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Changing Systems for Student Use of Google Drive

Mark Flancbaum
April 28, 2014
I work as a fourth grade teacher for Brown International Academy, a public school in
Denver Public Schools. Brown International Academy is a K-5, International
Baccalaureate school. The mission at Brown International Academy is to empower
learners to grow and evolve into compassionate, confident, contributing citizens of the
world. Learners will be open-minded to multiple perspectives, advocate for peace, and
promote change within our global community."
Brown International Academy, along with the rest of Denver Public Schools, has adopted
the use of Google for both staff and students. This adoption occurred at Brown at the
beginning of the 2013-14 school year. At the beginning of the year, I was responsible for
training our staff on the use of Google Drive. At our school, we have successfully
integrated Google Drive into our collaborative process. We use Google Drive for
collaborative data team meetings, team file sharing, and for creating our planners for the
International Baccalaureate program.
The problem we now face is that we do not have a system that will safely and efficiently
give Google Drive access to students. We have a few teachers, including myself, who
have begun the use of Google Drive with their students. This inconsistency has raised
questions of equity, as some students have access while others do not.
The other issue we face is the inappropriate use of Google Drive. In an effort to roll out
our 60 new Chromebooks in a timely manner, our administration set up the Chromebooks
on one shared Google Account. Because the system was set up this way, any changes
made on one computer will affect each of the other computers. This includes bookmarks
and saved documents. In addition, students are able to open up a Google Document, and
write inappropriate content to other students without the ability for it to be traced back to
that student.
This project will be done in collaboration with our technology coordinator, Trent
McFalls. The purpose of this change project is to successfully train staff to use Google
Drive with their students, and to establish a unified system at Brown International
Academy for student use of Google Drive.

Planned Intervention
The goals of this intervention are as follows:

Train intermediate (grades 3-5) classroom teachers on how to successfully begin


using Google Drive with students (including how to access accounts, how to include
parents in the process, and how to set up norms and expectations with students.)
Change the setup of Chromebooks to require students to login with their own
account rather than one shared account.

We will begin by training intermediate classroom teachers. In considering Elys facilitating


conditions (Surry and Ely 2001), this is where we have the greatest dissatisfaction with the
status quo. Upper elementary teachers are seeing some teachers use Google Drive with
their students, and they want to be a part of it. They also are the ones who are having issues
with using one shared account. The lower elementary teachers are content, because their
students do less producing on Google Drive, and have not had the same issues as upper
elementary teachers.
In our training, we will give specific instructions on how students can access their Google
Drive accounts. This will meet Elys second facilitating condition that knowledge and skills
exist. We will also provide a form that allows parents to opt out, if desired. Finally, and
perhaps most importantly, we will establish a set of common norms and expectations for
students to follow when using Google Drive. This will include appropriate digital etiquette,
controlling the use of email, and for what a student Google Drive account can, and cannot be
used. We will do this collaboratively to encourage Elys sixth facilitating condition of
participation.
Our second goal will be dependent on successfully implementing our first goal. It will meet
Elys third facilitating condition, availability of resources. Once we have successfully
provided Google Drive access to all intermediate students, we can change the setup of
intermediate Chromebooks to require students to login with their individual student
account. We will need to wait until all students have access to their accounts so that
students without access can still use the Chromebooks. This will let us track any
inappropriate use, and allow administration to handle it accordingly.
We will have a diverse group of teachers that we will be training. Thinking of the diffusion
research presented in Robinson (2009), our teachers are likely to fall in the Early Adopters,
to the Late Majority stages of the model. The Early Adopters are the ones who have already
implemented Google Drive with their students. The training we provide will likely bring the
Early Majority on board. The Late Majority may take more individual training, but knowing
our staff, I do not see any of our intermediate teachers being too resistant to this change if
given the appropriate training and resources. Robinson says that for the Late Majority, you
should emphasize the risks of being left behind, and I believe that will be more than enough
motivation to bring along any Late Majority teachers. Along with training, and individual

follow up as needed, we will also provide a link to many Google Drive resources for those
who prefer to learn on their own.
We will be able to complete this project in a timely manner. We have already polled the
staff to find a possible date for this training. This will provide teachers with company time to
learn Google Drive as Ely recommends in his facilitating conditions (Surry and Ely 2001).
There is a sense of urgency among teachers and administration to ensure the inappropriate
use of our computers is stopped. The only cost for this intervention will be the time spent
preparing training, and the time spent by teachers attending training. We have two
members of the technology team who will be working primarily on this project, however we
also have the support of the rest of the technology team, including our principal. This will
provide support from our leader, as well as support from within our school, as Elys eighth
facilitating condition suggests.
My role in this intervention is to be one of the primary members conducting the
professional development. In addition, I will provide follow up with teachers who need
additional support. I will also be analyzing the effectiveness of our intervention. As a
technology committee, we have considered having me work, alongside each teacher, with
each of the intermediate classes in setting up the accounts. If we decide to take this route, I
would have a substitute for a day and we would rotate each of the classes through the
computer lab. This would help to set up consistency among the classes and the teachers. I
am unsure if we will take this path, as it will require a joint decision among our committee.

Evaluation
To determine the success of this intervention we will need to collect data in a few areas.
When we have finished our intervention, we will provide teachers with an anonymous
survey that evaluates five areas of our implementation.
First we will need to determine that we have all intermediate students successfully set up
with their Google Drive account. Right now we only have two out of nine intermediate
classes using Google Drive. This amounts to 50 out of 225 students, or 22%. Our goal is to
have 100% of our intermediate students either using Google Drive, or officially opted out of
their account.
In addition to account use, we also need to migrate our Chromebooks to accommodate
individual student login, as opposed to a global login. Currently we have zero intermediate
students logging in using their individual student Google Account. When we evaluate, we
should see 100% of intermediate Chromebook use done through individual student logins.
Along with the logistical side of changing our systems, we also need to evaluate the
frequency of Google Drive utilization by students. We will ask teachers to determine how
often they use Google Drive with their students on a scale of daily, weekly, monthly, or
never.

Another important piece of data to consider is the perspectives of our teachers and
students. We will give a short survey to intermediate teachers and students that will allow
them to give feedback on what is working well with Google Drive, and where we need to
provide more support.
Finally, we will evaluate what students are actually accomplishing through Google Drive.
Although not an official goal of this change project, this evaluation could be a springboard
into future change that focuses on how we use technology. I will ask teachers to
anonymously rate themselves on a framework we used in INTE 5830 that evaluates use of
technology from basic use, all the way to inventive and creative use (Scrogan 2013). This
will provide data to help us be intentional in how we use the technology in our building.
Through this evaluation process, we will be able to assess the effectiveness of this
intervention, and collect data to help us move forward in the future.

Findings
Intervention 1
Train intermediate (grades 3-5) classroom teachers on how to successfully begin using Google
Drive with students (including how to access accounts, how to include parents in the process,
and how to set up norms and expectations with students.)

In collaboration with our technology coordinator, Trent McFalls, we were able to
successfully complete this intervention. During a district mandated professional
development day, we held professional development for all intermediate teachers in our
computer lab. During the P.D., we showed teachers how they could have their students
access their accounts. This included where to find student logins and how students
navigate to the login page. In addition, we provided teachers with a form to send home to
parents. This form informed parents about Google Drive and gave them the option to opt
out. We also spent time discussing ways to set up norms and expectations for students. We
used a page from my class website as a springboard.

One tool we used in our professional development was a live Google Doc. In a P.D. on
Google Drive, it made sense to have participants be active in a Google Doc with questions
during the session. This proved to be helpful. It allowed participants to be active, and also
mined the knowledge of the collective group.

As of today, April 28th, 2014, 100% of intermediate teachers have all of their students using
Google Drive. Nobody in our school opted out of their account.

Intervention 2
Change the set-up of Chromebooks to require students to login with their own account rather
than one shared account.
This was the step that posed a few unexpected challenges. Student passwords in our
district our given by the district. They are comprised of eight numeric digits based on
student birthdays. Students use this password to access several services through our
district. This password was the one given to them for their Google Drive account. The issue
was that Chromebooks required a more secure password for logging in. These passwords
needed to have an uppercase letter, lowercase letter, and a number.
The password changing process in our system requires students to add three security
questions along with the password change. The challenge here was twofold. One, third
through fifth grade students needed to spell their password and security answers correctly.
Two, they had to remember the answers to their security questions until the twelfth grade.
Our solution was to take students through a two-step process to change their password. We
gathered each class in the computer lab with both the teacher, and the technology specialist.
Our first step was to have them practice with preselected security questions on a Google
Form. We were able to help students spell check during the practice session. Once students
submitted the Google Form, we also had a record of their security answers. Secondly, we
took them through the actual password changing process. We kept passwords consistent
by adding their capitalized first initial and their lowercase last initial in front of their
original password.
All passwords were changed. However, only two thirds of the passwords allowed students
to sign in to the Chromebooks. We had to call the district to get this resolved. We took
those students through the process again and were successful.
As of today, April 28th, 2014, 100% of our intermediate students are logging into our
Chromebooks using their personal accounts. This has cut back on inappropriate use, and
allowed us to trace inappropriate use back to individual students.
Along with the logistical side of Google Drive use, we also wanted to evaluate other areas of
its use.

Frequency
In surveying our nine intermediate teachers, Google drive is typically being used weekly on
a scale of daily, weekly, monthly, or never. Fourth and fifth grade teachers are using it more
frequently than third grade teachers. This information will help us to support our third
grade teachers in their use of Google Drive.

Perceptions and Type of Use


I decided to wait on evaluation of these two indicators until the end of the school year. I
made this decision for two reasons. First, I wanted to give students and teachers more time
to use Google Drive before evaluating its use. Second, our students are still in the midst of a
hectic testing schedule. I could not justify asking all students and teachers to take a survey,
in light of all of the testing they have been doing.
I look forward to seeing how students and teachers perceive Google Drive. I also am
interested to know how Google Drive is being used. From my impressions, I believe
students and teachers have a positive perception of Google Drive. I think that students are
using Google Drive as a replacement for Microsoft Word and PowerPoint right now. There
are a few applications I have heard that have involved the use of Google Drives
collaboration and feedback tools, but not many.

Conclusion
Overall, this change project was successful. We improved the equity of Google Drive use at
our school and increased the efficiency of our Chromebook use. One factor that contributed
to our success was the collaboration between Trent McFalls and myself. We do not have a
large amount of technologically savvy people at our school, but having just two helped us to
more efficiently bring about this change. Another reason we were successful was that we
planned thoroughly before jumping into action. We devised a plan for changing student
passwords and then followed through with that plan.
Through this process we learned a few valuable lessons. One lesson was to always expect
the unexpected. When we started this project, we had no idea that we would have to jump
through the hoops that we did. In addition, we learned that projects oftentimes take longer
than anticipated. The unexpected hurdles we faced lengthened our time frame
considerably.
The last reason we believe this project was a success is because we now have clear next
steps. Now that we have moved past logistics, we can focus on how students are using
Google Drive. We can train teachers and students on how to use Google Drives
collaborative features. We can also teach teachers how to use teacher commenting, peer
commenting, and audio commenting to provide meaningful feedback on student work.
Google Drive is a powerful tool, and we look forward to expanding its use in our school.





References
Robinson, L. (2009). A summary of diffusion of innovations. In Enabling change. Retrieved

from http://www.enablingchange.com.au/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf
Scrogan, L. (2013). Evaluating and improving our technology initiatives. EXSYM.
Surry, D.W., & Ely, D.P. (2001). Adoption, diffusion, implementation, and institutionalization

of educational innovations. In R. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in

instructional design and technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Draft

online: http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/bset/surry/papers/adoption/chap.htm