you don’t want to miss

We’re three weeks away from Google Cloud Next, one of the largest events Google has ever hosted. As we get ready to welcome you on March 8th, I’m reminded of how exciting it is to be in the cloud computing industry right now, helping shape how businesses will work together in the coming years.

About six months have passed since we announced G Suite, our set of intelligent apps for business. Since then, we’ve focused on bringing you new collaboration tools, like Team Drives and Jamboard, and have partnered with companies like Box and Slack to help businesses of all sizes unlock productivity across their organizations. At Next, we’ll get a chance to hear from businesses directly about these G Suite additions and collect feedback to shape what we build in the future.

I have the privilege to join some of Google’s top leaders on stage at Next, including Diane Greene, Sundar Pichai and Eric Schmidt. While I look forward to hearing my colleagues unpack the potential of cloud for businesses, I’m especially excited to hear from one of our newest Google Cloud leaders, Fei-Fei Li, about the value that machine learning will bring to the enterprise.

It’s one thing to talk about product innovations, it’s another to try them for yourself. This year’s Next will feature Cloud Showcase,  an area for interactive product experiences, allowing each attendee to see and feel the power of Google Cloud products firsthand. We’re opening up the doors for attendees to experience machine learning, application development, collaboration and productivity through interactive installations that are unique to Google Cloud.

Besides the keynotes and show floor, there are over 200 sessions at Next this year. If you need help narrowing down that list, here are some sessions I’m excited for:

If you’re interested in learning more about how Machine Learning can impact your business or how you can build more agile, productive teams, check out:

To learn how to create custom apps with G Suite, or integrate your G Suite apps with existing workflows to accomplish more, there’s:

For insight into controlling business data, building custom dashboards and running custom queries, be sure to go to:

Register here to secure your spot at Next ‘17.

Looking forward to Next ‘17: 8 G Suite sessions you don’t want to miss

We’re three weeks away from Google Cloud Next, one of the largest events Google has ever hosted. As we get ready to welcome you on March 8th, I’m reminded of how exciting it is to be in the cloud computing industry right now, helping shape how businesses will work together in the coming years.

About six months have passed since we announced G Suite, our set of intelligent apps for business. Since then, we’ve focused on bringing you new collaboration tools, like Team Drives and Jamboard, and have partnered with companies like Box and Slack to help businesses of all sizes unlock productivity across their organizations. At Next, we’ll get a chance to hear from businesses directly about these G Suite additions and collect feedback to shape what we build in the future.

I have the privilege to join some of Google’s top leaders on stage at Next, including Diane Greene, Sundar Pichai and Eric Schmidt. While I look forward to hearing my colleagues unpack the potential of cloud for businesses, I’m especially excited to hear from one of our newest Google Cloud leaders, Fei-Fei Li, about the value that machine learning will bring to the enterprise.

It’s one thing to talk about product innovations, it’s another to try them for yourself. This year’s Next will feature Cloud Showcase,  an area for interactive product experiences, allowing each attendee to see and feel the power of Google Cloud products firsthand. We’re opening up the doors for attendees to experience machine learning, application development, collaboration and productivity through interactive installations that are unique to Google Cloud.

Besides the keynotes and show floor, there are over 200 sessions at Next this year. If you need help narrowing down that list, here are some sessions I’m excited for:

If you’re interested in learning more about how Machine Learning can impact your business or how you can build more agile, productive teams, check out:

To learn how to create custom apps with G Suite, or integrate your G Suite apps with existing workflows to accomplish more, there’s:

For insight into controlling business data, building custom dashboards and running custom queries, be sure to go to:

Register here to secure your spot at Next ‘17.