The hundreds of Google Workspace features, changes, and updates annually released by Google for Education will greatly impact how you, your staff, and your students function within the Google environment of a school or district. If a school district’s Google Workspace domain was not initially set up to EDU best practices when they originally went Google, attempting to keep up and manage these changes within Google Workspace may exacerbate a problem that could have been at one time, a minor settings oversight deep within the console.
Through our experience in setting school districts up for success with Google Workspace, we have found that there are some basic questions that can be asked introspectively that might help determine whether your Google Workspace domain should be audited.
Questions that need to be considered:
Does the person who started your Google Workspace domain no longer work there?
Having a shift in IT staff or management is always a bit of a scramble no matter what position is being filled and this is no different. How a Google Workspace domain is setup, whether done recently or years ago, can be very different from admin to admin. Having insight into settings configuration is very important in ensuring your domain is properly set up as Google Workspace changes continue to come down the line.
Do you know what settings you currently have in place and what best practice settings you are missing?
Knowing what the EDU best-practices are – is just half the battle. It’s important to know what they are and where they’re implemented so you have a working understanding of what the student and staff experience will be. Having an EDU best-practices comprehensive guide that lists your current settings, recommended changes, and how to implement them can be the difference between going at it blind and having a clearly defined roadmap.
Have you been through all the settings in the Admin console as a team and decided which ones are important and critical to your success?
We have a saying at Amplified IT, the smartest person in a group is the group itself – well that logic works well assuming your team is communicating. Having collaborative insights to your Google Workspace domain settings allows your team to maintain alignment on many fronts, including the standardization and management of key domain settings.
Download the Top Google for Education Domain Configuration Errors that are found during Audits.
Are you controlling Chrome across your Windows, Mac and Chromebooks to provide a secure and consistent environment for students?
1:1, 2:1, BOYD… they all run with their own set of hurdles and very rarely will one setting satisfy all types of device usage. Leveraging settings to take advantage of the technology can help provide targeted experiences and a true device agnostic environment for students and staff. It is very important that the settings supporting all the various devices are consistent and compliant.
Are you monitoring Student Gmail for objectionable content and behavior?
Where there is a will, there is a way. The best way to manage questionable content is to use Gmail monitoring tools built into the console to help keep these incidents in check.
Do you have a long-term roadmap plan for Google Workspace with a focus on student success?
Where do you want to be with your Google Workspace environment and adoption 2-3 years from now? Google will always be changing but having a solid roadmap plan for handling new features, when and how they will be implemented, and what kind of outcomes you can expect will help you navigate a changing landscape.
Believe it or not, but these questions only scratch the surface of how in-depth your school or district should be looking when ensuring your Google environment is properly set-up for long-term success. Every setting can have large and critical implications if they are not properly configured. If you found these introspective questions useful, you should read our top Google for Education domain configuration errors. Written by our Lead Google for Education Consultant, Tom Woods, it highlights the settings that are most commonly missed or are improperly set by many of the schools whose Google environments we have Audited.
If you would like help making sure your domain settings are set up to EDU best practices, connect with us to schedule an Audit overview call and we will go over the full details with you.
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Google for Education Training Lead
About the Author:
Tom Woods is a Google Cloud Certified Administrator, Certified Deployment Specialist and Amplified Admin with over 24 years in IT and 17 years in K-12 education. Tom brings unique insights into the planning, implementation, and support of Google for Education in the K-12 space. His experience includes 14 years in a large Ontario K-12 district where Google Workspace and Google for Education was introduced in 2009 and has since grown into one of the largest installations in the province by Tom and his team. Joining Amplified IT 4 years ago, he now assists schools across North America and leads our Consultancy team of experts.