Online Tool Suites

This chapter of our text book may as well be title Google Stuff.  Google cloud, docs, maps, apps, mail, calendar; it’s all free.  Put it on their servers not yours. Be organized and efficient. One should be that Google or not!

I work in a large school system and worked in an even larger one before that (9+ high schools!)  Choosing online tool suites,  and course management systems are the kind of decisions that are made by a designated person in the district.  Typically it is neither organized nor efficient as the two systems cannot operate together or at least not without some outrageous fee.  The outcome: teachers use the course management for students, the google stuff for administrative collaboration and scheduling (train wreck of hands in the pot), an attendance program, a separate grading program, and an email system!  Oh yeah, the school also has it’s own website on which some one needs to approve and display all of these items.  Organized?  EFFICIENT?!

Okay maybe we should all consent to be the minion of Google and support their digital monopoly.  Let’s centralize all of our digital existence into their giant benevolent nonprofit basket.  I sound like a conspiracy theorist!

I like the cloud for storage of student information when some districts may be too poor or lazy to provide servers for such.  I like that students can access their things from anywhere.  But I don’t like the idea of student information being outside the sole purview of the school district.

“…Google Mail excels at archiving and searching your mail so that finding important messages is easy, even when your e-mail isn’t organized or managed well.” (McLeod and Lehmann)  One, don’t all email programs do that? Two, how good is and administrator that cannot be organized or organize their email?

The more I read this book the more, I see; students can share with everyone around the world, from anywhere in the world at their own pace, with unlimited creativity….  Why do we need teachers, buildings, books, school boards?  What happens where districts can’t afford computers etc.?  What happens when learning is just google it and grab the first thing that comes up?  Who needs professionals?  Sigh*


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