Hello BaisNetters,

I would love to find out who of you are using Google Apps for Education as your primary E-communication tool. If your school is using Google Apps for Education, would you mind filling out an entry like the example below:

Your School:::How long used:::Who are your users, ie faculty and staff, students, parents:::Using the following in the enterprise: Contacts, Calendar, Documents:::Helpful lessons learned

Peter Zingg, Kentfield School District
Google Apps user since 2008
200 faculty users only, with some students in pilot programs (students in a separate domain).
Using: Email Users and Groups, Contacts, Calendars (for laptop reservations, staff meetings, etc), shared Docs and Folders, Chat (video chat good for tech support!)
Helpful Lessons: Get a second domain for students? It's hard to separate roles within a single domain. Would like to use Google Video to host student and staff videos, but can't seem to figure out how to have it work through our content filter without allowing access to all of public Google Video. *Not archiving email yet*, but will probably buy Google's Postini service to do this.

Maer Ben-Yisrael, Windrush School
Google Apps since Fall 2008
Users: Faculty & Staff (50 users). MS Student rollout possible in the future (separate domain)
Using: Mail, Calendar, Docs (to some extent)
Helpful Lessons: When migrating mail service, it's best to do a clean break, however I have done a dual-delivery setup. In a dual-delivery scenario, it's good to migrate users as rapidly as possible and shut down the dual delivery. Archiving email is expensive through Postini.
I also migrated French American International School (120 staff/fac users) to Google Apps in 2008. I think current FAIS IT staff are on BAISNet and can elaborate.

Kirk Lorie, Town School for Boys
Google Apps user since June 2009
Users: Faculty, staff and administrators (approximately 100 users), Students - grades 5-8 (approximately 180 users)
Using: Email Users and Groups, Contacts, Calendars, Shared Docs and Folders, Sites
Helpful Lessons: Over-communication with faculty, staff and students (and parents). Online and f2f training opportunities, especially for users that do not have personal Gmail accounts (focus on difference b/t folders and labels). Our Systems Admin and Help Desk Analyst could answer questions re migration.

Steve Taffee, Castilleja School
Google Apps user since June of 2009
Users: Faculty, Staff (100), students (415)
Using: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites; plan to use Groups. Have Small URL enabled but not widely used
Helpful Lessons: Not easy to migrate from FirstClass, but do-able. Students adapt quickly. Be prepared to support heavy legacy users such as administrators for at least 6 months after cut-over. Get Postini archiving services for at least faculty and staff. Consider how you will back-up Google Docs. Get redundnant internet connection if you do not have one. Having another supported virtual instructional space such as Moodle is helpful for teachers who want to move into a VLE. Creating a custom login page helps create a look and feel that is in line with your organization; this also allows administrators to very easily sign in as other users for support tasks (this is called, "Google Apps Improved Login, or GAIL, and is build on Google's Appspot Engine). Click here to view Castilleja's custom login page which was created by our systems engineer, Adam Contois.
Castilleja's Firstclass to Google Transition Support Site | Castilleja's Google Apps for Education Transition-The Mistakes | Rating Our Transition - The Good |

Dan Hudkins, The Harker School
Google Apps Education Edition user since June of 2007
Users: Students (1700), Alumni (200 +/-), Staff (optional collaboration space 50), Staff (non-academic, non-admin 50)
Using: Gmail, Docs
Helpful Lessons: Went with Tools4Ever to handle password integration between Active Directory and GoogleApps. Only recently found a decent administrative tool (the built in tools are fairly primitive). Internet connnection critical. Student move was easy - done over the summer without expectation that old mail would be preserved. Still using Exchange for most folks on payroll. Would love to find a simple way to preserve students resources when moving from @students.harker.org (free Education Edition) to @alumni.harker.org.

Ed FitzGerald, Sonoma Country Day School
Started in November 2006 with mySCDS.org domain for students 6-8 (now doing 3-8). Alumni keep account.
Started faculty in 2007 on SCDS.org domain (teachers with Macs, any new staff) using pop from Exchange. Cut rest of school July-Sept 2009
Using it all. Students use Google docs - no USB drives. We are building out student ePortfolios using Sites. Trustees use Sites for all committees and board. Head of school use Docs exclusively and is our champion (Mac laptop & iPhone)
Helpful lessons: Development Dept hardest to change. Real Excel users cannot use Google spreadsheet. Teachers complain about formatting limitations with Docs. Some folks HATE conversation mode (no option). Maer, I found Potini archive very affordable with school 66% discount. In fact, we use all Postini now including web security (filtering, malware). Have had to contact support twice - received replies and resolution within a few hours. Originally managing users, contacts and groups impossibly brutal. Much better now with contact and group enhancements and especially now with 3rd part tools available such as LTech powerpanel. Contacts & groups still not integrated so I have to maintain parent emails in groups and in contacts.

Gordon Fair, St. Gabriel School K-8
Google Apps for Education since summer 2008
Users: Teachers and generic student accounts totalling 80
Using: GMail, Contacts, impromptu Calendars, Docs, Site
Helpful Lessons: Force people to change. It's worth it.

Brad Wright, Chinese American International School preK-8
using Google Apps for Education since 7/2010
Users: All faculty/staff, piloting student use with 6th graders (email and IM services disabled)
Using: everything
Helpful Lessons: There are several products that made this easier for us..
  • Google Apps Directory Sync - allows you to synchronize user accounts from Active Directory to Google Apps (but not passwords)
  • SimpleSAMLPHP - free, open-source single sign on application. Difficult to set up/configure but works very well. I'm using it to allow users to login to Google Apps with their Active Directory username/password
  • Google Apps Sync for MS Outlook - Allows users who can't let go of Outlook to use it with Google Apps.

If you feel other important info should be tracked in this Wiki, please feel free to add it to the BOLDED example above.