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.

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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"...

Screenshot 2016-04-27 at 20.32.59.png

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

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

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