How I set up a small progressive school on Google Apps for Education (K-12)


I’ve made four screencasts about my experience successfully setting up a small progressive PreK-6 school with Google Apps for Education (K-12).

1. Starting an account

Shows how to start an account and prove you own the domain ( that you want to use. Be able to edit, or contact those who can, the Web site of the domain you want to use before you start. If you have a Web master, give them a heads up that you’ll be contacting them for help with putting a single HTML file on the Web server.

2. The Education Upgrade

Shows how to get the free upgrade to the education edition to get the full power of Google Apps Education, K-12

3. Why free?

Talks about why Google Apps for Education (K-12) is free.

4. Ubuntu donated computers

Shows how a school can to use the free Linux operating system Ubuntu to use any “cloud” applications, and how Ubuntu helps companies more easily donate computers.

5. Ubuntu donated computers

Got MX records all set, full steam ahead, sneak peak of new school site.

Lesson learned in a nutshell

  1. Don’t wait if you’re considering it. Just try it out with a few staff or students and see if it spreads.
  2. Moving an organization to Google Apps for Education, K-12, is mostly about TRAINING and CHANGE MANAGEMENT. If a few people in your organization  are excited about technology and fearless, the move will spread naturally from email use only, to the early adopters nudging others with gentle pleas of, “why don’t I just share that doc with you? Here, I’ll show you how.” If your organization is full of tech excited people, it will spread effortlessly. If you’ve got a lot of people resistant to change, plan a LOT of training and time.
  3. Security is an issue for some. I believe with so many schools going to Google the US dept. of Ed. will step in if Google starts to do bad things.

7 thoughts on “How I set up a small progressive school on Google Apps for Education (K-12)

  1. Piedmont Middle School in San Jose has started using google apps. We have a domain and the setup has gone without a hitch.
    My problem is that although I’ve setup websites using Moodle this seems to be a whole new ball game. My question is:
    Is there a list of a typical school settings somewhere?
    For instance, are students put into a seperate sub domain. What services does a school let students use? What are the email settings for schools. Group settings? ETC….
    I cannot find anything anywhere. When I first started setting up moodle sites I found lots of places where this information was available. I’ve contacted Google, not far from our school by the way, and they just send me links with none of this information.

    Do you have ideas?

    1. A few come to mind. I think of Google docs more like a students “backpack” and Moodle, the classroom. You might find a school in your area who’s using Google and ask them in-person about settings.

      I work with a middle school that use a subdomain for students, and turns off external mail for them, and chat. Mostly docs, sites, drawing, spreadsheets and presentations are used. Email addresses are lunch card numbers to be safe.

      If you are close to Google, and want quick action, make a big sign with your question and go down there and pace around! Make sure to say you’re a teacher and where you work on the sign, so they don’t think you’re totally crazy. Try the parking lot in the AM and dress nice. Might be a fun stunt and could even work.

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