I am a big fan of the Google Apps that are already available to us such as the Google Docs and Google Drive.  I already use Google Drive quite heavily with my classes since I am a floating teacher.  Being that I do not have a permanent classroom, Google Drive allows me to keep track of assignments much easier and I am not forced to carry around large stacks of papers.  I am also able to monitor my student's work much better.  I am really interested in using the Google Apps for Education with my classes, but my school is not presently a Google school.  We still rely heavily on the Microsoft products.  I was wondering if anyone could give me some ideas on how to get Google Apps for Education in my classroom, and if there are any grants/programs out there to help me possibly get a set of Chromebooks to start the transition?

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John,

I'm not very familiar with Chromebooks, or their price, but I do know about a website that teachers can use to get projects funded.  It's called DonorsChoose.org.  You create your account and then write up a project.  Then you wait to see if people fund your project.  If they do-you get the items you asked for to use in your instruction.  I have used this website myself and got my first project funded in January-I got a set of 6 Android tablets that I now use during small group instruction for reading.  My next plan is for my students to create their first e-books using a story writing app. You might want to look into DonorsChoose.org to see if it might work for what you want.  Good luck!

Michele,

Donorschoose.org is a great suggestion! I have never used it, but I know many teachers in my school who have gotten their projects funded. Most recently a Language Arts teacher received $500 to create a reading center in her classroom.

John, I am also considering something like this. My schools are also Microsoft Schools, and I'd really like to see the shift towards Google. I may just take Michele's suggestion and start a DonorsChoose application. I would like to have a set of Chromebooks for my classroom as well. Does your school have them available to check out?

Sarah

Thank you Sarah-yes-I can tell you that it really works and I wish you the best of luck with it if you use DonorsChoose.org.

Michelle,

I am definitely going to look into DonorsChoose.org to see if I can get some help.  I really love Microsoft's products and often find that I can do more with them, but I keep having issues with the county constantly updating things and blocking things from being used.  I feel like I will have a little more freedom with the Google Apps as opposed to the Microsoft programs.  My school does not have any Chromebooks to use since they also have their contract with Dell for any computers.  There are a couple of teachers that have iPad's that were provided by the county, but most of the computers and tablets available to us are from Dell.

Sarah,

Thanks for the info.  I will definitely look into DonorsChoose.org and see what that is all about.  Any little bit will help, even if it is only enough to get a couple of tablets or some other type of technology that could be beneficial.  I just know that I will not get much help from the school since they have the contracts with Microsoft and Dell.

John,

   I highly recommend looking into Donor's Choose. It is a free organization that you start "projects" (items that you need for your classroom) to help support instruction. It is really simple and easy to do. First, you need to write up a summary of what you are seeking for your classroom and how it would be beneficial to support your students and their learning. Next, you link  it to the items that you want and it provides a price for the project. After completing this it will create your "project" summary and post it to the website. Now you would be all set and people can make donations to fund your project. It allows you to post it to your Facebook page, and email contacts. The best part is that if someone donates in the first week, Donor's choose matches the donation (up to $100/per donor). Once your project is funded, they will contact your school for confirmation and then they mail you the items. The only thing left for you to do is write thank you letters to donors and take and post pictures of your students using the items. I have used the program before and have received to IPADS for my classroom for the students. Check it out:  www.donorschoose.org.

Hopefully this helps out!

Jennifer,

Thanks for the info.  Several others have also mentioned that website, so I will definitely check it out.  It is also nice to hear form someone who has actually had success with the website.  Were you able to get enough for a class set of iPads, or are the donations usually on a smaller scale?  It definitely seems like an easy enough process to go though, so I at least I wouldn't feel like I am wasting my time with it.

I used DonorsChoose a few years ago to purchase a robotics kit for my gifted program.  It was easy to use and the people who work there are very friendly.  At the time there was a price limit for first time applicants which would definitely not cover a full set of anything.  It is a place to start, however.

I have used Chromebooks at my school and they certainly have their perks. "Chromebook" is a general term for a quite a few different products. Various manufacturers work with Google to create a fast, slim product to work with the Google Chrome platform. I mention this only because there are some slight differences in the physical Chromebook. Some scratch easier, others have plugs in inconvenient places or expensive accessories. You just want to look into various models before purchasing.

In general they are quite cheap ($200-$400), start up very quickly and have long battery life. All your students will need their own Google account (free through Google for Education) because you can't log in without a username and password.  Once logged in it syncs all your apps, websites, bookmarks, etc. so kids can use multiple Chromebooks and still have access to all their stuff. I find the screens to be a bit small, but the kids like them.  The down side is that they are so light and portable that my kids tend to treat them carelessly, but you can train them to be careful. 

If you like using Google Drive I would defintely recommend Google Classroom as well.  I haven't used it much but it sounds like it really simplified getting work back and forth from students.

Good luck and let us know what you try!

I am also interested in learning more about google apps for education. Has anyone had experience using it? Have any of you used google classroom? My school is also using Microsoft products but I have found google apps to be really efficient and a better fit for me. Any information would be appreciated.

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