Google Apps for Education UK User Group #GUUG11

Image cc Graeme Fowler

Zoe RossYesterday I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Google Apps for Education UK User Group or #GUUG11 organised by Martin Hamilton at Loughborough University.

It was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to hear and discuss how Universities such as Loughborough and Portsmouth have rolled out Google Apps for EDU. Niall Sclater, the Director of Learning Innovation at the The Open University gave a particularly engaging discussion of how his organisation has adopted Google Apps for their students.

Similarly, it was interesting to hear from Jaguar Land Rover about how their business has migrated to Google Apps and given that the scale of these organisations is very different from the schools and businesses I usually work with, very informative. Much of the focus for these larger organisations was naturally, on the migration and use of Gmail as opposed to the entire Apps suite, so I look forward to hearing more in the future about how some of the innovative and collaborative practices that are going on in schools can be utilised at University level.

Interestingly, most Universities had also rolled out Apps to their students first, which replicates experiences in schools where students are the driving factor in change and Google is talking their language.

From a personal perspective, using Google Books , particularly the awe inspiring fact that over 15million books are now available to search and read online, and Youtube for Edu remain exciting opportunities for all educational organisations. Understandably, given the audience demographic, there was much interest in these fantastic resources during the panel session.

In fact, the opportunity to meet the hugely enthusiastic Google Apps for EDU team again was great, especially the open question and answer session at the end of the day. As someone mentioned yesterday, the opportunity to hear it from the horse’s mouth is invaluable when dealing with the ever-evolving innovation of Google Apps.

The Google team were keen to point out that they are focusing on usability improvements and that there will be many more exciting Google Apps announcements in the coming months. Great!

From a staff and productivity point of view, the ability for users to use Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office to sync their office documents to Google Apps is a great move and the promise of the reintroduction of being able to access Docs offline using HTML5, both of which which will be rolled out later this year.

Overall it was a suberb event, organised in a brilliantly slick and understated manner by Martin Hamilton and his great team who could teach many event organisers a thing or two.

In terms of my own presentations, I demonstrated using Google Labs in the Open Mike slot and shared the stage with Mark Allen to discuss how Google Apps for EDU is being used in primary and secondary schools. My slides for my second presentation are below.

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