As a former technology director, I was always looking for ways to find the ROI on the many initiatives and projects that we instituted around the district. Adding further complexity, Education IT tends to have different goals than a “traditional” IT department would. In education, we look for transformational changes in learning. Specifically, many schools today (my former school included) base their goals around the 4C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity). Decision makers want to know how the money being spent is actually progressing toward these admirable goals.
It can be challenging to quantify the impact that technology has on classrooms. Trying to measure the impact G Suite for Education tools have within an educational ecosystem is no different. While there are reports that can be extracted with various tools, oftentimes these reports present a collection of usage data without much meaning. Learning that 1.5 million Google Docs have been created in your domain and that Google Classroom is being used by 65% of your domain, for example, may be interesting but is not especially valuable in measuring against your district’s broader transformational goals (unless your district has chosen to align success metrics with usage levels).
Google recently announced the Google for Education transformation report, a free tool for G Suite for Education administrators. You can fill out this form to be notified when the tool launches this Fall. The transformation report is intended to give educational IT decision-makers actionable information and targeted recommendations (including use cases) to increase the use of G Suite tools and Google for Education programs within your organization, with a focus on the 4C’s. Additionally, the report focuses on the seven areas of Google’s Transformation Framework and, based on survey results from leaders within your district, shares where your organization is excelling and where there might be opportunities to improve.
There are two key things that make this report different than other reports.
The first is the inclusion of survey data that should give you insight into where your district is on your transformational journey (in areas like Vision, Culture, Technology, PD, Community Engagement, Funding and Sustainability, and Learning) through the lens of those who filled out the transformation survey provided. The second is a summary view of all Google Certified Educators Level 1 & 2, Certified Trainers, and the Google Certified Innovators within your organization. This data point (the list of certified staff members) is invaluable when trying to build capacity and highlight innovative instructional strategies in your district.
The report is a combination of survey data and product / program usage data taken directly from your G Suite for Education domain based primarily on the 7-Day active user measurement. When you start the survey, you will be asked for the number of students and staff in your domain. This number will be used as the denominator in the report when calculating percentages of active users for a given product within your domain. So, if you have had issues keeping your user accounts cleaned up in your domain, this will not skew your results. While the survey is not required, the responses will make the report more robust and actionable. The survey is intended to be shared with/completed by anyone on a district or building leadership team who might provide a valuable perspective on change management and administered twice a year (at the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters).
I recommend filling out the survey first before you share the survey link with other district leadership. The survey will take about 10-15 minutes to finish. This first survey window opens on September 23rd and will stay open for 3 weeks until the report becomes available on October 14th. A second survey window will open in January. With the opportunity to generate your own transformation report twice a year, you’ll have the ability to track trends over time and see the impact of any initiatives or changes instituted between the two reporting windows.
With the usage data, the survey data, and the lists of “Certified” educators, this report is best used to start conversations with educational leaders at your school. With the usage data, schools can know what tools are used the most or the least which helps a district develop a strategy and direction for where they want to go with G Suite tools and where to focus in-service support and training. Survey results will help take the temperature of key district staff and give admins insight into their view of adoption, usage, and planning. Knowing how many staff have various Google certifications can help shape a proactive staff PD plan that supports champions and G Suite adopters in your district.
In my new role here at Amplified IT, I am responsible for looking at our offerings and aligning them with the needs of schools. One of my early goals is to meet with schools and ask them about their needs. What are your school’s pain points? What areas do you need support in as the IT leader in your district? I want to make sure that you are receiving the best possible support from AIT in your environment. If your school has support hours available and you have questions about the transformation report, administering the surveys, and/or if you want to have a discussion about how to roll this out, feel free to schedule some time with me here. This is a brand new tool from Google for Education, so they are looking for ways to improve the report to make it more useful to schools and will be listening to your feedback.
On October 14th when your first transformation report becomes available, your first step could be to schedule a meeting with educational stakeholders to talk through the information presented in the report and see what talking points align with your environment. Having these robust conversations will help you understand how G Suite and Chromebooks can best align with and support your goals for the learning environment in your schools. It also will allow you to highlight your progress towards current goals and set new short and long-term goals.
Additionally, using the data from your transformation report, Amplified IT can help align your focus areas with services and tools that can significantly accelerate you towards your goals.
Based on the results of your report and your current or future goals, here are a couple of areas that we think could help you along your transformational journey:
Little SIS for Classroom: If your goals are to increase collaboration between students, staff, and guardians, a Little SIS implementation would give you a quick win by increasing the adoption rate of Google Classroom. The Little SIS Sync Agent saves teachers time by creating and auto-populating rosters and guardians and the Little SIS for Classroom web application provides granular role delegation, flexibility, and insights within Google Classroom across your district through the use of tags, access filters, and user roles. This role delegation empowers everyone from school principals to IT integrators to support high quality instruction in Google Classroom. Little SIS provides continued insights to district administrators after accessing your transformation report to show granular details on progress. This increased use should increase your technology and your community engagement levels in your schools.
Google for Education Audit: An audit provides an in-depth review of your G Suite domain by industry experts against EDU best practices. All services and settings are analyzed; any not set up to best practices are documented and recommendations are given on why they should be adjusted and details on how to implement them for your school.
Backpack for Google Drive: Backpack for Google Drive puts multi-year, skill-aligned, student-curated digital portfolios within reach for any district using G Suite for EDU. In Backpack, students curate, reflect upon and showcase digital learning artifacts against a district-defined skills framework. Backpack manages all of the sharing and organization of artifacts in Google Drive and seamlessly connects with Google Classroom rosters and assignments. to encourage student reflection and teacher/community interaction. You can learn more about Backpack for drive in action by reading about the Profile of a Graduate from JCPS.
It’s important to note that the transformation report is setup to direct edtech leaders to dig into the transformational framework found in the Google for Education Transformation Center, launched nearly 3 years ago. It is a site that, until digging into this report, I knew little about. The site is a collection of resources, quick wins, and ideas to lead schools through transformational change. Interestingly enough a majority of the information on this site is platform agnostic and is more about the steps needed to institute, measure, and evaluate transformational change. If you are a school that is doing significant work around the Future Ready Schools initiative, you will notice a lot of overlap in ideas and themes. All the ideas, resources, and tips come from schools submitting them to the site so we can learn directly from those doing the work every day. As a technology director, I would have loved to see targeted ideas to support the work I was doing at my district.
This transformation report should be a useful tool to support you in evaluating your progress towards the educational goals your district has set. While the report isn’t comprehensive enough to be looked at as a sole data source for your district, it is a starting point for conversations between the IT and Curriculum departments in your environment, and a way to begin to both quantify the impact of your Google technology implementation and communicate that impact to key district stakeholders.
Information is powerful, and these reports will give you actionable items to help you move toward transformational changes in your schools.
We recommend signing up for your report so Google can notify you as soon as the survey window opens in September, and using your own transformation report to start evaluating your use of Google for Education products and programs. If you need a reminder, click here to add events to your Google Calendar and we will keep you up to date with further information about the Google for Education transformation report.
For help implementing changes based on your transformation report, book some time in with our Technical Services team by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the various ways we can help your team.
Google Cloud Solutions Consultant
About the Author:
Karl Hehr joined the Amplified IT team in 2019 after 13 years working in Public Schools as a Technology Director. During his time within the public school system, he supported one of the first 1:1 learning initiatives in Iowa and has helped move multiple districts to Google for Education. Karl is a Google Certified Trainer, a Google Certified Administrator, a founding member of the GSFE Admins podcast, and has presented at numerous conferences around the midwest. Today, he is a Google Cloud Solutions Consultant who works on scoping and validating new scalable solutions for K-12 and Higher Ed.