Category: Google Apps for Education

Google Cloud and G Suite

New Names, Same Great Solutions At this point, every Google For Work customer has likely received an email from Google with the big announcement: Google for Work is now Google Cloud Google Apps is now G Suite Why the change? Google’s has greatly expanded the range of cloud-based business services over the past few years, […]

The post Google Cloud and G Suite appeared first on Cumulus Global.

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For Students, 1:1 is not about devices, 1:1 is about teacher/student connection

When most schools talk about 1:1 programs, the focus immediately turns to the device or devices. We tend to direct schools to focus on educational outcomes, curricula integration, and other goals and objectives that will lead to the best device decisions and program structure. Maybe, however, we are all missing the point.

1 to 1 programs are really about teacher/student connection and interaction.

We know by informally surveying teachers when we speak at conferences, that Google Apps for Education, its collaboration tools, and Classroom enable teachers to provided 2 to 3 times more individual feedback in about 1/2 the time.

What we may be missing is that the platform can enable a broader teacher/student connection that goes beyond academics.

This video from the EDU team at Google shows us how.

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Security Alert: Protect Your Google Apps Account from Being Hacked

Data Protection
Over the past 4 to 6 weeks, we have seen an alarming increase in the number of Google Apps accounts that have been “hacked” across both our business and education customers.

Google Apps security is NOT the issue.  ALL of the hacked accounts are due to compromised user identities.

In every case we have encountered, the users have used their Google Apps email address and password with another service that has had a breach, or has had malware on their computer that provided username and password keystrokes to the hackers.

In both types of incidents, hackers then log in as the user and cause mayhem.

We strongly recommend the following actions:

1) Educate your users that they are not to use their Google Apps password for any other account not explicitly authorized. Users should also not use their Google Apps email address as the username for personal accounts with other services.

2) Check Your Systems for malware and make sure your endpoint protection is up to the task. If not, we recommend Webroot Endpoint Protection and Web Security Services (the link is to our edu site, but the service is available to business and government customers as well).

3)  Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).  In business environments, users should be using 2FA to secure their accounts.  Implementation can be involved if you have other services linked to Google Apps, as you will need to generate service-specific passwords.

In education environments, 2FA is not practical for all users, as students and many faculty members may not have mobile devices available to access the Authenticator.  For schools, we recommend any user with partial or full administrative privileges have 2FA active.


Activating 2FA is covered by our support agreements.

For customers and others without support agreements, mention this blog post and we will discount our hourly support fee by 10%; W

We will discount Webroot deployment fees by 50%.  

Both offers expire on December 31, 2014.

Please contact our Service Desk for 2FA assistance; contact Sales regarding Webroot.

 

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Professional Services Help Schools Manage Google Drive for Education

google drive
With Google’s (GOOG) announcement of Google Drive for Education, schools using Google Apps for Education will have unlimited Drive storage and the Vault archive/ediscovery service for free.  To help schools deploy, configure, and use Vault successfully, Cumulus Global (www.cumuluglobaleducation.com) today announced an expansion of its Vault EDU Services. Cumulus Global’s Vault EDU Services are a set of professional services designed and priced for schools and districts.

Vault EDU Services include:

  • Service Activation
    • Best practice settings and configuration
    • Matching configuration and retention periods to policies and regulations
    • Ensuring data is not improperly removed
  • Admin Training
    • A 1:1 session focused on configuration, search, and discovery
  • Vault Support
    • Assistance with investigative matters
    • Execution of discovery with affidavits for chain of custody

“Having deployed Vault for hundreds of schools and districts, we understand the importance of proper setup and configuration”, stated Falcon.  “And since eDiscovery is a feature that tends to be used occasionally and as-needed, we can help ensure searches and matters are handled effectively.” Vault EDU Services are part of Cumulus Global’s expanding range of services for K-12 education.

Schools can learn more at https://www.cumulusglobaleducation.com/deploy.

 


About Cumulus Global and our Solutions for Education Cumulus Global is Cloud Solutions Provider and a Google Apps Premier Reseller, helping small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions move from in-house systems to cloud computing solutions. Our solutions for education, https://www.cumulusglobaleducation.com, help schools Deploy cloud solutions, Gear Up their technology, and Transform the learning process.

 

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Google Drive for Education: A Game Changing Upgrade for Schools

google drive

With Google’s announcement of Google Drive for Education, Google is bringing the power of Google Apps Unlimited to schools for free.

With Google Drive for Education, schools
and districts get:

  • Google Apps for Education
    • All of the email, communication, and collaboration features you know and love
  • Unlimited Drive
    • Infinite storage to encourage content development and collaboration
  • Google Apps Vault
    • Archive and discovery of all Gmail and, in the near future, Drive content
  • Audit Capabilities
    • Administrative rights and tools to track usage
  • Advanced Controls
    • Tools to add more visibility and control for domain administrators

We have more information about Drive for Education here, as well as answers to the most frequently asked questions.

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Beware of Marketplace Apps on the Move


Last week, Google announced that the Google Apps Marketplace was open for business to all Google Apps users, not just administrators.

While this move opens up a wide range of personal productivity applications to Google Apps users, it is not without risks.

  • Your users can now commit you to paid apps and services that you may not want as part of your environment.
  • Apps may require permissions to data in your Google Apps environment that needs to be, or you want to be, private and secure.
  • Not all apps are from well-known vendors.

As we have written in the past, third party apps can present a risk to your data and your business.  And while Bring-Your-Own-App (BYOA) can be beneficial to staff efficiency and effectiveness, Google Apps administrators should careful and should understand the security health of the domain.

As such, consider turning off marketplace access to all users.  (Customers with a support plan: Ask us and we will do this for you).

We also recommend that you consider a Google Apps Security Health Check (special offer through Sept 30th) to ensure that Marketplace, mobile, and other third party apps are not already posing a risk.


If your current Google Apps reseller is not providing guidance on best practices, security and other important issues, contact us.  We would love to have you join us as a client. 

 

 

 

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Google Classroom is Here

Google Classroom
This week, Google begins rolling out Google Classroom free of charge to Google Apps for Education domains.  Google Classroom offers teachers a basic, easy-to-use, system for creating and collecting assignments through Google Apps (yes, it is paperless!).

Google Classroom has features, including:

  • Automatically make document copies for each student
  • Create folders in Drive for each assignment
  • Let students track due dates on an Assignments page
  • Let teachers track student work and progress
  • Enable real-time feedback and grades

The rollout is happening over the next few weeks, so Google Apps for Education users should go to classroom.google.com within their domain to see if the service is active.

Click Here to learn more about Classroom

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5th of 5: Leadership and Google Apps in Your District

Google EDU Globe At the NJ Google Apps for Education Summit this month, we had the opportunity to briefly present and discuss the role and impact of Google Apps in K-12 Education with administrators and leaders from several districts.  This post is the  5th of 5 on Leadership and Google Apps in Your District.

Google Apps is (also) for Business

Not surprisingly, schools looking at Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, and Tablets with Play for Education focus intently on classroom computing.  In doing so, however, schools and districts often overlook that Google Apps works well for business … for administrative computing.  Some districts even elect to keep a separate email server for administrators while using Google Apps in the classroom. By size and scope, many school districts are comparable to the small and mid-size businesses we serve.  They also have many of the same needs, such as budgeting, human resources, team projects, and resource scheduling, just to name a few.

By adopting Google Apps as a business tool, district and school administrators can improve efficiency and effectiveness.  Here a just a few ideas of how administrators can use Google Apps:

  • Collaborative budget process with automatic roll-up from departments and/or facilities
  • File storage and sharing across departments and buildings
  • Individual, team, and project calendars
  • Intranet for HR with policies, procedures, and forms
  • Resource calendars to schedule use of conference rooms, speciality rooms, AV equipment, fields, vehicles, etc.
  • Public calendars for school and student events
  • Public web site with distributed content management
  • Video meetings, with screen/document, sharing for teams that span buildings or campuses
  • Survey and feedback forms
  • Interactive Wiki’s for proposing and obtaining feedback on curriculum changes
  • Accept and manage maintenance and facilities requests by email and/or web page, with shared inbox and dispatch for handling requests
  • Lesson planning library and collaborative, cross-team, lesson planning

While certainly not a comprehensive list, using Google Apps administratively offers many means to work more efficiently.  And, by adopting Google Apps for administrative computing, districts can further reduce their dependence and spending on servers, desktops, and other hardware.

 

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4th of 5: Leadership and Google Apps in Your District

Google EDU Globe
At the NJ Google Apps for Education Summit this month, we had the opportunity to briefly present and discuss the role and impact of Google Apps in K-12 Education with administrators and leaders from several districts.  This post is the  4th of 5 on Leadership and Google Apps in Your District.

Build Skills with Expectations and Milestones

Within any organization, some people enjoy change … pushing the envelope and are comfortable with technology. Some are comfortable with change and/or technology if others show them the way. Some are uncomfortable with change and/or technology, or lack the confidence to adapt and move forward.  These differences are common, natural, and expected human behavior.

In an educational setting, however, these personal differences can lead to radically different educational experiences and opportunities for students.

Working with hundreds of schools and districts across North America, we often see how professional development covering Google Apps, Chrome devices, tablets, and the myriad of apps and content available within the ecosystem are readily pursued and absorbed by those most comfortable with technology, change, and emerging methods for facilitating learning.  And, while it is exciting to see the enthusiasm and creativity, it is also clear that the many educators will “wait, see, and follow”, and others will simply avoid the opportunity.

If schools want the technology, flexible online content, apps, resources, games, and teaching methods to have a meaningful impact, they must be put to use across the system and not just within select classrooms.

The ability to use devices, apps, content, and related methods in the classroom must become a core skill on par subject matter knowledge and other key teaching and facilitation skills. 

Without these skills, disparities will increase and technology programs — particularly 1:1 programs — will fail to obtain their educational objectives.  To avoid these pitfalls, we recommend that faculty and administrators work cooperatively to:

  • Define a baseline skill set for teachers covering in-class technology use and integration, along with time frames by which all staff should be at these skill levels.
  • Create a program for obtaining baseline skill sets with methods to match faculty member’s learning style (classroom/workshop, self-paced, etc.).
  • Identify, secure, and commit funding and time to enable completion of the program.
  • Create a process for experimentation, measuring results, and and identifying best practices.
  • Create a means to share best-practices and to provide cross-training among faculty and staff. Include a process to encourage or require adoption of best practices across the school by grade level and/or subject.
  • Provide teachers with budgets for purchasing or renting tools, apps, and/or content in line with curricula standards and lesson plans.
  • Define professional development standards and expectations that relate specifically to use of technology, apps, content, and related methods in the classroom, along with time frames by which all staff should be integrating these capabilities in their lesson plans, curricula, and classroom activities.
  • As with basic skills training, create a professional development program that provides the time, money, and other resources necessary for faculty and staff to succeed.
  • Actively track best practices and emerging standards related to technology in the classroom.  Evaluate, experiment, and adopt as appropriate.

Adding skills related to technology and related content and methods to expectations for teacher qualifications and performance is no easy task.  For many districts, this effort may become a contractual issue as well as a professional development program.  Regardless, of the effort, ensuring that all teachers have the skills, resources, and confidence to leverage the new generation of technology-enabled resources is critical to successful educational outcomes.

If you are interested in a professional development assessment covering Google Apps, Chromebooks, and/or Play for Education tablets, please contact us.

 

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