Using the Tools of Technology

photo (59)Last week was the first week of school for the 2014-2015 school year in Worthington.  The first week is always exciting, but it’s also exhausting.  It’s a week of explanations and procedures.  It’s a week where we realize that the plan or schedule we’ve worked all summer on may not work like we thought it would.  It’s a week of implementing new things.

One of the new things in Worthington this year is a transition to Google Apps for Education.  All of our students in 2nd -12th grade will have access to a Worthington Google Apps for Education Account (GAFE)..

Worthington GAFE is an integrated communication and collaboration solution, hosted by Google and managed by Worthington.  GAFE will provide the ability for Worthington students, faculty and staff to communicate (email), store files and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time from school, work, or home.  This is all within a secure online environment.

Teachers can use Google Apps to facilitate group projects and use the history tool to see the level of participation of each student in a group. Teachers will be able to give feedback to students directly in documents shared with a teacher. Turning in assignments will be as easy as sharing the file in Google Docs with the teacher or by emailing it to the teacher through the student’s Worthington Google Apps Mail account.

As a district employee I have a GAFE account.  So do all three of my daughters.  Only my sixth grade daughter accessed her account during the first week of school (actually what I can say is that only my sixth grade daughter told me she accessed her account.  The others may have and just not mentioned it.)  The GAFE email works for students in a “walled garden.”  They can send and receive email within the Worthington system but not outside of it.  Because of my position in the school district my daughter and I are both within and walls and she took the opportunity to email her old man.  What she said I want to share because it warms my heart as a dad and as a district administrator equally:

School so far this year is pretty much… AWESOME! I mean everything about it! Even the way all the teachers teach is different and even more awesome! I’m so happy with the teacher I have but this year all of the teachers are soooo amazing that there is no difference!

Our schedules are really good so far as I can see. I do wish my Science/Social Studies was in 2nd period, if it was then I would only have to carry stuff for 1 class instead of three at a time! 
I will tell you the rest verbally.  Love you!
My hope is that all Worthington students use the new tools of technology to describe their start as “pretty much….AWESOME” and that they describe the way their teachers teach as “even more awesome” and “soooo amazing.” We have higher hopes for how our new technology tools will be used eventually, but for now I think that would suffice.
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