- Programs - A wide variety of online tools including Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Gmail, Calendar, Sites, Classroom, Hangouts, and much more.
- Third Party Tools - Thousands of useful Add-ons, Web Apps, and Extensions to provide more features.
- Modularity - Choose just the tools you want to use, and who has access to them.
- Updates - Frequent automatic updates to all the tools so you always have the latest versions with the newest features.
- Central Management - Simple online management of all users, programs, and devices,
- 21st Century Skills - Support for the skills our students needs for their future including collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
- Price - It’s free!
So it is easy to see why so many schools are adopting Google Apps for Education. However, what may not be as easy is the process of deploying Google Apps for your district. There are a lot of questions to consider, options to choose, and steps to take to get from start to finish in a complete roll out.
I get the privilege of working with loads of schools on all aspects of Google Apps including initial setup, Active Directory Sync, email migration, Chromebook deployment, admin console settings and best practices, and all related professional development for teachers, techies, and administrators. One of the first steps in the roll out process is a checklist of questions I have the schools work through to determine their unique wants, needs, steps and plan for Google Apps.
See the rest of the blog post below for my list of deployment questions, as well as a Google Doc version you can copy and use for your own district. Hopefully these questions will help you think through all the options, catch some issues you may not have considered, and work out a plan for your next steps.
Google Apps Deployment Checklist
You can make a copy of this checklist for your own use by clicking the link below. The document is view only, so you will need to click “File” then “Make a copy” to get your own editable version.
- Google Apps Deployment Question Checklist - Google Document link
- What domain will you use for Google Apps?
- Will you use a domain you already own?
- Will you be using a new domain?
- Have you applied for Google Apps for Education yet?
- If not, you can apply at: https://www.google.com/a/signup/u/0/?enterprise_product=GOOGLE.EDU#0
- Note: After applying you will need to provide some information about your school and verify ownership of the domain you wish to use.
- Note: Full approval can take up to two weeks.
- Who will administer your Google Apps domain?
- Do you need different levels of administrators with different privileges?
- Who will given Google Apps accounts?
- If students, which grades?
- Will your Google Apps accounts use the same usernames as your users’ current email addresses?
- What format will be used for usernames?
- Will the usernames for staff and students use a different format?
- Will student usernames include an indication or grade level, such as graduation year?
- How will Google Apps accounts be created for your users?
- Manual creation?
- CSV upload?
- Active Directory Sync?
- SIS Sync?
- How do you want to group users in Google Apps?
- Do you want to mirror the user organization from Active Directory?
- Do you want to organize staff by building, position, etc?
- Do you want to organize students by building, grade level, etc?
- What passwords will you set for your users’ Google accounts?
- Will the users be required to change their passwords after logging in the first time?
- Will you use the same passwords your users currently use for Active Directory, network logins, email, etc?
- Do passwords change periodically for your staff and students?
- Do you need to keep the users’ Google Apps passwords in sync with their Active Directory passwords?
- Will you be using Gmail or will you continue to use your existing email system?
- Will your users be using the same email addresses they have from your current email system?
- Or will users be getting new email addresses with Google Apps?
- If they are getting new email addresses, do you want to set up their old email addresses as aliases that deliver email to their new Google Apps email addresses?
- If you will be moving to Gmail, what email system are you moving from?
- Do you want to move old email, contacts, and calendar event from your existing system to Gmail?
- Do you want to move over to Gmail all at once?
- Or do you want to have a period of dual delivery to your old email system and Gmail?
Email Access and Privileges
- Who will be using Gmail?
- If students, which grades?
- Will any user groups have any email restrictions such as:
- Only able to send and receive email within your domain?
- Objectionable word filters?
- Do you have current email distribution lists?
- Do you want to create email distribution lists in Google Apps?
- If so, what lists need created?
- Will you use Google Vault for email archiving?
- How many years do you want Vault to retain email messages?
- Will you roll out Google Apps to all your users at once?
- Or will there be a pilot group?
- Or a phased roll outs?
- Are there any Google Apps programs or services that you wish to restrict to certain users?
- How do you want to provide professional development to your teachers?
- Small group train the trainer?
- Full staff inservice?
- One time overview of Google Apps?
- Ongoing sessions?
- For a list of common training sessions see: Google Document link
- Will you be deploying Chromebooks?
- Will the Chromebooks be deployed 1:1 to students?
- Or will the Chromebooks be deployed in shared labs or carts?
- Will users be allowed to install web apps and extensions? Staff? Students?
- Are there certain Chrome web apps or extensions you wish to automatically push out to staff or students?
- Are there any restrictions you wish to place on users when using Chromebooks? Staff? Students?
- What do you want to do with student accounts when a student graduates?
- What do you want to do with student accounts when a student moves?
- What do you want to do with staff accounts when a staff member retires?
- What do you want to do with staff accounts when a staff member resigns?