Jam On, With Google Jamboard!

Google Announces "Jamboard" Digital Smartboard for Collaboration

Google Announces "Jamboard" Digital Smartboard for Collaboration

Google lovers will love this... Google has officially entered the Smartboard world, with the Google Jamboard.  The first hardware product of the newly branded "G Suite", I'm sure this offering will be a strong competitor to "traditional" electronic smart boards.  Go Google, and I HAVE to have one of these!  (Sorry, I don't know why!)

There is a lot of controversy surrounding mass purchases of Smartboards in some school districts, and then having them become Shelfware (interpretation: gathering dust).  I haven't seen the Jamboard yet, but in reading about it and its seamless connectivity to the G Suite and Google Cloud, I can't help but think that for enterprises who can afford the price ($6K) and have a lot of Hangouts/remote workers, it will make sense to try it out.  Not directly targeted to Education, but I can see some applications.

Here's a link to Google's own blog post about Jamboard.  Enjoy!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Google Apps for Education... now "G Suite for Education"...

Many of you have probably already realized Google recently made a marketing shift in the form of a new name for Google Apps for Education.  Same tools, new name... now called "G Suite for Education".  Not sure that that's better or worse than the old name, just watch for current and new Google materials to shift to the new name.  Personally, I liked the old name, but then again... Google doesn't ask me for much marketing advice!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

New Service Offering... Google QuickStarts!

Want to go Google and don't know where to start?  Or you've started, and need help with some Google domain setup, administrator training, or Professional Development for your teaching professionals?  TechPlanning has a solution, called the "Google QuickStart".

QuickStarts are fixed price projects designed to deliver technical, project management, change management and Professional Development services spread over time.  Need a Google domain for your school?  We will acquire one for you.  Need help configuring your Google Admin Console, we will apply industry best practices to support collaboration but not at the expense of teacher or student safety.  Need to energize your staff and train them in the good things Google Apps for Education can bring to the school, we'll provide that.

Contact us today for more information and pricing.  And of course, thank you for your interest in Going Google!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Google Acquires Synergyse... Good for Them, Good for Customers!

Google acquires Synergyse.  Good for them!  Synergyse is an awesome training plugin for Google Apps that basically provides stem-to-stern handholding/just in time training for the Google application suite and Google Classroom.

synergyse-blur.png

We have been impressed by Synergyse for some time, and have been recommending it to TechPlanning/Google clients.  Now, according to the TechCrunch article, the plan appears to be offering Synergyse for free to Google for Work customers.  Not sure what that means for EDU, but given Google's rock solid commitment to Education, I can't imagine we'd all be left out.

Here's a link to one article about the acquisition.  It doesn't give any details on when Synergyse will start being free.  Now, I hope, we have projects starting that need it!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Good Article on "Why Chromebook"...

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Good article from Gizmos for Geeks on the virtues of the Chromebook. I agree with most of what the author said, which basically comes down to "if you want to save money and are not relying heavily on Desktop software for media creation, a Chromebook makes sense.

I have to admit that the video editing and photo editing options in Chrome are still developing, but at the price, especially for price sensitive schools, the Chromebook is a compelling alternative to a Mac or Windows laptop. In many cases, half the cost, less than half the IT management headache, and way better than either competitor for collaboration.

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Christopher J. Church
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC  
www.techplanning.net

Selected for Dartmouth Digital Excellence Program!

TechPlanning was accepted today for Dartmouth's Tuck School's Digital Excellence Program, being sponsored by Google in Mountain View, California! Yay! Google is such an awesome partner, we're honored to have been chosen from many small Google suppliers to attend

The Tuck School of Business is one of the world's foremost advanced degree institutions on the topics of digital excellence and business growth, focusing on a collaborative teaching/learning style.  Heck, the entire Master's and Executive Education programs are award-winning.

Wish us luck, and I promise, no pictures from the inside the Googleplex (sorry, photography not allowed at Google). This is the second exclusive business coaching offering from Google we've participated in, and we love that Google thinks enough of its small suppliers to offer such benefits. Thank you Google!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

"Unschooling" Threatening Conventional Education?

Interesting article by KQED about "unschooling", basically a highly unstructured approach to home schooling.  The article asks whether "Public School" (as if this is an organization... so diverse, too fractured to refer to all Public Schools in general) is "scared of unschooling".

I don't think so.  But I do think career educators and researchers are wary of new approaches to teaching, wondering if what appears on the surface to be a very unstructured process (it doesn't really look unstructured to me) will prepare students for successful transition to the workforce or to higher education.

Interesting idea, "unschooling".  I'm not sure I'd support it, and I don't think the general world of Education is "ready" for it, but it seems to be a growing trend.  With oversight and structure it does make sense that this approach will work for at least a subset of homeschooled children.  I do have to say, from the article, I like the articulation of learning objectives and tracking progress, regardless of the path the home learner takes to acquire the knowledge.

Here's a New York City Department of Education resource on home schooling.  Doesn't really address "unschooling", but if you're interested, give a look.  And, of course, I think Google's education productivity would be an awesome adjunct/facilitator to home schooling.  Not sure how the economics of that work... are Google Apps for Education somehow accessible for free to home learners?  Interesting question...

p.s. when in Northern California, or listening to NPR anywhere I have always found KQED articles and reports insightful and thought provoking.  Found the article on Twitter today.  Good on you, KQED!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

North Queens Community High Project Kickoff

Part of the QNCHS Google Team...

Congratulations North Queens Community High School in New York on starting your Google for Education journey. Love your spirit, Marty Howfield and team keep up the good work.  

NQCHS is but one of literally hundreds of public schools "Going Google" in the New York City Department of Education.  DOE schools see the cost effectiveness (basically, all of Google is free to schools), low IT overhead (way, way less IT support needed than Apple or Microsoft products), inexpensive hardware (Chromebooks are incredibly inexpensive for NYCDOE), and most of all the awesome collaboration and workflow platform Google provides in the forms of GAFE and Google Classroom.

Others may imitate, but there's only one real leader in Education Technology hardware, software, and services, and its Google!  Proud to be a partner...

#working247NQCHS #googleedtech #googlerocks

Congratulations West Side High!

Congratulations are in order for our Customer, New York Department of Education's West Side High.  West Side officially kicked off their Going Google project yesterday, and we're helping them with Technical Services and Professional Development.

At TechPlanning, our job is not to do all the work for the customer - hand them a fish - but rather help them build their own capacity for taking the Google technology and running with it,.  That's what Mark Chenault and his team at West Side are doing.  We've established a great partnership, and will keep them involved in all aspects of the project as we progress and at the same time build their bench strength.

Mark, thank you for your business, confidence, and partnership.  We look forward to a mutually beneficial engagement and are excited about working with you and your staff!

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Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

The Whole Employee in Education...

Great LinkedIn article by Douglas Konopelko, Coordinator of Digital Learning at Martin County School District in Stuart, Florida (sorry, my hometown!).

Sometimes we focus so hard in education on the student that we forget to support, coach, train, and elevate the employees who are absolutely critical to student success. I believe an organization that has employee success "baked in" to the culture is far ahead of most organizations in achieving overall education success.

Nice work, Doug, keep up the good work. This taxpayer and EdTech consultant appreciates the insightful work!

 

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

How Not to Win Friends and Influence People...

Dale Carnegie is famous in large part because of his work on building relationships, listening, clearly communicating and growing influence versus power.

Here's a great little five minute video from FightMediocrity, a YouTube channel I subscribe to.  The author does these little topical videos which are actually animations, so way more engaging than say a PowerPoint presentation.

Take five minutes, we can all use a refresher on how to make friends and influence people.  Certainly those of us who are in the Customer Service business need to have the ten basics from the video top of mind.

Enjoy!

Christopher J. Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Presence on Google Apps, Just, Well... Works!

One of the things I love about Google Apps is the way it manages presence, and its funny that not many folks write about that.  Presence, to me, means managing what I'm logged into and when online.

Perfect example... today I'm bouncing between the office and home.  Have a Chromebook at each place so I don't have to carry.  Google a) knows when I'm online, and where and b) perfectly manages having my documents, calendar, contacts and well, every other aspect of my online life readily available.  This is freedom I never experienced with Apple or Microsoft (although Microsoft has certainly made inroads with their new Office release.  Not bad, just not great).

I would say, the only area where I feel like Google was a little weak was in Photos, but I got all of mine uploaded before I gave up my last Mac.  Its coming along.  iPhoto was a category-defining product, a little less so today, and for the little bit of hobby photography i do (2500 photos), Photos is fine.  If you're on the fence about Chrome and Google, I'd encourage you to give them a try.  And you don't have to give up your Mac or Microsoft device - Google's apps are platform agnostic.

Enjoy!

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Organizational Announcement - Welcome Ike Crumpler!

Photo by Spotmatik/iStock / Getty Images

I promised a key organizational announcement today, and here it is.  TechPlanning has engaged seasoned journalist, author, public relations and marketing professional Ike Crumpler to guide our marketing efforts.  While we are focused on a rich, diverse vertical market, that being Education institutions implementing Google's platform, Google Apps for Education, we still need a guiding hand on how we best invest our marketing dollars.  Ike is a great guy, and he's a perfect personality fit for our firm.

Here's Ike's bio, soon to be posted to the "Our Team" page.  Look for some really engaging, really innovative marketing in the near future.  Welcome Ike!

Ike Crumpler:

Knowing that people get bored and distracted even more quickly nowadays than they did 10 minutes ago, Ike Crumpler likens messaging to bull riding: When you get ahold of their attention, hold on tightly. Eight seconds is actually a long time—so make each one count.  Ike’s career in communications encompasses journalism, marketing, strategic outreach, information campaigns, political writing, public relations, media relations and governmental affairs. He’s reported and written for major Florida newspapers, a national online news agency and book publisher, and established PR agencies.

His Stuart-based firm, Upstairs Communications International, represents several public, private and nonprofit entities, specializing in the creation and execution of multi-layered public-information and crisis-management campaigns encompassing an array of media and marketing tools and techniques. 

As the marketing director for an online news agency (with 3 million monthly readers) and book publisher, Ike has spearheaded marketing and media plans for many best-selling books. 

A contributing editor and writer for Stuart Magazine, Ike's journalism career includes covering entertainment, travel, books, religion, social services and news features. He won a Florida Press Club award for his writings as a film critic and has won numerous Addy Awards for a variety of copywriting and collateral creations.

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Rebooting Microsoft Office?

Let me start this post with a disclaimer - I do not think Microsoft is the big, bad, wolf in Education Technology.  Rather, I think they're a company who a) attracts some of the top talent of the world, b) continues to innovate (maybe not at Early Microsoft paces, but still), and c) is trying to remain relevant as the entire world of technology is turning up on its head.  Microsoft is not going away just because there are other solutions out there, but I do think they have some challenges.  I still have friends at Microsoft, and believe me, they are passionate, deeply funded, and dead serious about Education, their OS and their productivity suite.  Don't underestimate them.

Many education institutions receive Microsoft Office as a "free" add on to (often million dollar) Enterprise Support Agreements.  And if the organization is renewing their service agreements and Office comes along for the ride, why not try it?

Well, because it doesn't support Collaboration as well as the Google Apps for Education do.  But don't believe me... here's an unbiased Wall Street Journal article on recent updates to Office.  MIcrosoft has built in more collaboration features, but collaboration, in my opinion and the writer's, is that they're lagging.

Give the article a read.  I think some of the material presented is spot on, other info I have a harder time swallowing.  But hey, at least a conversation is happening...

http://www.wsj.com/articles/its-time-for-microsoft-to-reboot-office-1444155726

I am opening comments (gulp!) to see what people think.  Be respectful.  Passionate, opinionated are OK.  Bashing Microsoft is, well, not...

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Giving Back to K-12 Education. TechPlanning Micro-Grants...

Photo by Svetlana Kuznetsova/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Svetlana Kuznetsova/iStock / Getty Images

At TechPlanning, we are very interested in the model of private/public partnership as it pertains to US-based K-12 organizations and technology projects.  We are fortunate to be partnered   As such, we have made a strategic decision to be good education community partners, and will set aside 5% of annual profits to give back to those Googley projects in our client base who with innovative, reference-able success.  We also occasionally take on strategic projects at a discount, and can bring partners to the table for doing same.  Finally, we do some Pro Bono work in the geographies we currently serve.

Of course, this is nothing like the massive investment Google make in K-12 every day, but micro-grants in the $250 to $500 price range seem like a great way to a) recognize Google innovators among our clients and b) give us a vehicle for giving back.  The program will be competitive, and will expect applicants to submit up to a five minute video on what cool stuff they're doing with Google, what their project highs and lows are, and expose any best practices in the process.

Stay tuned for program details.  We work on a calendar year, so we'll be looking at making micro-grant awards as early as January, 2016, and opening applications on 1 November, 2016.  We're looking forward to giving back.  Even a small giveback would be beneficial and shows we're interested in our shared success, but the bigger picture we see is recognizing those innovative teachers and leadership who are paving the way for Google in Education.  These people are almost always putting in non-work time in their projects, and a little boost can potentially go a long way.

Wish us luck, and we'll post details at a later date.  Stay tuned to our blog for the scoop.  Thank you for either considering or working with us, we take that personally.


Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Established on Facebook...

So we've established a Facebook page for TechPlanning... its located at http://www.facebook.com/techplanning.net.  Blog postings here are cross-posted to the Facebook page, because there are so many people who prefer Facebook as their source of affiliated news.

If you're interested in what we're doing, keep reading this blog, like the Facebook page, or do both!  As always, we appreciate the support.

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Ten Emerging Education Technologies...

Great article from Edudemic highlighting some emerging/established technology trends in Education.  Google makes the list for number two - Cloud Computing, and number three, Collaboration.  I found number ten interesting - gamification.  Amazed at the retention rates quoted versus something a student reads.

The article can be seen here.  Free to read.

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net

Please Pass the Dogfood...

So what does Dogfood have to do with implementing Google's platform in Education.  Nothing, in the literal sense.  But Dogfood-ing is critically important.  Dogfood-ing, if you're not familiar with the term, came out of Microsoft in the late 1980's as a manifesto for the company to run their own software to run their own business to the extent they could.  Brilliant idea!  This concept is embraced by any smart technology company.  I've seen a bit less of it in Education... wonder why that is?

At Motorola, Apple, Boeing, NASA and elsewhere, I've helped Dogfood projects find their pace, grow and deliver.  At TechPlanning, we're eating as much of the Google Dogfood as we can as we grow our team and diversify our Customer base.  Collaboration is an imperative of our company - no one works in isolation, despite geographic separation.  Google eats a mighty portion of its own Dogfood, too, so the platform works both when we're dealing with Custoemrs and working directly with Google.

Now, having been an Apple fanboy for the better part of 25 years, I will not say that Dogfooding Google has been without its ups and downs.  There are still a few things the Mac does better than a Chromebook, but these examples are few and far between.  Photos is an area like this - but Google's solution will get better.

So I challenge you, the reader, to find a way, despite the organization and level you work at, to scoop up a forkful of Dogfood and join the rest of us in our journey.  MMM... that's tasty!

Chris Church, Managing Partner
Technology Planning & Consulting, LLC
www.techplanning.net